Pinocchio (1940) -- Co-directed with Walt Disney, Norman Ferguson, Wilfred Jackson, Jack Kinney, Hamilton Luske, Bill Roberts, 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.
Fantasia (1940) -- Co-directed with Walt Disney, James Algar, Samuel Armstrong, Ford I. Beebe, Jim Handley, Albert Heath, 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.)
Make Mine Music (1946) -- Fantasia with pop music, and little of the magic. It's hard for me to judge this as being "over-commercial" these days, since -- you know -- people like Dinah Shore and Benny Goodman seem like classical music to my late twentieth/early twenty-first century self. Most of the music holds up as good enough, anyway: some better than others. Since this is a package film, I'll go through each of the segments. (I ask myself why I don't -- and why others don't -- consider Fantasia a package film, and the answer is because it's not. It's a cohesive thing, even if it's divided into separate pieces.) First of all, I haven't seen the original opener "A Rustic Ballad," because the geniuses at modern Disney decided it wasn't suitable for kids, so they didn't release it on the DVD (something about gunplay, stereotypes, and "phallic imagery"). So, if I haven't said it somewhere else already, "F*ck you, Disney company, for revising your own history. You should be fucking ashamed of yourselves." "A Tone Poem"/"Blue Bayou" is fine, but forgettable. "A Jazz Interlude"/"All the Cats Join In" is a standout, and the jitterbug sequence no doubt influenced David Lynch's Mulholland Drive (it's almost a direct copy). "A Musical Recitation"/"Casey at the Bat" is good as far as Disney shorts go. "Ballet Ballad"/"Two Silhouettes" is interesting enough as being a different style of animation (rotoscoping dancers as shadows). "A Fairy Tale With Music"/"Peter and the Wolf" is definitely one of the standouts, with Prokofiev's wonderful music and great characters (though, like almost all the releases of "Peter and the Wolf," it would stand up better if the music told the story--not that I don't adore Sterling "Winnie the Pooh" Holloway's voice). "After You've Gone" is another decent Fantasia-type abstract revisiting. "A Love Story"/"Johnny Fedora and Alice Bluebonnet" is a typical cutesy Disney short (which I only have mild patience for) with a song that's pretty annoying. And finally, the rightful closer, "Opera Pathetique"/"The Whale Who Wanted To Sing at the Met," which is pretty hilarious in its bigness and absurdity, and which features a brilliant delivery of all the voices by Nelson Eddy. To conclude, each of these is fine as a short, but together they only add up to a pretty decent collection. Actually, though, I wish that Disney (or somebody) would do something like this today. For one thing, it would perfectly fit our short attention spans.
Copyright (c) Apr 2003 - Nov 2006 by Rusty Likes Movies