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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Sleeping Beauty (1959)

At the christening of their newborn daughter, the King (Taylor Holmes) and Queen (Rosa Crosby) are startled when the uninvited evil fairy Maleficent (Eleanor Audley) arrives and displeased that she received no invitation, she places a curse on the child. She prophecises that when the Princess turns 16, she will prick her finger on a spindle and die. Unable to completely undo the curse, another fairy (Barbara Luddy) arranges it so that instead of dying, she will fall into a deep sleep and can only be awakened by her true love. Walt Disney went all out with his animated production of SLEEPING BEAUTY. Filmed in 70 millimeter (which would give the animation a clarity that 35 millimeter lacked), 6 track stereophonic sound, underscore and songs based on Tchaikovsky's ballet and a huge (for the time) budget of six million dollars. Surprisingly, the film didn't make its money back during its initial engagements. Subsequent releases have pushed it into the profit column. The film itself is a slight fable, even at one hour and 15 minutes, it still seems a bit padded. In particular, the comic interlude between the King and the Prince's father. But visually, it's a feast! Rich and vibrant colors and razor sharp detail and in Maleficent as voiced by Eleanor Audley, one of the greatest Disney villains. Directed by (or at least supervised by) Clyde Geronimi. With Mary Costa as the grown up princess, Bill Shirley as the Prince and Verna Felton and Barbara Jo Allen as the first and second fairies.

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