Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A Better Ending for the Dragon Fight?

In December of 1956 these story sketches were photographed before being printed as photostats.
They show a highly dramatic version of the climactic fight between Prince Phillip and the Dragon for the film Sleeping Beauty. In some ways I find this sequence here more exciting than what ended up in the movie. The strong contrast of black and white brings out powerful silhouettes that add visual thrills to the continuity. Look at how the Dragon pursues the Prince by smashing through giant rock formations.
But what I like best is this very different ending to the fight. Prince Phillip actually delivers the final blow by himself, without the help of three Fairies. 
He falls of the cliff, then lands on the Dragon’s tail. He is lifted up high toward the monstrous head…this seems to be it for him. But hanging upside down he gathers his last bit of strength and throws his sword toward the Dragon’s heart.
I think this makes him a stronger character. He doesn’t need the help of the Fairies’ magic.
And if you wanted to keep the idea of magic, the sword could glow brightly before being thrown, (as perhaps indicated in that one sketch).

Great stagigg and editing, interesting to see what might have been.
I love the “Merry Christmas” note at the end, looks like the board got finished just before the holiday break.
Does anybody know the name of the story artist?

For fun, here are a few live action photostats with actor Ed Kemmer, fighting through thin air and imaginary thorns. The last pic also shows the sequence’ s director Woolie Reitherman on the set. 

Here is a link to another post on Prince Phillip, in case you missed it:


  1. The look on Dragon Maleficent's face when she realizes she's been stabbed looks a little like Kaa to me ºoº This would've been cool to see in the film it does make Philip more heroic, I love Prince Philip and my sisters give me grief because "the fairies saved the day not Philip."
    I remember when I first watched this movie (good old vcr tapes). I was about 13 because my mom felt that Maleficent being very evil might have scared my sisters and I. As soon as the movie was over I ran over to my mom and said: "Why didn't you let us watch this sooner?" My gosh, that was 10 years ago.... I feel so old.

  2. Could the artist of this board have been Bill Peet?
    I agree that this version of the fight would have made Philip a much stronger character... I like the film a lot, but the story is too focused on the fairies in my view. It would have been great to have Philip battle the dragon fully on his own!

  3. An alternate version storyboard to the greatest battle known to the Disney animation studios. I still remember growing up with looking at Sleeping Beauty on VHS to DVD and being able to take her on in the Disney video game Kingdom Hearts.
    I remember looking at Star Wars episode 4 and to a sequence where Luke Skywalker gets his lightsaber for the first time in his life, and by looking at his arm movement of testing the weapon reminded me a lot of how Prince Philip got his sword from Flora. It's the same movement they did.
    Is there any way to see these storyboards frame by frame Andreas?

  4. Love all of this Andreas! I look forward to this blog every week. What a collection you must have. I just listened to an interview with you were you said you bought a lot of this from Frank and Ollie. Priceless gems here! Thanks again!

  5. True, this would have been a great ending to see!

  6. I agree with Joost: the story sketches look like Bill Peet's work .