Disney Animated Features
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Release Date: 7 February 1940
The second full-length animated feature film ever. After the wild success of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, beyond even Walt Disney's expectations, he knew he could continue to make these works of art. This time, he selected an Italian novel about a little wooden boy.
Pinocchio is often considered the best of Disney's animated films, although that is by no means universal. The visuals were beyond anything ever done in animation to that point, from a panoramic view of an Italian village to the terrifying size and movements of Monstro, the giant whale. The story is timeless and simple, and the music was as good as that in live-action musicals.
The story: An aging wood carver, Geppetto, one day crafts a beautiful marionette in the shape of a young boy. Seeing the boy's face, he is overcome with emotion and wishes on a star that he had a son rather than just a puppet. The Blue Fairy grants the wish, partially, animating the puppet, but leaving him wooden. Under the guidance of the Blue Fairy and his appointed conscience, Jiminy Cricket, Pinocchio must learn responsibility and caring before becoming a real boy.
The film was the first of many Disney features to win Academy Awards for Best Music, Original Score and Best Music, Song (for "When You Wish Upon a Star," which has become Disney's unofficial theme song).
Although a resounding critical success, the film did not do nearly as well at the box office as its predecessor. Although discouraged, Disney fortunately continued making animated features, knowing they would eventually find popular success.
Information for the Disney Animated Features series of nodes comes from the IMDb (www.imdb.com), Frank's Disney Page (http://www.informatik.uni-frankfurt.de/~fp/Disney/), and the dark recesses of my own memory.