One of Walt Disney's "Nine Old Men," and one of the animators since the early days, Riethermann worked on most of the Disney animated features (and other made-for-television animations) for over forty years until he retired.
Sleeping Beauty (1959) -- Co-directed with Les Clark, Clyde Geronimi, and Eric Larson. Basically a remake of Snow White with not one but three fairy godmothers from Cinderella. The story is kind of goofy sometimes, but the production design is so gorgeous (maybe the most gorgeous of any non-Fantasia Disney movie, and the darkest since "Night on Bald Mountain") that the shortcomings don't matter much. Pretty nice stuff overall.
One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961) -- Co-directed with Clyde Geronimi and Hamilton Luske. Okay, everyone loves this movie except me. I think the new animation techniques used looks like messy crap, and I think the story is crappy too. After fifteen minutes, I'm ready to shut it off. It seems to me to be the first of these one-after-another Disney cartoons.
The Sword in the Stone (1963) -- It's hard to keep up with what's being made when since all kinds of Disney movies are being made at the same time, but I think Walt's involvement must have been waning at this time (and I know for a fact that Walt's usual cast of directors was dwindling and being replaced by the new guys). It shows; and not because it's bad, but it just lacks that certain something.
The Jungle Book (1967) -- This is certainly the last movie under Walt's supervision, and I believe he wasn't around to see all of it complete. It's probably the best thing since Lady and the Tramp. It's a bit goofy, but not in a bad way, and the swing tunes are great.
The Aristocats (1970) -- Co-directed by Milt Kahl, John Lounsbery, and Frank Thomas. This is the first animated Disney movie made after Walt's death, which begins the question of what to do with Walt's "vision" now that he's gone. I'm not the one who came up with this criticism, but I believe it: that in an effort to preserve what makes a Disney film a Disney film, the people who took over the movies decided to only do what they had done in the past. This means only stagnation, of course, since the point of Disney (at least early on) was to keep making things new each time. The company claims that it does that today in terms of technology (which it does), but technology isn't everything, and so we usually just end up with the same old crap dressed up in fancy computer graphics. In this case of The Aristocats, we have a rehashing of The Jungle Book (the previous one) with the focus on genre music, this time jazz. It's not too bad, but it's not too great either, even with a couple of good songs.
Robin Hood (1973) -- This one is actually pretty good. It's still in the vein of The Jungle Book with its goofy humor, but it's at least its equal. The tunes are simple but good (Roger Miller sings, so that's good) and the acting is funny (Peter Ustinov being one of my acting heroes).
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977) -- Co-directed with John Lounsbery. The Disney people combined over ten-year-old Pooh shorts with some of the newer shorts to make this new feature-length film. The result is actually really really good, and I can't imagine a much better telling of the Pooh stories in movie form.
The Rescuers (1977) -- Co-directed with Don Bluth, Milt Kahl, John Lounsbery, Art Stevens, and Frank Thomas. Not too bad, not too good. I might need to see it again. (See Hendel Butoy for the sequel, The Rescuers Down Under.)
Copyright (c) Feb 2004 - Nov 2006 by Rusty Likes Movies