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SLEEPING BEAUTY (1959)

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Discussion before

With design elements modeled on medieval art and art deco, Walt Disney’s 16th animated feature remains one of the most beautiful animated films ever made. Disney started work on SLEEPING BEAUTY in 1951, following the success of Cinderella (1950), beginning with the script and recorded the voice cast (including opera star Mary Costa and Disney stalwarts Verna Felton and Eleanor Audley) in 1952. Animators would then spend six years drawing and filming the picture because the choice to work in 70mm required more attention to detail. The studio then added a six-track stereophonic score, with music and songs based on Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty ballet. On its initial release, critics complained that it was too similar to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, even though Disney himself had painstakingly rejected any story ideas he considered too close to the earlier film. Although it was the second-highest grossing film of 1959, production costs were so high it ended up losing money. It wasn’t until Disney reissued the film that it moved into the profit column. Today, it’s viewed as one of the best animated films ever made and Maleficent has become one of Disney’s most popular villains. (d. Clyde Geronimi, 75m, DCP)

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