Fantasia (1940) Poster


Alternate Versions

Before the 1990 re-release, the film was shown with no credits other than the title and the RKO logo. Leopold Stokowski received a written credit only on the posters advertising the film. In the film's original roadshow release, not even the title was shown at the beginning of the film - that was saved for the intermission break.
In the original roadshow version only, just as Deems Taylor is about to announce the segment "The Rite of Spring", there is a terrific offscreen crash, and we see that the percussionist has accidentally fallen against the chimes. He is shown sheepishly picking himself up, while Taylor chuckles.
In the roadshow version only, the orchestra members applaud after Mickey Mouse shakes hands with Leopold Stokowski.
In the roadshow version, the scenes of the orchestra tuning up at the beginning, before Deems Taylor ever appears, go on about a minute longer than in the general release version, and the sounds that the orchestra makes at the very beginning are slightly different from those in the general release version.
In the roadshow version only, when Deems Taylor comes upon the orchestra playing a jam session, he says almost inaudibly, "Oh yeah!", then puts his hand over his mouth and chuckles softly as if he had just realized what he had blurted out.
When the Ostrich slips and falls on her rump, there is an added drum beat to the score. It was omitted (possibly overlooked) in the 1982 digital re-master since it was not part of the original score. It has since been restored.
In 2015, the film was re-released in theaters for the 75th Anniversary. This showing of the film had an introduction by the current conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra Yannick Nézet-Séguin that played before the film began. The film itself had a new title card at the beginning of the film, the intermission was cut out completely, and the original title card was placed at the very end. It's highly doubtful that this version will get a home video release.
For some later theatrical reissues distributed by Buena Vista Distribution Co. (especially the 1990 50th anniversary release), and on the videocassette of the 1990 re-issue as well, the actual blue 1940 title card (done in the Art Deco style typical of the era, and containing the film's title as well as the credits "In Technicolor" and the RKO Radio Pictures logo) as shown midway through the film prior to the Intermission was replaced by a nearly identical title card printed in a rather more modern style without the RKO credit (and shown at the beginning of the film in conventional main-title tradition). The 1982 reissue contained a title card updated to include a credit for Dolby Stereo. The original mid-point title card with the RKO credits has been restored for DVD.
The Fantasia Anthology DVD Box Set's supplemental section features a segment called "Clair de Lune". Intended to be part of the film, it was deleted due to the film's already excessive length. Walt Disney had the notion early on that the film would be re-released every year with new segments as well as old favourites. "Clair de Lune" was prepared at the tail-end of production. However, because the film was a box office failure in its initial release, Walt suspended the idea of a future "Fantasia" (thus the deleted "Clair de Lune" sequence was never restored to a future re-release). Until 1994, the "Clair de Lune" short was never seen in its original form and was released with the package feature, Make Mine Music (1946) with new music and a new title, "Blue Bayou". It was only recently that a restored version of the "Clair de Lune" segment was issued as a separate movie short.
For the 60th anniversary DVD, one scene on the Pastoral sequence was digitally altered to remove a black centaurette. In the scene, Bacchus is being lead to his throne, while the black centaurette rolls out a red carpet. The change now makes the carpet appear to be rolling by itself.
The original 124-minute version has never had a wide theatrical release. The only times the original "Fantasound" version of the film played were in roadshow engagements from November 1940 until January 1941. Walt Disney himself had to personally supervise this release, which only played in 12 venues (only 16 "Fantasound" equipped prints were ever made). The original roadshow version, apart from its fifteen-minute intermission, runs 124 minutes (just over two hours). Compared to the more familiar versions, it featured:
  • much lengthier (and always on-camera) interstitials from Deems Taylor, especially for the then-revolutionary "Rite of Spring" sequence.

  • Footage of the musicians exiting and re-entering the bandstands immediately before and after the intermission. The sequence after the intermission features an impromptu jam session by the on-screen musicians.

  • No on-screen credits, save one title card which displayed the film's name, the copyright notice, "In Technicolor", the MPPDA approval certificate, and the RCA Sound System logo. The production credits were featured in a specially prepared collectible program booklet available for purchase by roadshow performance attendees. Since the first editing of the film after its initial roadshow release, none of this extra material (except part of the intermission used for the 50th Anniversary's end credits sequence) has been seen publicly until the 60th Anniversary release.

In January 1941, Disney's distributor RKO Radio Pictures (which had initially backed out of Fantasia), took over the roadshow bookings. This version is identical to the one Disney had been distributing in months prior, except:
  • it features a monophonic soundtrack in place of the four-track "Fantasound" soundtrack

  • The RKO distribution tag is added to the front of the film.

  • The film's single title card (played over the intermission) now also features the RKO logo.

