Synopsis by Mark Pittillo
How a Mosquito Operates may not be the first animated film (that honor is most often attributed to J. Stuart Blackton's 1906 Humorous Phases of Funny Faces), but it holds a secure place in film history as one of Winsor McCay's pioneering experiments in cartoon art. Forever trying to prove that animation could be both popular and artistic, McCay incorporated his early films into his vaudeville show, in which he dazzled audiences with his patented speed-drawing before showing (and interacting with) his moving cartoons. The animated portion of McCay's first foray into film, 1913's Little Nemo (based on his seminal newspaper comic Little Nemo in Slumberland and co-directed by Blackton), consisted of 4000 individual drawings, a number that more than doubled for 1914's How a Mosquito Operates. Though the latter film's 5-minute running time consists of a single (and rather disgusting) joke, audiences at the time, for whom movies were still a novelty, were stunned by the smooth movement of McCay's drawings. The film was an enormous success, laying the groundwork for McCay's most famous animated work, Gertie the Dinosaur, as well as what is often considered the first animated feature film, 1918's The Sinking of the Lusitania.
High Artistic Quality, High Historical Importance, High Production Values