Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Marc and Mary



A beautiful photo of animator Marc Davis with Mary Costa, the voice of Sleeping Beauty.

Mary was in her early twenties when she auditioned at Disney for the role of Princess Aurora in 1952. She was asked to return to the studio many more times to record dialogue and songs for the character, Sleeping Beauty was in production for an unprecedented period of seven years.
It is interesting to see that Marc Davis started out drawing her as a sixteen year old girl, the age she was supposed to be. The first image shows a youthful innocent girl with the facial features of a teenager.
For some reason though the final design ended up looking a bit older, reflecting Mary's actual age.
Aurora's proportions show a young adult woman, and her jaw was given more volume.
I have a feeling that Walt Disney himself might have had something to say about the look of the title character.
The rough animation drawings by Marc portray Aurora being distraught after being told by the Three Fairies that she has royal duties as a princess. She would never see "that young man" again whom she had met in the forest.
Loosely based on live action reference there is great clarity in the staging of this scene. The character styling of this film pronounces vertical and horizontal lines. 
And Marc Davis handled those head turns and angles beautifully. 

Though not a box office smash in its initial release in 1959, Sleeping Beauty is a Disney film that seems to hold up and look better each year.









14 comments:

  1. I've always loved Marc Davis' work. He was very thoughtful about design and style and this particular film shows it. I'm happy to own an original production drawing of Briar Rose. It's a fantastic drawing and coincidentally I was looking at it just last night! I never had the chance to have Marc Davis sign the drawing but I would love to have Mary Costa sign it or something Sleeping Beauty related so I can frame it. Any advice?

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    1. Mary Costa occasionally makes appearances at Disney events.
      Keep an eye on when those occur, and you might get your signature.

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  2. Oh good God. Marc is such an inspiration...such perfection.

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  3. as per tradition, I made a gif: http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mak6hwgMOr1qdbhwwo1_500.gif

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  4. It's just rough animation, but boy do these drawings of Aurora send a message. Who needs ink and paint when you have work like this by Marc Davis? Beautiful.

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  5. Little Aurora is so sweet! But the final Aurora is, and always will be, the most elegant princess ever drawn. Marc Davis - never fail to amaze. ';)

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  6. God, Marc's drawings of Aurora are so beautiful, each one could be framed.

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    1. I read somewhere that Aurora was partly inspired by Audrey Hepburn;the film is a visual masterpiece but the screenplay is weak

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  8. Those are some really beautiful drawings. Animated females can be so hard to draw, Marc's handling of the Disney females is exceptional. I'm always blown away by his work.

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  9. Total deejay view! I literally only watched Sleeping Beauty yesterday, and then again with your commentary. Your passion is so obvious, and explained so much of the design elements to me, thank you!

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  11. amazing post. from what I have read, whats interesting about this movie is that it actually grossed a good deal of money, just didn't earn much profit because of its production cost. I don't understand why this film is not more popular. It is easily the most beautiful hand drawn animated film ever, I'm more blown away by it every time I see it. Seeing the color photos from the day is like going in a time machine, awesome. Thanks for posting.

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  12. What's especially exciting about Walt and his studio is their continued and persistent pursuit to redefine, and never settling for, what they already knew about making great films.....and it's films like Sleeping Beauty—or Snow White, Pinocchio, Fantasia, Bambi, where we can clearly see the artists' push for innovation. It's fantastic!

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