Disney Animated Features
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Release Date: 15 August 1946
This film could have been called Fantasia Lite. That's not an insult; the 10 musically-themed segments of this film have been rated anywhere from adequate to excellent, but the "Lite" designation would be because the music was more contemporary than that in Fantasia. The animation is also not as sophisticated, reflecting the decreased production values necessitated by World War II (which had only ended a year previous).
Still, the segments in this film are generally worth seeing. I won't mention them all here, but there are a few notable pieces:
- "Casey at the Bat," a nicely animated interpretation of the famous poem by Ernest Lawrence Thayer.
- "Blue Bayou," a re-use of animation originally intended for Fantasia, where it would have been set to "Au Claire De Lune," by Claude Debussy.
- "Peter and the Wolf," another well-animated interpretation, this time of the music by Prokofiev, which was in turn an intepretation of a Russian folk tale. In Prokofiev's piece, each of the characters in the story is represented by a different instrument playing a unique theme. The Disney short contains a prologue explaining this technique, which is often useful to elementary school music teachers.
- "Johnny Fedora and Alice Bluebonnet" a love story involving two... um... hats. No, really. But it's a sweet story.
The other segment
s are good but not particularly notable.
This film, alas, was the first of the Disney Animated Features not to earn a single Academy Award nomination. It did win an award at the Cannes Film Festival, but perhaps the Academy, like the general public, were longing to see another traditional animated feature rather than these collections of shorts. They would have to wait until 1950 (Cinderella).
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.