Made in 1922 while Starewicz was in Paris, this film (also known as “The Frogs who Wanted a King”) is a fable in the best Aesop tradition… the moral: Be careful what you ask for… you might get it!
The Frogs of Frogland think they need a king… they beg Jupiter (their human god?) to send them one. First, he sends a Wooden King. The frogs realize the Wooden King doesn’t do anything (he can just barely roll his eyes…), so they ask Jupiter for “a better King”.
Jupiter complies… he sends a Stork King. Storks, of course, eat frogs.
Too late, the Frogs realize the error of their ways. They plead for help from Jupiter, while hiding underwater (This is a technically interesting scene… the frog puppets seem to be in an aquarium, but the bubbles flowing through the aquarium move in sync with their speech… it doesn’t look like stop-motion, in other words. He may have used puppets on “rods” for this).
Jupiter is now irritated beyond belief, and “Gives ‘em Thunder” (actually lightning). These naughty frogs won’t bother anyone ever again.
The frog puppets, and some of Starewicz’ others, were recently on display in the Museum of the Moving Image in London and the NY MoMA They are also seen in the Starewicz films “Nose to the Wind” and “Winter Carousel”.
This film makes a brief appearance in the 1996 major motion picture “BASQUIAT”. Although we don’t see enough of “Frogland” in this film, it is quite relevant…