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The Reluctant Dragon (I) (1941)

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Humorist Robert Benchley learns about the animation process at Walt Disney Studios while trying to find the great man himself to pitch him the idea of making a cartoon about a shy dragon.

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(based on the story by), (screenplay), 11 more credits »
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Title: The Reluctant Dragon (1941)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Benchley ...
Robert Benchley
Frances Gifford ...
Doris (Studio Artist)
Buddy Pepper ...
Humphrey (Studio Guide)
Nana Bryant ...
Mrs. Benchley
Claud Allister ...
Barnett Parker ...
Billy Lee ...
The Boy (segment "The Reluctant Dragon") (voice)
Florence Gill ...
Florence Gill
Clarence Nash ...
Clarence Nash / Donald Duck (voice)
Norman Ferguson ...
Norm Ferguson (as Norm Ferguson)
Ward Kimball ...
Ward Kimball
Jimmy Luske ...
Jimmy, Baby Weems model
...
Al, Baby Weems storyboard artist
Truman Woodworth
Hamilton MacFadden ...
(as Hamilton Mac Fadden)
Edit

Storyline

Humorist Robert Benchley attempts to find Walt Disney to ask him to adapt a short story about a gentle dragon who would rather recite poetry than be ferocious. Along the way, he is given a tour of Walt Disney Studios, and learns about the animation process. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Sequences in MULTIPLANE TECHNICOLOR (original print media ad - many caps) See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 June 1941 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Day at Disneys  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Color:

(Sepiatone)| (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Features How to Ride a Horse (1950), the first of the Goofy "How-to" cartoons. When narrator John McLeish was brought in to record the narration, he was asked to read it in a very straightforward manner, as if for a serious documentary about horse riding. He was shocked when he was told that the narration he recorded would be used in a Goofy cartoon. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Mrs. Benchley: [Reading] "So they set off up the hill, arm in arm, the knight, the dragon, and the boy. The lights in the little village began to go out one by one."
[Is interrupted by a toy rifle going off]
Mrs. Benchley: "But there were stars and a late moon as they climbed the downs together."
[Toy rifle again]
Mrs. Benchley: Robert, please.
[Pan to Robert Benchley lying on a raft in the pool, with the toy rifle]
Robert Benchley: Go on, I can hear in any position.
[Shoots a dart at a duck decoy in the pool]
Mrs. Benchley: [Continues reading] "And as they ...
[...]
See more »

Crazy Credits

The animation credits include caricatures and signatures of the crew. See more »

Connections

Features Old MacDonald Duck (1941) See more »

Soundtracks

The Reluctant Dragon
Music by Charles Wolcott
Lyrics by T. Hee and Erdman Penner (as Ed Penner)
See more »

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User Reviews

What ho! Quite so!
15 January 2004 | by (Kentucky) – See all my reviews

God, I love this film. It's just such fun.

At the time this film was made, Disney was primarily known for his animation but was positively itching to branch out into live-action. This is his first venture into "traditional" filmmaking. The story concerns comedic actor Robert Benchley (whose "How To" film series inspired many classic Goofy shorts) who, at the urging of his wife, searches the Disney studio top to bottom trying to sell Walt on the idea of making a movie about Kenneth Grahame's "The Reluctant Dragon" (Grahame's masterpiece "The Wind in the Willows" wouldn't become a Disney film for many years yet.) On the way he meets voice actors, musicians, animators (one played by Alan Ladd) and even Donald Duck and Goofy. When he finally finds Walt, he is shocked to see that his story has already been produced as one of Disney's most charming animated shorts.

Needless to say, this film is pretty dated in the age of "Toy Story" and "Finding Nemo" (I refuse to put the Dreamworks' "S" word in the same category as these two features) but the interesting thing is how many of these tried-and-true practices remain in effect to this day.

Surprisingly, this live-action film is ideal for animation fans. Not so much for the "How does it work?" element, but just the thrill in being immersed in that world. From sound effects recording to paint application. And Benchley's funny, let's not forget that.


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