Sleeping Beauty (1959)

Article #1048 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 1-27-2004
Posting Date: 6-25-2004
With the voices of Mary Costa, Bill Shirley, and Eleanor Audley

A wicked witch places a spell on a newly-born princess so that she will prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and fall asleep for years.

This was Walt Disney’s most expensive animated feature to date, and there are indeed times where the visuals are audacious and breathtaking; I am particularly taken with the animation in the opening sequence, which actually looks like it owes a little to UPA. One problem the movie does have, however, is that certain characters, setpieces, situations and visuals kept reminding of earlier Disney features that I liked a little better, particularly SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS, FANTASIA, and CINDERELLA. The characters aren’t particularly memorable this time out, with the primary exception being that of Maleficient and her crow companion; she may be the scariest of the witches to ever grace a Disney feature, and her final sequence in which she turns into a dragon and battles the prince is a definite high point in the movie.


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