The Reluctant Dragon (1941) - Plot Summary Poster


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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.

  • 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.

  • Humorist Robert Benchley visits the Disney Studios to sell Walt on the idea of animating the story of The Reluctant Dragon. While evading an officious young studio guide, Benchley stumbles into various studio activities and departments, including an art class, a sound effects session, the multiplane camera studio (at which point he notices the film has switched to Technicolor), the paint lab, a storyboard session for the "Baby Weems" segment, a movieola screening of the Goofy cartoon "How to Ride a Horse", and finally catches up with Walt in a screening room just as he's previewing the studio's latest film... The Reluctant Dragon!


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • A humorist learns about the animation production and process at Walt Disney Studios. At the same time, he attempts to pitch an idea to Walt Disney on making an animated film based on the Kenneth Grahame story about a boy who finds a shy dragon that won't fight and writes poetry. He agrees to the idea and we are taken into the studio theater to watch the completed picture in technicolor.

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