For its first wide release in January 1942, RKO had the film severely edited down to 81 minutes and re-issued it with the tagline "Fantasia will Amazia!" Practically all of the Deems Taylor interstitual footage was removed, as well as the entire "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor" sequence. This chopped version of the film (which was usually booked in theatres as a "B" picture) did disastrous box-office and was pulled from distribution after a relatively short run.
In February 1956, the film was re-released in widescreen SuperScope, with the film image cropped to conform to the anamorphic widescreen ratio. The stereophonic "Fantasound" tracks were transferred to a magnetic tape source by RCA (across high-fidelity telephone lines, as Disney's only operating Fantasound system could not be moved from the Disney lot). The audio tracks were then re-mixed into four-track optical sound.
The original "Pastoral Symphony" segment featured extremely politically-incorrect "pickaninny"-type African American little-girl centaurs who perform servant duties for the female centaurs. These scenes were first edited in the 1969 re-release of the film by physically cutting the offending footage from the film (resulting in an obvious sound jump). For the 1990 and 2000 re-releases, the offending shots were magnified so that Black centaurs do not appear in the frame. The Fantasia Anthology notes the editing of this footage, although the copy of Fantasia that comes with the set is listed as being "The Original Uncut Version." A brief account of this story and at least one actual cel photograph are presented in the book "Cartoon Confidential" by Jim Korkis and John Cawley (Malibu Graphics Press).
The 1982 re-release featured an entirely re-recorded soundtrack conducted by Irwin Kostal; the first-ever digitally recorded soundtrack for a motion picture. Deems Taylor's narration was replaced in this version by Hugh Douglas. Kostal's soundtrack was reused when the film was then re-released in 1985, but Taylor's narration was dubbed over yet again, this time by Tim Matheson. The 1982/1985 version has never been released on video, although the "Nutcracker Suite" segment (with the Kostel re-recording) has been used on a Disney compilation Christmas TV special on The Disney Channel.
For its 50th Anniversary re-release in 1990, Disney went back to the original Fantasound tracks originally recorded by the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the picture and soundtrack restored from whatever elements were available at the time to resemble the 1946 re-release version of 115 minutes. The only new alterations made were:
  • The edits made to the "Pastoral Symphony" that are present in all post-1969 prints of the film. See above.

  • The addition of an end credits sequence played against footage of the on-screen orchestra exiting the stage, as first seen preceding the intermission in the Roadshow Version. The 1990 version has been released on VHS and LaserDisc. No other version of Fantasia features a credits sequence (the credits were made available to the 1940-1941 roadshow patrons in a specially prepared commemorative booklet).

The 60th Anniversary reissue for DVD in 2000 was an attempt to re-create the original 124-minute Roadshow Version, with missing footage from the interstitials (including Deems Taylor's expanded introductions and additional shots of the on-screen orchestra) restored, and the original midway-point title card (which included the RKO Radio Pictures credit), but still containing the edit to the "Pastoral Symphony." Because most of Taylor's original dialogue tracks had not been preserved, it became necessary for Disney to have voice actor Corey Burton re-dub Taylor's lines (Taylor had passed away 34 years earlier). Beyond these changes, this is the most complete version of the film that now exists.
The bonus disc from The Fantasia Anthology DVD set features alternate animation, in rough pencil-test form, of the following scenes from the film:
  • an alternate broom-chopping from "Sorcerer's Apprentice" that originally occurred on-screen, rather than off-screen.

  • an alternate angle version of the crocodile/hippo encounter from "Dance of the Hours."

Walt Disney had originally intended to incorporate a segment set to Debussy's "Claire de Lune" into the original version of the Film. This scene was fully scored, recorded, and the clean-up animation finished when it was deleted from the already excessive lengthy film. "Clair De Lune" was completed as a standalone short (and for possible insertion as a new segment for insertion into a future version of the film) in 1942, but it was never released. The footage for this segment was re-scored and re-edited as the "Blue Bayou" sequence in Make Mine Music (1946). The complete version of "Clair de Lune" was though to have been lost until 1992, when a complete nitrate workprint of the entire sequence was located. "Clair de Lune" was finally completed and exhibited in 1996, 44 years after it had been created. This version features a remix of the original Fantasound tracks and altered live-action orchestra footage from the regular version of Fantasia, to fill in for the half-minute of missing Leopold Stokowski/Philadelphia Orchestra footage that precedes the animated part of this segment. The 1996 version of "Clair de Lune" is available in the Fantasia Anthology DVD box set.
For its first re-release in September 1946, the film was re-edited to a running time of 120-minutes. "Tocatta and Fugue" was restored to the film, but most of the interstitial footage was shortened, dubbed over, or removed. This cut of the film is the most common, and most subsequent versions of the film are based on this edit.

See also

Trivia | Goofs | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Connections | Soundtracks

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