Disney VHS: Fantasia Disney’s Animated Masterpiece! Dolby Surround Leopold Stokowski


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Fantasia (Walt Disney’s Masterpiece) [VHS]
Leopold Stokowski (Actor), Deems Taylor (Actor), Ben Sharpsteen (Director), & 1 more Rated: G (General Audience) Format: VHS Tape

Actors: Leopold Stokowski, Deems Taylor, Julietta Novis, Corey Burton, Walt Disney
Directors: Ben Sharpsteen, Bill Roberts, Ford Beebe, Hamilton Luske, James Algar
Format: Animated, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Dolby
Language: English
Rated: G (General Audience)
Studio: Walt Disney Home Video
Run Time: 120 minutes

I liked the idea of mixing classical music with the unlimited possibilities of animation. I think my favorite part was the one accompained with Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring”. It could be because i happen to like this composition. Oh and the part with Mickey Mouse is very lovely until Mickey destroys the broom. The broom took vengeance though. Every piece became a new broom. Ha, ha, take that Mickey.

FANTASIA remains one of the wondrous achievements in film history: a unique mixture of superb music, rich color, detailed animation and exciting story. Sweeping in pespectives from dinosaurs and flying horses to pink elephants and saints, this magical movie also boasts of having Mickey Mouse’s greatest moment. FANTASIA is a must-see film and a must-have movie for any serious video collector. Not to be missed!

Fantasia is an extraordinary and truly unique motion picture experience. Animation, before and since, has held a role in telling stories on screen, but too often the art of the animation itself takes a back seat to the story or situation it presents. Walt Disney understood this, and so offered the public another idea with Fantasia: an exploration of animation as a high art in and of itself. The film is a collection of seven shorts, set to various works of classical music, each considered masterpieces themselves. The music was conducted by Leopold Stokowski, who, at the time, was to classical music what Disney was to animation: a showman who knew how to bring his medium into the mainstream public. Also, this was the first film to try a stereo, “surround sound” approach to the sound, as Disney wanted to blend the essences of a movie and a concert. Disney had a seperate team of animators on each short, so the styles differ from piece to piece. There is, in fact, very little connective thread among the works, but each offers itself to the art of animation in its own way: Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue in D minor”, originally written for organ and best known for its ominous opening melody, becomes in Fantasia a flowing abstract as it follows a listener’s perception and feeling of the music.

Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite” is stripped of the ballet’s story, and given over to the dancelike beauty of nature: mushrooms, falling leaves, graceful fish, flowers on the water’s surface, and the fairies gracing the world with morning dew and bringing the changing of the seasons. This is easily the most beautiful and breathtaking sequence in the film.

Dukas’ “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” is a Mickey Mouse short that began the whole endeavor. Eager to bring Mickey back to the spotlight after Donald Duck had taken over, Disney planted him in the tale of a lad who knew enough of his master’s skills to start the magic going, but not enough to stop it.

Stravinsky’s “The Rite Of Spring” was a ballet depicting a ceremony among a clan of primitive humans. Disney’s crew uses the music to illustrate the history of life on Earth, up to the extinction of the dinosaurs. A scientifically dated piece, to be sure, but arresting visuals complement Stravinsky’s innovative score.

Beethoven’s 6th Symphony, the “Pastoral Symphony”, gets set in the countryside of Ancient Greece, and the supernatural creatures that inhabited it: centaurs, winged horses, even gods like Dionysis, Zeus, and Artemis make an appearance.

Ponchielli’s “Dance of the Hours” is taken as just that: a ballet that effortlessly segues morning, afternoon, evening, and night. It is a testament of the animators’ talent that they could make dancers such as hippos, elephants, and alligators to lithe and graceful. And hilarious.

The final segment is the battle of Good and Evil, set to Moussorgsky’s “Night on Bald Mountain” and Schubert’s “Ave Maria”. The “Bald Mountain” sequence is the most powerful, disturbing, nightmarish animation ever to come from Disney’s studio; not fully scary as much as truly harrowing. The Schubert is lush, soft, and holds comfort and hope. The greatest flaw in the film is here, not in the animation, but the music: new English words were written into Schubert’s melody. But this is the sole detractor.

This is probably the greatest animated film of all time. Anyone interested in animation – or quality filmmaking – should know this one by heart.

Fantasia video release features the 1990 restored theatrical version, as part of the “Walt Disney Classics” line.


Case slightly squished. VHS itself is near mint. Tape is completely rewinded for your convenience. Full screen. Dolby Surround.