Bambi (1942) Poster



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"Man is in the forest" was a code phrase used by Disney's employees when Walt Disney was coming down the hallway.
Unusually for the time, Walt Disney insisted on children providing the voices for the animals when they were young, instead of using adults mimicking youngsters.
There are approximately only 1,000 words of dialog throughout the entire film.
"Man" was ranked the #20 villain on the American Film Institute's list of the 100 greatest heroes and villains - the only character on the list not to appear on-screen.
Two asteroids have been named after Bambi and Thumper.
One of the many rejected ideas was to show the hunter killed by the very forest fire that he had accidentally started.
No matter how skilled the animator, the Disney cartoonists simply could not draw Bambi's father's antlers accurately. This was because of the very complicated perspectives required. To get round the problem, a plaster cast was made of some real antlers which was then filmed at all angles. This footage was then rotoscoped onto animation cels.
The first and one of the few Disney features where the songs were not sung by any of the film's characters. Each song was either sung off screen by a soloist or a choir.
Six-year-old Peter Behn auditioned with several other children for the voice roles of Mother Rabbit's children. When Behn said the line (in reference to Bambi), "Did the young prince fall down?", a casting director who was watching the audition in another room shouted, "Get that kid out of here! He can't act!" However, the Disney animators who heard the audition tape loved the sound of Behn's voice. Behn was called back to the studio, and the character of Thumper was created largely based on his vocal performance.
Pre-production began in 1936 and was intended to be Walt Disney's second full-length animated film after Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937). Disney's perfection and quest for realism delayed the project significantly, so that Pinocchio (1940), Fantasia (1940), The Reluctant Dragon (1941) and Dumbo (1941) were released earlier than Bambi.
Bambi (1942) premiered August 8, 1942 in London - a very daring move in the midst of war - and a few days later in New York. Despite glowing reviews, it was an initial box office disappointment. This prompted Disney to re-release Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) in the summer of 1944, a tactic that the studio regularly adopts now for all their animated features.
The last full-length animated feature made by Walt Disney until Cinderella (1950).
Before he died, the last request of Frank Churchill, the composer who scored the music for this film, was that the film's song, "Love Is a Song", be dedicated to his wife, Carolyn, who was Walt's personal secretary from 1930 to 1934 after she married Frank. But Walt had to deny the request since the song had already gone to the publisher.
Sidney Franklin originally initiated "Bambi" as a film project in 1933, envisioning it as a live action film. He had even gone to the stage of recording 'Margaret Sullavan (I)' and Victor Jory's voices for the soundtrack. Eventually he realized that the technology simply wasn't adequate enough to make the film. After seeing Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), it dawned on Franklin that there was someone who could realize "Bambi" as a movie. So he contacted Walt Disney who immediately leaped at the idea of working on the project. Disney started work on the film in 1936, though he was also developing Fantasia (1940), Dumbo (1941) and Pinocchio (1940) at the same time. All this explains why there is a dedication in the film's opening credits "To Sidney A. Franklin - our sincere appreciation for the inspiring collaboration".
Animation from this film has been reused more often than animation from any other Disney film. Usually it is used as incidental animation of birds, leaves and the like. Only a few of the major characters have been reused. Bambi's mother, for example, appears in the very first shot of Beauty and the Beast (1991), and is the quarry of both Kay in The Sword in the Stone (1963) and Shere Khan in The Jungle Book (1967). Bambi and his mother fully appear then in The Rescuers (1977).
The look of the film was inspired by the work of Tyrus Wong, a Chinese animator whose sketches used softened backgrounds. This meant that the focus was squarely on the beautifully drawn animals.
The Maine Development Commission sent two fawns, appropriately named Bambi and Faline, to the Disney studio, to be kept as pets while artists studied their movements and behavior. When they were fully grown, they were released in nearby Griffith Park. Other animals, such as skunks and squirrels, were kept in the Disney zoo for similar purposes.
A test animation of baby Bambi stuck on a fallen tree-trunk was sufficiently charming to convince Walt Disney to make the film.
Austrian writer Felix Salten (real name Siegmund Salzmann) - an insurance clerk who began to write out of boredom - got the inspiration for his novel during a trip to Italy when he became fascinated with the Italian word "bambino".
The Disney studios were walking a very precarious line financially, and were constantly on the verge of bankruptcy. A studio strike and, of course, the outbreak of war - which deprived them of their lucrative European market - didn't help matters. Disney was able to secure another loan from the Bank of America, but when both Pinocchio (1940) and Fantasia (1940) failed at the box office, a lot was riding on Bambi (1942) to be a success.
Disney animators spent a year studying and drawing deers and fawns to perfect the look of Bambi and his parents and friends. Deer are notoriously difficult to render in human terms as their eyes are on either side of their face, their mouth does not lend itself to speech and they have no real chin. Ultimately animator Marc Davis resolved these difficulties by infusing the character of Bambi with the traits of a human baby.
Some scenes of woodland creatures and the forest fire are unused footage from Pinocchio (1940).
Donnie Dunagan, who was the voice for young Bambi, also was the model for Bambi's facial expressions.
[June 2008] Ranked #3 on the American Film Institute's list of the 10 greatest films in the genre "Animation".
The movie is responsible for the so-called "Bambi-confusion" ("Bambi-Irrtum") in German-speaking countries. In the book Bambi is a roe-deer (German: Reh). But since there are no roe-deers in the US, Walt Disney changed Bambi's appearance to that of a white-tailed deer, which in turn is unknown in Europe. However, both the original German-dubbed version from 1950 and the re-dubbing from 1973 stuck to the original Felix Salten version and called Bambi a roe-deer instead of a stag (German: Hirsch), which would be a lot more correct. Since the appearance of Bambi's father and Bambi in adult life resemble a red deer (which is common in Europe) a lot closer than an adult roe-deer, kids in German-speaking regions for the past 60 years have come to believe that a Reh (roe-deer) is the younger version of a (Rot) Hirsch (Red deer). This confusion has never really been cleared up for many so that this is now even taught to children by their parents who saw the movie when they were young.
Thumper's and the squirrels' designs could also be seen for the animals in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937).
After Dumbo (1941), this is the second Walt Disney animated feature to be set in the present day.
For the film's DVD release in 2005, over 110,000 frames were cleaned up individually, requiring more than 9,600 hours of work. This was done from a copy of the original nitrate negative borrowed from the Library of Congress.
The character of Thumper (called Bobo in the first draft) does not appear in Felix Salten's original novel. He was added by Walt Disney to bring some much-needed comic relief to the script.
The world premiere of this film was scheduled to be in the tiny Lincoln Theater in Damariscotta, Maine, USA. Maurice Day, an animator with Disney, brought Felix Salten's book to the attention of Walt Disney, and when Disney decided to make the movie he thanked Maurice by planning to hold the premiere in Maurice's home town. However, the State of Maine objected, fearing that hunters would be offended by the film, and the actual world premiere was elsewhere.
The movie lost money at the box office for the first run, but began to recoup its considerable cost (over $2,000,000) during the 1947 re-release.
To design Bambi's scenes, Walt Disney traveled to Argentina in 1941, and there he was inspired in the forests of Neuquén's province, southwest of Argentina.
The opening multi-plane shot is one of Disney's biggest use of the multi-plane. It had been used on scenes in The Old Mill (1937), Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), Pinocchio (1940), Fantasia (1940), and Dumbo (1941).
CASTLE THUNDER: Heard a few times when the storm in the "April Shower" sequence is about to start. It's also heard when the storm clouds are beginning to part and the sun begins coming out.
Selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry in December 2011 as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."
The movie was set for a world premiere at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on 30 July, 1942, but was delayed due to the extended run of Mrs. Miniver (1942).
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Donnie Dunagan kept his role in this film quiet while in the Marines as he feared he would pick up the nickname "Bambi".
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The deer that Bambi fights is named Ronno.
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The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

