Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Happy Birthday BAMBI!

If you were in London on August 8, 1942, you might have enjoyed the premiere of one of the most beautiful of all the Disney classics: "Bambi". If you are among the few who has not seen this film, do yourself a favor, turn off your computer and go watch a copy of this heart warming masterpiece. 

It was directed in 1942 by Dave Hand and of course produced by Walt Disney.

This is a powerful "coming of age" story as we follow "the little prince" as he goes through life, and death. MGM had the rights to "Bambi' but was unable to come up with a method to tell the story and so Sidney Franklin sold the rights to Walt Disney in April 1937. There were many challenges faced by the Disney staff. The novel was written for adults and was considered too grim for the usual Disney audience. 

Artists went back to school to learn to draw animals in a more convincing and life like manner. There were many "starts and stops" in the story development including sections that were developed and dropped such as the "talking leaves" and the "ant hill" sequence. Personally, as a conceptual artist, I was drawn to the magnificent background design of Tyrus Wong who introduced a revolutionary look in Disney films that drew the eye to specific points while keeping a soft impressionistic feel to the forest. 

When Bambi was released during World War II it failed at the box office yet today it is hailed as the Walt Disney classic it deserves and has not only recouped its cost many times over but was named 3rd best film in the animation genre by the American Film Institute. Happy Birthday Bambi!

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