August means it is time to dive into the next film in Through the Decades and that is Fantasia.
Released in 1940, it was the third feature film to be released by Disney. The film is comprised of eight animated segments set to various pieces of classical music – conducted by Leopold Stokowski, with seven of the pieces performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Disney settled on the concept for Fantasia just as they were nearing completion on The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, an elaborate Silly Symphonies short that was designed to bring Mickey Mouse back to the big screen and the hearts of the general public. As the production costs increased, they decided to include the short in a feature length film, alongside other animated segments set to classical music.
When the film was first released, it received critical acclaim. However, in a similar vein to Pinocchio, it was unable to turn a profit due to the Second World War and the inability to distribute to the European market. Also, it had high production costs and Disney had to install specialist sound equipment in all theatres. It did bounce back with multiple reissues and as of 2012, Fantasia has grossed $76.4 million in domestic revenue.
Nowadays it is a widely acclaimed film and it has significantly grown in reputation.
The eight animated segments are:
Toccata and Fugue in D Minor by Johann Sebastian Bach
Nutcracker Suite by Pytor Ilyich Tchaikovsky
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice by Paul Dukas
Rite of Spring by Igor Stravinsky
Pastoral Symphony by Ludwig van Beethoven
Dance of the Hours by Amiclace Ponchielli
Night on Bald Mountain by Modest Mussorgsky
Ave Maria by Franz Schubert
Two of my favourite scenes and pieces of music from the film are:
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (Paul Dukas)
(the audio at the beginning is in Spanish but it is the only full-length video that I can find)
The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy from the Nutcracker Suite (Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky)
The top segment is an unbelievable piece of storytelling, as well as being a classic.
In terms of the second segment, I have always liked that piece of music and I think the animation that Disney paired with it is incredibly beautiful. Plus, it has fairies so what isn’t there to love about it!
This was one film I never watched when I was little. I would have found it boring, watching animation run alongside famous pieces of classical music, but nowadays it is a film I enjoy very much.
It is arty, it doesn’t have much of a story, but it is a good film in that it shows us how music can help inspire creativity. I’ll often put it on in the background when I’m doing other jobs just so I can listen to the music. I’ve also started listening to classical music in place of mainstream music so Fantasia is one of those films I am learning to appreciate more every time I watch it.
It is the only animated feature film to reach the two-hour mark
In the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, some elements of the Sorcerer are modelled on Walt Disney.
The filming of the “Ave Maria” sequence was plagued by mishaps. There were so many that it ended up being added to the film’s final print with four hours to spare.
Salvador Dali (the Surrealist painter) made some illustrations for the film, but his ideas were later discarded.
That’s all for now!
Is this a classic film you have watched?
What do you think of it?
Thanks for reading and have a brazzle dazzle day!