Disney animators set pictures to Western classical music as Leopold Stokowski conducts the Philadelphia Orchestra. "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" features Mickey Mouse as an aspiring magician who oversteps his limits. "The Rite of Spring" tells the story of evolution, from single-celled animals to the death of the dinosaurs. "Dance of the Hours" is a comic ballet performed by ostriches, hippos, elephants, and alligators. "Night on Bald Mountain" and "Ave Maria" set the forces of darkness and light against each other as a devilish revel is interrupted by the coming of a new day. Written by
David Thiel <email@example.com>
The design of the human upper part of Sunflower, the black African centaurette, derives from the coon iconography of the early to mid-20th century. Like Sunflower, Africans and African Americans were typically depicted with dark skin, big lips, and wide eyes. Her hairstyles, with their multiple braids, derive from the typical depictions of the Pickaninny. Pickanniny was a term for caricature depictions of dark-skinned children, usually (though not exclusively) of African descent. Besides other features associated with the type, the Pickanniny was typically depicted with hair styled in multiple braids and sticking out in all directions. Pickanniny characters were popular at the time "Fantasia" (1940) was produced. They were featured in children's literature, film, and occasionally animation. See more »
The dancing ostriches in "Dance of the Hours" are portrayed as females, but it is only the male ostrich that is black and white. The females are grey brown. See more »
How do you do? My name is Deems Taylor, and it's my very pleasant duty to welcome you here on behalf of Walt Disney, Leopold Stokowski, and all the other artists and musicians whose combined talents went into the creation of this new form of entertainment, "Fantasia". What you're going to see are the designs and pictures and stories that music inspired in the minds and imaginations of a group of artists. In other words, these are not going to be the interpretations of trained ...
See more »
The "Fantasia" title card for all releases prior to 1990 (including the original roadshow version) was slightly different from the one seen in the 1990 re-release and in the videocassette version. In the original title card, the letters spelling out the word "Fantasia" are of a slightly different shade of color, as is the blue background, and the title card reads "In Technicolor", just below the word "Fantasia". There is also an RKO logo at the bottom. In the 1990 version, there is no RKO logo, and below the title it says "Color By Technicolor". See more »
This unusual and very creative classic of animation combines a very interesting idea with quite a bit of imagination, plus visual effects that still hold up quite well. All but a couple of the sequences are quite enjoyable, and some especially so. Even the segments that don't work as well are usually at least interesting, since you can at least appreciate what they were trying to accomplish.
You don't really have to be all that familiar with the specific pieces of music for it to be worthwhile, since in several cases they chose to match the music with material that is rather different in nature from any original context that it may have had. And in any case, the animated sequences are intended to provide the context, in terms of the movie.
No doubt, everyone will have his or her own favorite segments, based on the music itself and on the choice of accompanying visual material. The "Sorcerer's Apprentice" sequence, with Mickey Mouse, is certainly one of the most memorable. The adaptation of "The Rite of Spring" is quite imaginative in using an entirely different setting for the music. "Night on Bald Mountain" has striking and sometimes bizarre visuals.
Many of the classic Disney features still hold up well as family entertainment, but "Fantasia" is unique for its combination of imaginative concept and visual creativity. Not every minute of it works, but that's the price of being willing to experiment. It's an enjoyable and satisfying feature that well deserves to be remembered.
18 of 21 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?