Tag Archives: Walt Disney Company

One Hundred and One Dalmatians

Directed by Clyde Geronimi, Hamilton Luske & Wolfgang Reitherman
Produced by Walt Disney
Written by Bill Peet
& Dodie Smith (novel)
Starring Rod Taylor
Cate Bauer
Betty Lou Gerson
Ben Wright
Lisa Davis
Martha Wentworth
Music by George Bruns & Mel Leven
Studio Walt Disney Productions
Distributed by Buena Vista Pictures
Release date January 25, 1961
Running time 79 minutes
Language English

One Hundred and One Dalmatians is a good way to spend an hour and a bit. It is typical Disney fare from the 50s/60s period. It is not a masterpiece but just an enjoyable film. Cruella De Ville is an enjoyable villain but I feel that she could have been given a bit more screen-time, while her theme song is great. (Especially the Dr. John version that is not featured in the film but the 1996 live-action version of 101 Dalmatians!)

One thing that I was not too happy about was the amount of rotoscoping in this picture. For those who aren’t up to date on rotoscoping, it is basically when animators trace over live action film, frame by frame. Usually they do this to make a characters movement look more believable, although it does take away a lot of the cartoony-ness from animated films and to my eyes looks a bit out-of-place. This is just my opinion, but I feel that the rotoscope was used a little too much on One Hundred and One Dalmatians.

Advertisements

Make Mine Music

Directed by Jack Kinney, Clyde Geronimim, Hamilton Luske, Joshua Meador & Robert Cormack
Produced by Walt Disney
Written by James Bordrero
Homer Brightman
Erwin Graham
Eric Gurney
T. Hee
Sylvia Holland

Dick Huemer
Dick Kelsey
Jesse Marsh
Tom Oreb
Cap Palmer
Erdman Penner
Harry Reeves
Dick Shaw
John Walbridge
Roy Williams
Starring Nelson Eddy
Dinah Shore
Benny Goodman
The Andrews Sisters

Jerry Colonna
Sterling Holloway
Andy Russell
David Lichine
Tania Riabouchinskaya
The Pied Pipers
The King’s Men
The Ken Darby Chorus
Studio Walt Disney Productions
Distributed by RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Release date April 20, 1946
Running time 67 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Sometimes I can understand why people illegally download movies from the internet, even though I would never condone such a thing. A case in point is Disney’s Make Mine Music which is not available to my knowledge on DVD in Australia but the American version can easily be found on Amazon. But beware, as the American DVD is censored, with one whole section, The Martins and The Coys, taken out because… I’m not sure. Some people say that this section was taken out because it is offensive to Southerners in the USA, while others say that it’s because there is excessive gunplay. Whatever the reason I don’t think that it should be censored. I can understand people wanting to find the uncensored version of this and think that when companies censor in this way they sort of deserve to lose revenue from people making illegal but complete copies.

Anyway this film is made up of ten segment which we would all be pretty familiar with as they were shown on the Wonderful World of Disney all the time, but now they are rarely seen. I don’t know if I had ever seen the film in it’s entirety before, just the segments individually.

The most well known of the segments are…

The Martins And The Coys

The most infamous of the segments now because it has been banned.

All The Cats Join In

I like this a lot. The music is very catchy and the animation is good.

Casey At The Bat

The most famous of the segments. Pretty funny.

Peter And The Wolf

I liked this segment as a kid but think it’s just OK now. The characters are cute.

Johnny Fedora and Alice Blue Bonnett

This has the Andrews Sisters and other than that I didn’t like it very much.

The Whale Who Wanted To Sing At the Met

This is quite funny and the whale is cute, but the ending is sad.

Anyway this is a pretty good piece of forgotten Disney animation. It would be good if Disney could give it a proper (complete) DVD release or even show it on TV so that kids (and adults) can see it.

This reminds me that tomorrow (Friday August 6th 2010) Disney Channel are showing Fantasia at 6.30pm, in between the endless ads for Jonus, Hannah Montana and all th eother stupid tween shows that are currently on Disney.


