November 13 – Fantasia Released!

Posted on November 13, 2017

Today is a great day to watch the Disney movie Fantasia, on the anniversary of its 1940 release!

Even though I usually like a plot, rather than a movie with a bunch of unconnected musical numbers, Fantasia is one of my favorite Disney films. I just so so so so enjoy Mickey as the "Sorcerer's Apprentice," and the little Pegasus family and the centaurs and the fauns darting about, and the ostriches and hippos and elephants and alligators dancing ballet, and the evolution visuals, and especially-especially-especially the seasons changing with fairies and mushrooms dancing along to the music of the "Nutcracker Suite"!!!!

Which bit of Fantasia do you like the most? Maybe one of the segments I didn't mention (the abstract patterns or the "Ave Maria" / ghosts)?

Here are some interesting tidbits about this fantastic film:

  • The animated movie started as a short - JUST the Sorcerer's Apprentice - but ended up especially long for an animated feature.
  • Disney arranged to have Fantasia shown in some especially nice "roadshows," in theaters with "Fantasound." Ticket prices were a bit higher than for other movies, but the seats were still sold out in advance, and the movie played at these special theaters for record-breaking runs (some longer than a year!) 

  • At the roadshows, movie viewers were shown to their seats by ushers who had been hired and trained by Disney, and they were given a program booklet illustrated by beloved children's illustrator Gyo Fujikawa. It was a big-deal special occasion, and it was treated as such!

  • The first showing in New York City, on this date in 1940, had all profits going to the British War Relief Society, as England, including London, was being attacked from the air by the Nazis.

  • Most of the reviews of Fantasia have been really, really high - but some critics didn't like it. A few musicians thought that coupling great music with visuals was a bad idea - that the visuals just distracted from the music. Since then, many musicians have commented that, not only was Fantasia ahead of its time, it was enormously influential on the makers of modern music videos. For both Fantasia and music video makers, the music already exists, and visuals must be crafted to fit that music. Of course, when making an ordinary film, it goes the opposite direction - the film is cut, and the musicians compose suitable background music for the visuals.

  • Walt Disney hoped that the movie would help people who had never connected with classical music enjoy it in a new way. He himself, apparently, was the sort of person who used to walk out "on this kind of stuff."

  • Fantasia animators studied everything from the Three Stooges to real-life iguanas, from professional dancers to telescopic views of comets and nebulae. They brought in biologists and an astronomer and Dracula star Béla Lugosi for consultation. 

Some of the words critics used for Fantasia:

"a masterpiece"

"a landmark film"

"caviar to the general, ambrosia and nectar for the intelligentsia"

"never to be forgotten"

"beautiful...but it is also bewildering"



"overwhelmingly ambitious"

Also on this date:

Plan ahead:

Check out my Pinterest boards for:

And here are my Pinterest boards for:

No comments:

Post a Comment