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Sleeping Beauty (1959)

Commentaries on this disc:

Commentary 1: Disney historian Jeff Kurtti, art director Eyvind Earle, voice talent Mary Costa, supervising animators Ollie Johnston and Marc Davis, background painter Frank Armitage, and artists Mike Gabriel and Michael Giaimo Rating:7.8/10 (9 votes) [graph]Login to vote or review
Reviewed by Brian Thibodeau on July 7th, 2004:Find all reviews by Brian Thibodeau
Fine example of a multi-person, edited commentary on one of Disney's most artistically unique animated features. With the exception of Disney historian Jeff Kurtti, most of the participants do not appear to be watching the film, although most of their selected comments are well chosen, candid and paired to appropriate passages in the film. Art director Eyvind Earle, a Disney studio one-timer whose imprint is visible all over the film in its strong use of vertical lines, is very much the main attraction on this track to any fan of Disney’s design department. Earle exudes the calm confience in his craft that originally put him at odds with many of the veterans, who were more in favour of evolving the craft than veering off into overt stylizaton (and thank heavens Earle stuck to his guns!), including the late Marc Davis (animator of both Aurora and Maleficent), who’s quite honest about his attitudes at the time towards Earle, although time has improved his impression of the film. The instrumental score, minus dialogue, plays throughout this commentary track, and at two key moments, alternate original vocal versions of music passages currently in the film are nicely woven into the proceedings. Present-day Disney artists Mike Gabriel and Michael Giaimo, both reportedly influenced as youngsters by Earle’s designs, share their thoughts on his influence, Supervising animator Ollie Johnston and background painter Frank Armitage supplement Earle and Davis in discussions of technical aspects of the film. Mary Costa, the voice of Aurora in the film, discusses her dealings with the animators and with Walt himself, but her anecdotes prove to be the most superfluous. Overall, a very nice, smoothly paced, documentary-style commentary benefitting from years of hindsight brought to the table by at least five of the original participants.