Bambi was originally supposed to go back to his mother after she was shot and find her in a pool of blood. This idea was scrapped.
In the original script Bambi was shot instead of his mother, but Walt Disney dismissed the idea and moved the shooting to Bambi's mother. Bambi does get shot later in the film but he survives.
The hunter who shoots Bambi's mother was originally going to be included as a character in the movie. But, for a man to shoot the mother of the hero, he would have to be clearly cruel and villainous for children to accept him. Since Walt Disney didn't want to be seen as maligning hunters as evil, the character was cut and never shown in the final version of the film.
Walt Disney and his staff attended a preview of the film in a Pomona theater on February 28, 1942, only a few months before the film was released. During the screening, the audience remained quiet; Walt didn't know whether they were spellbound or bored. The audience was shocked by the scene of Bambi's mother being shot to death, but when Bambi started looking around for her and calling out to her, asking where she is, a teenager in the audience answered, "Here I am, Bambi!", causing everyone else in the audience - except Walt's staff - to howl with laughter. Walt and his staff left the theater in disappointment, but Walt refused to cut the scene from the movie, insisting that the movie was right as it was. Bambi's mother's death is considered to be one of the most tragic, heartbreaking moments ever, not only in Disney movies, but in movies in general.
The death of Bambi's mother is often considered to be saddest and most heartbreaking moment of any film in the Disney canon. It's only rival in that respect is the death of Mufasa in The Lion King (1994).

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