Dumbo (1941)

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Dumbo (1941)

Dumbo (1941). 64 minutes. Directed by Ben Sharpsteen (supervising director). Starring Edward Brophy (as Timothy Q. Mouse), Verna Felton (as Elephant Matriarch), Cliff Edwards (as Jim Crow), Herman Bing (as the Ringmaster), Margaret Wright (as Casey Junior), and Sterling Holloway (as Mr. Stork). With the Hall Johnson Choir (as Crow Chorus) and the King’s Men (as Roustabout Chorus). Music by Frank Churchill and Oliver Wallace. Produced by Walt Disney.

I first saw Dumbo when I was very young, along with a slew of other Disney movies, but it was Michael Wilmington’s article on it in The American Animated Cartoon: A Critical Anthology that really made me think of it as a work of art. Wilmington argues that Dumbo is Disney’s finest achievement, both in terms of its visual artistry and its storytelling, and when I viewed it recently, I had to admit that I was astonished by both its innovative style and its maturity. Given that its protagonist Dumbo never … Read the rest

March of the Wooden Soldiers (1934)

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March of the Wooden Soldiers (1934)

March of the Wooden Soldiers (1934; also known as Babes in Toyland). 77 minutes. Directed by Gus Meins and Charles Rogers. Starring Stan Laurel (as Stannie Dum), Oliver Hardy (as Ollie Dee), Charlotte Henry (as Bo Peep), Henry Brandon (as Silas Barnaby), Felix Knight (as Tom-Tom, the Piper’s Son), Florence Roberts (as Widow Peep), Virginia Karns (as Mother Goose), and Kewpie Morgan (as Old King Cole). Music by Victor Herbert, Frank Churchill, and Ann Ronnell. Produced by Hal Roach.

This 1934 comedy, based on the Mother Goose stories and starring Laurel and Hardy, is known alternately as March of the Wooden Soldiers, Wooden Soldiers, Babes in Toyland, Laurel and Hardy in Toyland, and Revenge Is Sweet. I have a general feeling when I watch a movie that the more titles it has, the worse it is going to be (I think, for example, of 1962’s deliciously awful The Brain That Wouldn’t Die, which … Read the rest

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

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Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937). 83 minutes. Directed by David Hand (supervising director). Starring Adriana Caselotti (as Snow White), Lucille La Verne (as Evil Queen Grimhilde), Harry Stockwell (as the Prince), Roy Atwell (as Doc), Pinto Colvig (as Grumpy and Sleepy), Otis Harlan (as Happy), Scotty Mattraw (as Bashful), Billy Gilbert (as Sneezy), Moroni Olsen (as the Magic Mirror), and Stuart Buchanan (as Humbert the Huntsman). Songs by Frank Churchill and Larry Morey. Produced by Walt Disney.

The story of Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is probably familiar to most: the young and beautiful princess Snow White lives in a castle and is governed by her evil stepmother the Queen, who forces her to wear ragged peasants’ clothes and perform menial tasks. Snow White encounters a prince one day while cleaning and is smitten. Meanwhile, the Queen asks her magic mirror who the most beautiful woman in the land is. When the mirror tells her … Read the rest