THE SORCERER'S APPRENTICE (Michael Powell, 1955) **1/2
This is a ballet short by Michael Powell - "devised and designed" by Hein Heckroth - in the style of THE RED SHOES (1948) and THE TALES OF Hoffman (1951). During the Audio Commentary for the latter, it was stated that Powell was very much influenced by the animated films of Walt Disney; this short is certainly evidence of that, since the Disney Studios had tackled the same Goethe story in the most famous segment from FANTASIA (1940) - though the celebrated Paul Dukas score that's become synonymous with it wasn't utilized here!
Despite the considerable talent on display, however, the overall concept of the short is too modest to favorably compare - and, perhaps, it shouldn't be - with the boundless imagination that is afforded by a cartoon, or the sheer charm of the Disney classic itself. The film is, in any case, compromised by the unsuitable widescreen format and the fact that it was shortened from 30 to 13 minutes!
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