Bill Roberts

Early Disney guy.

Love It Pinocchio (1940) -- Co-directed with Walt Disney, Norman Ferguson, T. Hee, Wilfred Jackson, Jack Kinney, Hamilton Luske, and Ben Sharpsteen. Even better than Snow White: better songs ("When You Wish Upon a Star" to name only one), better characters, better story, everything.

Love It Fantasia (1940) -- Co-directed with Walt Disney, James Algar, Samuel Armstrong, Ford I. Beebe, Jim Handley, Albert Heath, T. Hee, Graham Heid, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske, Bianca Majolie, Sylvia Moberly-Holland, Paul Satterfield, Ben Sharpsteen, and Norman Wright. Probably the best thing Walt Disney ever did, though you can't really compare this movie to the others, since it's not really a traditional movie at all. There's something really magic about this movie, and it's truly "something else."  Every segment (including some of the goofier interstitials) are great (the one with the hippos is my least favorite, but I still like it), but the standouts are the Nutcracker Suite with its lazy imagery, the creation of the world and the dinosaurs, and the best of all, the "Night On Bald Mountain."  The Mickey one was good too.  A movie way ahead of its time, if it had been a success, you might have seen a more artistic Disney for the next several decades.  Unique.  (See Eric Goldberg for the sequel, Fantasia 2000.)

Really Like It Dumbo (1941) -- Co-directed with Samuel Armstrong, Norman Ferguson, Wilfred Jackson, Jack Kinney, and Ben Sharpsteen. After Fantasia, this seems like a return to some of the cute and funny stuff that made Disney so popular to begin with in his short subjects.  But it's certainly great, and it's got some interesting narrative choices: like the fact that Dumbo doesn't even fly (what some might remember as most of the movie) until the movie is almost over.  Sweet, cute, and touching.

Love It Bambi (1942) -- Co-directed with James Algar, Samuel Armstrong, David Hand, Graham Heid, Perce Pearce, Paul Satterfield, and Norman Wright. If you don't count Fantasia, this is the best Disney movie ever--and maybe even if you do count Fantasia, since this is more or less a full-length Fantasia segment, only this time with dialogue (little as it may be), characters, and a plot. The beauty, music, and magic of Fantasia is here, as is the hypnotic quality. The only thing missing is the occasional yawn that inevitably arises watching the lazy images of Fantasia. I've seen it over and over and not gotten tired of it. This marks the end of the "Golden Age" of Disney.

Like It Saludos Amigos (1943) -- Co-directed with Norman Ferguson, Wilfred Jackson, Jack Kinney, and Hamilton Luske. And then came the war... As part of the "Good Neighbor Policy" with Latin America, Disney produced this travelogue which begins the "package films" Disney would put out for the next several years (a collection of shorts rather than a traditional feature-length). This is more of a documentary than a movie, sort of a making of itself, the shorts within, and potential shorts without, and it's actually only 45 minutes long.  The shorts are cute if slight (after Bambi, cartoons about anthropomorphic airplanes don't cut it) and only hint at what they'll eventually produce with the following "real" movie and companion, The Three Caballeros.  Treat it as a warm up to that one.

Really Like It The Three Caballeros (1945) -- Co-directed with Walt Disney, Norman Ferguson, Clyde Geronimi, Jack Kinney, and Harold Young. Coming through with the goods of what was promised in Saludos Amigos, this one is much better. After a mediocre short or two, the "story" takes off with Donald Duck going on a sort of tail-chasing drug trip through Latin America. It's a musical and visual movie, not a narrative one, so fortunately the visuals and music are good.

Like It Fun and Fancy Free (1947) -- Co-directed with Jack Kinney, Hamilton Luske, and William Morgan. Again, a package deal, the "Bongo" section unbearably boring and cutesy. The second section, "Mickey and the Beanstalk," is fantastic however, with the three big stars Mickey, Donald, and Goofy teaming up in a feature with some of the best music ever written for Disney. The stories are connected by Jiminy Cricket and Edgar Bergen and his ventriloquist dummies.

Copyright (c) Feb 2004 - Nov 2006 by Rusty Likes Movies