Directed by Wolfgang Reitherman
Written by Ken Anderson, Larry Clemmons, Eric Cleworth, Vance Garry, Tom McGowan, Tom Rowe, Julius Svendsen, Frank Thomas, and Ralph Wright
Starring Phil Harris, Eva Gabor, Scatman Crothers
Complacency is always a dangerous tone to strike in filmmaking. Combined with cheapness, it can be a killer. Those two concepts are what stand out most of all from the Wolfgang Reitherman era of Walt Disney Pictures. For various reasons, most of which were beyond Reitherman’s control, most of the films from Walt Disney Pictures between 1959’s Sleeping Beauty and 1989’s The Little Mermaid felt cheap and lazy. (Being fair, Reitherman’s time at the company ended, for the most part, with 1977’s The Rescuers, but the four films between that and Mermaid have varying aspects of laziness on display, I think.) And make no mistake: the word “cheap” does not need to be a criticism.