Article 5729 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by James Algar, Samuel Armstrong, David Hand et. al
Featuring the voices of Hardie Albright, Stan Alexander, Bobette Audrey
What it is: Nature slice of life – animated style
The story of the life of a deer from birth to adulthood.
In terms of its fantastic content, I could rightfully skip reviewing this one, as its sole fantastic content is that it features talking animals (and the inevitable anthropomorphic exaggerations that derive from it), and since I’ve argued that if that alone is the fantastic content of a cartoon, it’s more of a tradition of the form rather than an element of fantasy. However, since this is listed in the Walt Lee guide (and probably a few others as well), I’ll review it anyway.
Perhaps even more to the point, I wanted to review this one, as it remained the only major Disney animated feature from its first couple of decades that I had yet to see; today was the first time. One of the most striking things about this one is that it is so different from so many of their other early features; despite the anthropomorphism, it is mostly a realistic slice of life, and the style of animation recalls that of FANTASIA rather than of their more linear classics. In fact, there is arguably more charm in the scenes that set the moods of the changes of the season than in those scenes that actually contribute to the story; the use of color is simply stunning throughout. Also, the simple slice-of-life train of events that takes place here makes some of the more plot-oriented offerings of other animated films seem rather contrived. I have to say this one won me over completely; I was captivated for its whole 70 minute running time. And, yes, the most famous scene (the one known to traumatize kids) is as effective as its reputation suggests.