Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Sword in the Stone 1963



Why not one more post on Disney's The Sword in the Stone ? A film disliked by some, but loved by many. By the time I enrolled into art school way back, I had seen all of Disney's classic animated films in theatrical reruns except for The Sword in the Stone. One day I was invited to a private screening of this movie at someone's home. He had secured a pristine 35mm print and was going to show it in his living room. I loved the film then and I still do. As Milt Kahl put it, the story falls short here and there, but the movie more than makes up for those weaknesses with rich characters and sequences.
This is color model artist Mary Tebb, wearing an outfit worthy of Technicolor.




A sketch by Bill Peet. Merlin relaxes in a studio chair, originally designed by Kem Weber.



A couple of beautiful styling sketches by the underrated Vance Gerry.




A frame from the Madame Mim sequence. A stunning scene animated by you know who. Just look at that crazy pose!



A cel set up featuring Merlin, Wart and the wolf (animated by John Lounsbery). The highlights on Merlin's beard were added later, as set ups like this one were offered for sale.



A quick reminder about my Nine Old Men book signing on Thursday, 7/28 at Barnes & Noble (at the Grove) at 7 pm:

http://andreasdeja.blogspot.com/2016/07/book-signing-at-barnes-noble-grove.html

17 comments:

  1. I've always enjoyed watching this film. Although, as you said, it's mainly a personality driven story, it's gorgeous to watch from beginning to end. Although the "cleaned up" print of the BluRay Edition is almost unwatcable. Obviously some bright spark at Disney thought those amazing drawings were too dirty looking for HD. Hopefully they'll revert back to the original "dirty" print for the 4K HD realease.

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    1. Luckily the old DVD release looks stunning.

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    2. the itunes version is like the DVD too, even in HD. God knows what they were thinking with that blu ray

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  2. Hi, Andreas. :) I'm doing research about the making of The Little Mermaid, and so I would like to ask for your email adress to better ask you the questions regarding to your work on the movie and its history

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    1. Okay. It's
      Christian.svenningsen.3@gmail.com

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  3. I've always enjoyed The Sword in the Stone, thanks for the beautiful images Andreas!

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  4. I watched a few sequences from this film the other night. A very episodic plot, and I can imagine certain youtube critics really digging into that as a weakness or disadvantage, but it seems to me that whenever a Disney movie "lacks plot", its characters and ideas are always much more rich and clever. I felt like I could watch the misadventures of Merlin, Wart, and Archimedes all day! For the same reason, I really enjoy The Aristocats, a film that many would otherwise criticize as 'forgettable'.

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  5. I was introduced to Sword in the Stone when it aired on the Disney Channel in the 1980s, believe it or not. I totally loved it and still do.

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    1. For me, probably the same way, or the first VHS release in the 80's.

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  6. Hey Andreas,

    My name is Marcelo, I was at the event at Barnes and Noble today; I was the guy with the shaved head who had the Aladdin book full of signatures (thanks for adding yours!).
    I thought I would give you a shout over here, and thought maybe we could (occasionally) correspond via email. I would love to give you my impressions on your talk today...
    My email is marce82@yahoo.com
    Hope to hear from you, and I will continue to check this blog daily!

    Marcelo

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  7. It was, and still is a great film. I don't know what problems they have with this film. The squirrel scene was so funny and serious at the same time!

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    1. There's "Wart" to start with (having three separate kids voice the guy, I though he was going through puberty during this film).

      That squirrel scene was my fave as well, it was so sad at the last shot right before the hilarity of the next scene followed. It really shifted the mood too quickly.

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  8. "A film disliked by some, but loved by many."

    I like it, particularly the wizards' duel. I have a feeling it'll be more realistic than the upcoming Guy Ritchie movie...

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  9. To me, this is by far the most overlooked Disney film and my all time favorite ( with Peter Pan and Alice and Wonderland coming very close). Almost everyone I have talked to has loved this film in my generation ( being an 80s child) and I cannot fathom why anyone would hate this film. Yes it does have some quirks but I think that is also what makes it so loveable and quirky to begin with. I can only hope that this film will continue to have a cult like following and be cherished for years to come.

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