Edmund is a boy whose favorite story of Chanticleer, a rooster whose singing makes the sun rise every morning until the Grand Duke of Owls, whose kind despises the bright sun, makes him ... See full summary »
Disney version of fairy tale "Jack and the Beanstalk", featuring Mickey, Donald, and Goofy in the main roles. Also contains another short film, re-released as "Bongo". Written by
Tim Pickett <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This is one of the first Walt Disney films to list the voice credits for the animated characters, and the first to actually list Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy as if they were actors in a live-action film. See more »
After WWII, the Walt Disney company released a couple feature films that were actually nothing more than a few long cartoons strung together to feature length. The result were movies like this one as well as "Make Mine Music" and "The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad" which are essentially movies that seem a bit disjoint, as the theme that links the shorts is tenuous at best. Here, "Fun and Fancy Free" is a vague term and really has nothing to do with the cartoons. In addition, the quality of the two cartoons is quite different.
The first cartoon, "Bongo", frankly is awfully lame. Despite having some nice splashy colors, the story is weak and should have supported an 8-10 minute film--not a short running over a half hour. Plus, so much of the film seemed like filler--with LOTS and LOTS of singing from Dinah Shore and others. It's the story of a miserable circus bear who longs to be free. But, when a chance opportunity occurs and he escapes, life in the wild isn't as easy as he expected. Apart from a few cute characters (including a girl bear--you can tell because she has a flower growing out of her head), there isn't much to recommend it. I assume kids of the day really were bored by the cartoon and its watchability is not great. I'd score this one a 4---mostly because the animation is pretty good.
The final cartoon is the one kids will love, as it features Mickey, Donald and Goofy. Oddly, however, unlike the first cartoon, this one features a lot of live-action--with Edgar Bergen and his puppets entertaining a cute little girl with a Disney-fied version of "Jack and the Beanstalk". In this version, the three heroes take on the mean giant--wonderfully brought to life by the voice of Billy Gilbert. While it's clearly a variation of an earlier Disney film ("The Brave Little Tailor"), it still is very watchable and cute. Not a brilliant film, nevertheless it actually makes "Fun and Fancy Free" worth seeing. Plus, fans of Edgar Bergen will enjoy seeing him and his characters. I particularly enjoyed Charlie's 'Udder failure' comment. I'd give this one an 8.
Overall, it's a highly uneven and odd hodgepodge that, frankly, is not especially great viewing. However, the accompanying documentary about this, "The Story Behind Walt Disney's Fun & Fancy Free" is a lot more interesting than the film itself--so if you get the DVD, be sure to watch this in the special features.
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