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The Reluctant Dragon
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The Reluctant Dragon (1941/I) More at IMDbPro »

Videos (see all 4)
The Reluctant Dragon -- Max Hare and Toby Tortoise are having a foot race. Max has much more style, and is generally cocky. He pauses for a short nap...
The Reluctant Dragon -- Benchley takes the audience on a tour through Disney studios. Alan Ladd plays one of the animators we meet along the way. The live-action footage was cut in later TV releases.
The Reluctant Dragon -- Benchley takes the audience on a tour through Disney studios. Alan Ladd plays one of the animators we meet along the way. The live-action footage was cut in later TV releases.


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7.0/10   1,068 votes »
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Down 4% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Kenneth Grahame (based on the story by)
Ted Sears (screenplay) ...
View company contact information for The Reluctant Dragon on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
20 June 1941 (USA) See more »
A NEW WORLD OF WALT DISNEY WONDERS! (original print media ad - all caps) See more »
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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
Disney Cabinet Curio See more (16 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)
Robert Benchley ... Robert Benchley
Frances Gifford ... Doris (Studio Artist)
Buddy Pepper ... Humphrey (Studio Guide)
Nana Bryant ... Mrs. Benchley
Claud Allister ... Sir Giles (segment "The Reluctant Dragon") (voice)
Barnett Parker ... The Dragon (segment "The Reluctant Dragon") (voice)
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

Alan Ladd ... Al, Baby Weems storyboard artist
Truman Woodworth
Hamilton MacFadden (as Hamilton Mac Fadden)
Maurice Murphy
The Staff of the Walt Disney Studio
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ernie Alexander ... Baby Weems' Father (voice) (uncredited)
Frank Churchill ... Frank Churchill (uncredited)
Pinto Colvig ... Goofy (segment "How to Ride a Horse") (voice) (uncredited)
Louise Currie ... (uncredited)

John Dehner ... Tall Baby Weems Storyboard Artist with Mustache (uncredited)

Walt Disney ... Walt Disney (uncredited)
Lester Dorr ... Slim (uncredited)

Frank Faylen ... Frank, Orchestra Leader (uncredited)
Art Gilmore ... FDR (segment "Baby Weems") (voice) (uncredited)
Henry Hall ... Studio Policeman (uncredited)
Verna Hillie ... Sculptor (uncredited)
Leone Le Doux ... Baby Weems (segment "Baby Weems") (voice) (uncredited)
James MacDonald ... Sound Effects Man (uncredited)
Eddie Marr ... Walter Winchell (segment "Baby Weems") (voice) (uncredited)
Linda Marwood ... Baby Weems' Mother (segment "Baby Weems") (voice) (uncredited)
John McLeish ... Narrator (segment "How to Ride a Horse") (voice) (uncredited)

Gerald Mohr ... Studio Guard / Narrator (segment "Baby Weems") (voice) (uncredited)
Fred Moore ... Fred Moore (uncredited)
Steve Pendleton ... Humphrey's Boss - Head of Security (uncredited)
Wolfgang Reitherman ... Artist (uncredited)
Raymond Severn ... Baby Weems (segment "Baby Weems") (voice) (uncredited)
Val Stanton ... Courier (segment "The Reluctant Dragon") (voice) (uncredited)
J. Donald Wilson ... Narrator (segment "The Reluctant Dragon") (voice) (uncredited)

Directed by
Alfred L. Werker 
Hamilton Luske (cartoon sequences)
Jack Cutting (cartoon sequences) (uncredited)
Ub Iwerks (cartoon sequences) (uncredited)
Jack Kinney (cartoon sequences) (uncredited)
Writing credits
Kenneth Grahame (based on the story by)

Ted Sears (screenplay) &
Al Perkins (screenplay) &
Larry Clemmons (screenplay) &
William Cottrell (screenplay) (as Bill Cottrell) &
Harry Clork (screenplay)

Erdman Penner (story "Reluctant Dragon" sequence) &
T. Hee (story "Reluctant Dragon" sequence)

Joe Grant (story "Baby Weems" sequence) &
Dick Huemer (story "Baby Weems" sequence) &
John P. Miller (story "Baby Weems" sequence)

Berk Anthony  story (segment "The Reluctant Dragon") (uncredited)
Robert Benchley  uncredited

