The production of the Disney adaptation of "The Wind in the Willows" (1908) begun in early 1941, but the film project was put on hold by October. Production would not start again until 1945. See more »
The enthusiasms of a wealthy & irrepressible Toad and his passion for motorcars brings hilarious turmoil to the lives of his friends along the Riverbank.
Disney's THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS, originally the first half of THE ADVENTURES OF ICHABOD AND MR. TOAD (1949), gives a drastically shortened & much revised view of Kenneth Grahame's classic book, focusing entirely on the chapters dealing with the marvelous Mr. Toad. As such, it is a fine introduction to the original, but one can only wonder what Disney could have done with a feature length animated film that included the bucolic charm of the book, as well as the high jinks. The production values are excellent, and Eric Blore & J. Pat O'Malley obviously have a high time voicing Toad and his equine pal Cyril Proudbottom, but a true fan of the book can't help longing for a little more...
In the Prologue, narrator Basil Rathbone compares Toad very favorably to some other fabulous characters from English Literature - Robin Hood, King Arthur, Becky Sharp, Sherlock Holmes & Oliver Twist. A bit curious, as there was nothing fabulous about young Oliver (either Fagin or Micawber would have been a better choice) and considering Rathbone's own long association with the Holmes character.
Walt Disney (1901-1966) was always intrigued by pictures & drawings. As a lad in Marceline, Missouri, he sketched farm animals on scraps of paper; later, as an ambulance driver in France during the First World War, he drew comic figures on the sides of his vehicle. Back in Kansas City, along with artist Ub Iwerks, Walt developed a primitive animation studio that provided animated commercials and tiny cartoons for the local movie theaters. Always the innovator, his ALICE IN CARTOONLAND series broke ground in placing a live figure in a cartoon universe. Business reversals sent Disney & Iwerks to Hollywood in 1923, where Walt's older brother Roy became his lifelong business manager & counselor. When a mildly successful series with Oswald The Lucky Rabbit was snatched away by the distributor, the character of Mickey Mouse sprung into Walt's imagination, ensuring Disney's immortality. The happy arrival of sound technology made Mickey's screen debut, STEAMBOAT WILLIE (1928), a tremendous audience success with its use of synchronized music. The SILLY SYMPHONIES soon appeared, and Walt's growing crew of marvelously talented animators were quickly conquering new territory with full color, illusions of depth and radical advancements in personality development, an arena in which Walt's genius was unbeatable. Mickey's feisty, naughty behavior had captured millions of fans, but he was soon to be joined by other animated companions: temperamental Donald Duck, intellectually-challenged Goofy and energetic Pluto. All this was in preparation for Walt's grandest dream - feature length animated films. Against a storm of naysayers, Walt persevered and over the next decades delighted children of all ages with the adventures of Snow White, Pinocchio, Dumbo, Bambi & Peter Pan. Walt never forgot that his fortunes were all started by a mouse, or that childlike simplicity of message and lots of hard work always pay off.
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