Pollyanna

Directed by David Swift
Produced by Walt Disney (uncredited)
Associate Producer: George Golitzen
Written by Novel: Eleanor Porter
Screenplay: David Swift
Starring Hayley Mills
Jane Wyman
Karl Malden
Richard Egan
Adolphe Menjou
Agnes Moorehead
Music by Paul Smith
Cinematography Russell Harlan
Editing by Frank Gross
Distributed by Buena Vista
Distribution Release date May 19, 1960
Running time 134 minutes
Country United States
Language English

Pollyanna was released into cinemas 50 years ago last Monday. You would think that Disney would be making a big song and dance about this popular and well remembered film reaching the half century mark but it seems that the Walt Disney Company does not really value its past live action films. Heck, Disney doesn’t really value its animated classics either, and simply views them as a cash cow to be released on video or DVD every seven years. In fact it is pretty obvious that all Disney cares about these days is making horrendous live action teen comedies that can sell heaps of merchandise. I doubt that a film like Pollyanna would be made today as it would be difficult to fit in any fart jokes or sell merchandise with the sweet story.

One thing that I think needs to be said is that despite Disney’s reputation today as being just kids stuff, he could still get the biggest stars to appear in his films. Fine actors such as Jane Wyman and Karl Malden appear as do Agnes Moorehead and Ed Platt, who went on to play the Chief of Control in Get Smart but played supporting roles in a number of major films (including a brief part as Cary Grant‘s lawyer in Hitchcock’s North By Northwest). However the real star of the film is Hayley Mills, who played the little girl whose positive attitude brought a whole town together. She is really good in this film and went on to become a huge child star in the 1960s, mainly in other Disney films.

This is a very entertaining film, in the Disney tradition, it’s just a shame that Disney today doesn’t really care at all about it.


The Princess and the Frog

Directed by Ron Clements
John Musker
Produced by Peter Del Vecho
John Lasseter
(Executive producer)
Written by Ron Clements
John Musker
Rob Edwards
(Screenplay)
Ron Clements
John Musker
Greg Erb
Jason Oremland
Don Hall
(Story)
Starring Anika Noni Rose
Bruno Campos
Keith David
Michael-Leon Wooley
Jim Cummings
Jenifer Lewis
John Goodman
Oprah Winfrey
Jennifer Cody
Peter Bartlett
Terrence Howard
Music by Randy Newman
Editing by Jeff Draheim
Studio Walt Disney Animation Studios
Distributed by Walt Disney Pictures
Release date(s) November 25, 2009 (2009-11-25)
(Los Angeles premiere)
December 11, 2009 (2009-12-11)
Running time 97 minutes
Country United States

Much has been made of The Princess And The Frog for a variety of reasons. Firstly, Tiana is the first AfricanAmerican to become one of Disney’s famed princesses, which really just means that  now a black face has been added to Disney merchandising.

Secondly, The Princess And The Frog marks a return to Disney doing things the old-fashioned way. Disney decided to once again try to return to hand drawn 2D animation after their recent dismal failures with CGI.

Finally and most importantly, The Princess And The Frog sees Disney once again become ambitious with their movies. No longer are they going to rely on celebrity voices or imitating Pixar and Dreamworks. Instead they have gone back to doing things the traditional Disney way, with a great storyline and music. It may be familiar and old-fashioned, not as hip or trendy as Dreamworks, but it works well and sees Disney return to form impressively. Then again Dreamworks’ films tend to age very quickly as the references contained within them go out of date, however I feel that The Princess And The Frog is a little more timeless.

I was quite impressed with some of the animation, especially in one scene early on where Tiana is dreaming of opening her own restaurant. This scene had a 1920s, art deco feel to it, thanks to some striking backgrounds and character designs, but it also featured some really great animation work that I found to be very impressive.

The music too is very good. The score features lots of Randy Newman penned jazz songs that complements the film’s setting of New Orleans. These are not pop songs by some lame band, ala the Shrek movies, but songs that are reminiscent of the best music from Disney’s second heyday of  the late 1980s and 90s.

All in all I thought that The Princess And The Frog was a great movie and one that is almost as great as past Disney hits like The Little Mermaid, Beauty And The Beast and Aladdin. Hopefully Disney will now leave the CGI stuff to Pixar and continue to make these wonderful hand-drawn movies in their traditional style, as this is the stuff that Disney does best.