Today’s Bambi-inspired post is a spotlight on the novel that preceded the film.
Written by Felix Salten, the novel named Bambi: Eine Lebensgeschichte aus dem Walde, was originally published in Austria in 1923.
It traces the life of Bambi from his birth to childhood, the loss of his mother, finding a mate, the lessons he learns from his father and experience about the dangers posed by Man in the forest.
It is considered to be one of the first environmental novels published.
Due to its violent content, it is not a book suitable for young audiences.
As Felix Salten was of Jewish origin, the book was banned in Nazi Germany because it was considered to be “political allegory on the treatment of Jews in Europe.” Many copies of the book were burned, making the first editions rare and hard to find.
In 1939, Salten released a sequel, Bambis Kinder, eine Familie im Walde (Bambi’s Children: A Family in the Woods)
Over 200 editions of the original novel have been published, with nearly 100 German and English editions alone, and numerous translations and reprintings in over 30 languages.
To this day there is a copyright dispute between Disney and the publishing house Twin Books over who can legally use the Bambi name.
Differences between the novel and the film:
- In the novel, Bambi is born without fanfare
- Bambi is meant to be a Roe Deer, native to Austria. In the film, he is drawn to resemble a White Tailed Deer so his species would be recognised by US audiences.
- Bambi is shot by the hunters and it takes several months for him to be nursed back to health by the Great Prince.
- The animals are able to see Man.
- Man’s dogs can talk and are taunted by a fox before they kill it.
- Faline is his cousin.
- The novel goes into more detail about the horrors of life in the forest, and the unstoppable power of Man.
If you want a more extensive look into the differences between the film and the book, I stumbled across this blog post from a few years ago. It certainly goes into a lot of detail and you can certainly see why Disney felt the need to make some drastic changes so that it was more suitable for a universal audience.
I do know that I would be intrigued to read this if I could find a copy somewhere.
What do you think?
Would you be inclined to read the original novel?
Thanks for reading and have a brazzle dazzle day!