Produced by
Walt Disney .... producer (uncredited)
Original Music by
Frank Churchill 
Larry Morey 
Cinematography by
Bert Glennon (director of photography)
Winton C. Hoch (director of photography: Technicolor sequences) (as Winton Hoch)
Film Editing by
Paul Weatherwax 
Art Direction by
Ken Anderson (art direction: cartoon sequences)
Yale Gracey (art direction: cartoon sequences)
Hugh Hennesy (art direction: cartoon sequences)
Lance Nolley (art direction: cartoon sequences)
Gordon Wiles 
Set Decoration by
Earl Wooden  (as Earl Woodin)
Production Management
Earl Rettig .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Ford Beebe Jr. .... assistant director: cartoon sequences
Jasper Blystone .... assistant director
Jim Handley .... assistant director: cartoon sequences
Erwin L. Verity .... assistant director: cartoon sequences (as Erwin Verity)
Jack Bruner .... assistant director: cartoon sequences (uncredited)
Lou Debney .... assistant director: cartoon sequences (uncredited)
Art Gibeaut .... assistant director: cartoon sequences (uncredited)
Art Department
Charles Philippi .... art direction: cartoon sequences (as Chas Philippi)
Sound Department
Frank Maher .... sound recordist
Special Effects by
Ub Iwerks .... special effects
Joshua Meador .... special effects (as Joshua L. Meador)
Visual Effects by
Edwin Aardal .... effects animator (uncredited)
Jerome Brown .... effects animator (uncredited)
Brad Case .... effects animator (uncredited)
Ugo D'Orsi .... effects animator (uncredited)
George De Beeson .... effects animator (uncredited)
Russ Dyson .... effects animator (uncredited)
Andy Engman .... effects animator (uncredited)
James Escalante .... effects animator (uncredited)
Art Fitzpatrick .... effects animator (uncredited)
Harry Hamsel .... effects animator (uncredited)
Joe Harbaugh .... effects animator (uncredited)
Jack Huber .... effects animator (uncredited)
Paul B. Kossoff .... effects animator (uncredited)
Fred Madison .... effects animator (uncredited)
John McDermott .... effects animator (uncredited)
John McManus .... effects animator (uncredited)
Art Palmer .... effects animator (uncredited)
Miles E. Pike .... effects animator (uncredited)
John Reed .... effects animator (uncredited)
George Rowley .... effects animator (uncredited)
Sandy Strother .... effects animator (uncredited)
Reuben Timmins .... effects animator (uncredited)
Don Tobin .... effects animator (uncredited)
Noel Tucker .... effects animator (uncredited)
Vernon G. Witt .... effects animator (uncredited)
Cornett Wood .... effects animator (uncredited)
Animation Department
Jack Campbell .... animator
Ray Huffine .... background artist
Walt Kelly .... animator
Ward Kimball .... animator
Fred Moore .... animator
Milt Neil .... animator
Wolfgang Reitherman .... animator
Art Riley .... background artist (as Arthur Riley)
Claude Smith .... animator
David Swift .... animator (as Bud Swift)
Harvey Toombs .... animator
Stephen Bosustow .... animator (uncredited)
Chester Cobb .... animator (uncredited)
Rex Cox .... animator (uncredited)
Ed Fourcher .... animator (uncredited)
George Goepper .... animator (uncredited)
Ray Lockrem .... background artist (uncredited)
Bob McIntosh .... background artist (uncredited)
Paul Murry .... animator (uncredited)
Mique Nelson .... background artist (uncredited)
Frank Onaitis .... animator (uncredited)
Frank Oreb .... animator (uncredited)
John Sibley .... animator (uncredited)
Louis Terri .... animator (uncredited)
Judge Whitaker .... animator (uncredited)
Bernard Wolf .... animator (uncredited)
Music Department
Leigh Harline .... composer: stock music (uncredited)
Paul J. Smith .... composer: additional music (uncredited)
Charles Wolcott .... composer: additional music (uncredited)
Other crew
Walt Disney .... presenter
Natalie Kalmus .... color director: Technicolor sequences
Lyle De Grummond .... technical planner (uncredited)
T. Hee .... caricatures: title sequence (uncredited)
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"A Day at Disneys" - USA (TV title)
"Sorcery Animation Heaven" - Japan (English title) (imdb display title)
See more »
74 min
Black and White (Sepiatone) | Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Mono (RCA Sound System)

Did You Know?

Portions of this film had to be redone because of objections by the Hays Office. The dragon was originally drawn with a navel which had to removed before the film could be passed.See more »
[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 turned the last corner and disappeared from view, snatches of an old song were borne back on the night breeze. I can't be certain which of them was singing, but I think it was the dragon."
See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in Studio Tour (2002) (V)See more »
The Reluctant DragonSee more »


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1 out of 1 people found the following review useful.
Disney Cabinet Curio, 12 May 2008
Author: nycruise-1 from United States

After filming the live-action sequences of "Fantasia" and hurting for a "feature release" following the financial fiascos of the aforementioned feature, presumably Disney rushed this into production (with most of it live-action, it not only cost less than a fully-animated counterpart of equal length, it took much less time to complete).

It purports to tell the story of how Disney animated cartoons are made, but, courtesy of a disclaimer at the beginning of the movie, it turns out to be more fiction than fact.

Various processes - like sound recording, paint-mixing, cell-photographing, multi-planing, etc - are all upended for the sake of humor (in one instance, a complete cel of Donald Duck comes to life, in another instance, the sound effects crew creates an "unplanned" cacophony by knocking over all the equipment).

More to the point is that the sequences are not just staged, but they employ professional actors (such as Alan Ladd!) portraying Disney animators and other staff (although in certain instances, actual animators such as Woolie Reitherman and Ward Kimball make appearances).

The "Baby Weems" sequence is often commended by many for being innovative and the forerunner of the UPA-style that would dominant the art of animation in the 1950s, but the fact is that "Weems" is nothing more than a sleek, streamlined version of a "leica reel" (a film which combines the pre-recorded soundtrack with the animators' storyboard sketches, as a way of assessing how story pacing and timing are before *before* any time and effort are spent creating fully-animated sequences). The story is cute, the drawings are more fully- rendered than they would be in a genuine Leica reel so they are nice to see, but "innovative"? I don't think so.

The Goofy "How-to" sequence is okay (I never cared for the "How-To" series, but I know a similarly-themed version in "Saludos Amigos" with Goofy trying to be a Gaucho is funnier).

The title short - "The Reluctant Dragon" - is cute and funny. I don't think it rates as a classic, but because it is such a rarely-viewed piece it needs to be watched by all Disney-philes.

Considering its historic value, this movie is hardly a waste of time. It's just not one that deserves repeated viewings.

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See more (16 total) »

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