James Algar

A director of early Disney films as well as the director of Disney's pretty great "True Life Adventure" movies.

Love It Fantasia (1940) -- Co-directed with Walt Disney, Samuel Armstrong, Ford I. Beebe, Jim Handley, Albert Heath, T. Hee, Graham Heid, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske, Bianca Majolie, Sylvia Moberly-Holland, Bill Roberts, 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.)

Love It Bambi (1942) -- Co-directed with Samuel Armstrong, David Hand, Graham Heid, Perce Pearce, Bill Roberts, 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.

Love It The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949) -- Co-directed with Clyde Geronimi and Jack Kinney. Similar to Fun and Fancy Free by having two stories, only both the stories are excellent in this one. The movies are fun retellings of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and The Wind in the Willows.

Like It The Living Desert (1953) -- One of those "True Life Adventure" movies they showed us all the time in elementary school, this is the only entry I really remember well enough to review. As I recall, this is pretty top-notch nature documentary, a nice mix of straight footage and Disney cutesey-poo (in a good way, usually).

Like It Fantasia 2000 (2000) -- Co-directed with Gaetan Brizzi, Hendel Butoy, Francis Glebas, Eric Goldberg, and Pixote Hunt. After hearing about this since 1992 (I saw storyboards for it when I was at Disney World then), it finally came out, after being disappointed six times that it wasn't next. The verdict? It's okay. Maybe it was a too-pat redo of the original Fantasia (Donald Duck replaces Mickey Mouse, a new abstract piece, etc.). At any rate, when I watch it, I don't feel the same magic I do when I watch the first one. It's like these new guys knew too much what they were doing, whereas in the other one I feel like I'm watching raw genius and a labor of love. Having said all that, I still like it. It's pretty cool. (See Walt Disney for the predecessor, Fantasia.)

Copyright (c) Feb 2003 - Nov 2006 by Rusty Likes Movies