A Concert Feature , (working title)
Walt Disney Productions, technicolor,
126 mins., Nov. 1940,
($400,000 for the music alone) ;
principal animators Ward Kimball, James Algar;
music conducted by Leopold Stokowski.
Distributed by Disney himself because of the unprecedented nature of
You are looking at the film because it is an attempt to interpret
music in representaional narrative form - and has a section using
abstract imagery. It cost $40,000 to install the special sound systems
in each of the 12 chosen special cinemas. It lost money on the first
showing but has been regularly re-released, with particular success
in the 1970's as an experience to accompany drug taking in the cinema.
Fantasia, "a free development of a given theme".
Animated responses to the following music
Bach, Toccata and Fugue in D Minor
Tchaikovsky, Nutcracker Suite (excerpt)
Dukas, The Sorcerer's Apprentice
Stravinsky, The Rite of Spring
Beethoven, Sixth Symphony (the Pastoral)
Ponchinelli, The Dance of the Hours
Moussorgsky, Night on a Bare Mountain
Originally intended as a `come-back' for Mickey Mouse after the success
of the full length animated feature Snow White, the Mickey as Apprentice
was added to with other visualisations of classical music under Stokowski's
supervision. The film shows all the accomplishments and weaknesses of
the Disney system ;
characterisation of many figures,
certain repetition in order disturbed only to return to tranquillity,
of water reflections.
sentimentality with a tendency to almost Arayan ideals of physical beauty.
many cherub botties.
highly original visual effects,
attempt at the creation of animated abstract images .
Bach sequence was originally prepared by Oscar Fischinger, the avant
garde animator who left when Disney began to impose his own ideas.
approximations of natural phenomena, eg the wave sequences.
abstract representation of the sound track impressive.
standards of satire in The Dance of the Hours sequence.
Experimentation while the company was $5 million in debt after the profits
for Snow White were used up.
Jonathan Rosenbaum in Roud beneath sees parallells between idealisations
in the films of Leni Riefenstahl for Hitler, and Disney in Fantasia.
Disney had been the only film person to receive her when she came to
Hollywood the Thirties.
"Personally I hate that pretentious crap ; I prefer Gershwin"
Ward Kimball animator, of the music used in the film.
Holliss and Sibley, The Disney Studio Story , Octopus
Leonard Mosley, Disney's World , Stein and Day NY 1985
D.Peary, Cult Movies , Vermilion London 1982
Richard Roud (ed) Cinema, a Critical Dictionary , Viking
Ny 1980 (Vol 1 under Disney)
S.Hochman, From Quasimodo to Scarlett O"Hara , A
National Board of Review Anthology, Ungar NY 1982