Disney VHS: Sleeping Beauty Special Edition w/ Case Restored THX w/ Music Video


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Sleeping Beauty (Special Edition) [VHS]
Mary Costa (Actor), Bill Shirley (Actor), Clyde Geronimi (Director) Rated: G (General Audience) Format: VHS Tape

Disney’s 1959 animated effort was the studio’s most ambitious to date, a widescreen spectacle boasting a gorgeous waltz-filled score adapting Tchaikovsky. In the 14th century, the malevolent Maleficent (not dissimilar to the wicked Queen in Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs) taunts a king that his infant Aurora will fatally prick her finger on a spinning wheel before sundown on her 16th birthday. This, of course, would deny her a happily-ever-after with her true love. Things almost but not quite turn out that way, thanks to the assistance of some bubbly, bumbling fairies named Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather. It’s not really all that much about the title character–how interesting can someone in the middle of a long nap be, anyway? Instead, those fairies carry the day, as well as, of course, good Prince Phillip, whose battle with the malevolent Maleficent in the guise of a dragon has been co-opted by any number of animated films since. See it in its original glory here. And Malificent’s castle, filled with warthogs and demonic imps in a macabre dance celebrating their evil ways, manages a certain creepy grandeur.

Actors: Mary Costa, Bill Shirley, Eleanor Audley, Verna Felton, Barbara Luddy
Directors: Clyde Geronimi
Writers: Bill Peet, Charles Perrault, Erdman Penner, Joe Rinaldi, Milt Banta
Format: Animated, Closed-captioned, Color, Special Edition, Digital Video Transfer, THX, Restored, Full Screen, NTSC
Language: English
Rated: G
Studio: American Broadcasting Company (ABC)
Run Time: 75 minutes

On the tape:
The Lion King: Special Edition Preview
Brother Bear Preview
Finding Nemo Preview
The Santa Clause 2 Preview
Disney Princesses Commercial
Music video by the hip pop group No Secrets

The entire movie is worth watching just to see the choreographing in the fight scene at the end. It is the most spectacular animation with music I’ve ever seen. I had a copy of it for years and actually wore out the tape. I bought another and still enjoy that scene.

The classic story of “Sleeping Beauty” was ALMOST never better-produced (I still think the “Faerie Tale Theatre” version is best, sadly not produced anymore) The animation is unusual for a Disney production–it adds length and the appearance of fitness to the bodies of the humans, while making the fairies… rotund? But the animation, rather than making the characters look like the Barbie-and-Ken bodies of “Pocahontas” makes them look beautiful and noble. In addition, the scenery in the movie is breathtaking–the interior of the castle, the fields in which Maleficent and the prince do battle, and the forest where Aurora first meets Philip.

A baby princess is born to a kindly king and queen, who invite hundreds to the celebration–including three fairies to bestow blessings on the baby. But the evil witch Maleficent shows up as well–and curses baby Aurora with death on her sixteenth birthday. But the third fairy is able to soften the curse into sleep until a kiss wakens her.

And for added safety, the fairies take Aurora, under the name “Briar Rose” out to the forest to raise her. All goes smoothly until she falls in love with a young man in the forest, but is told that she is betrothed to Prince Philip. Guess who the young man is. As her sixteenth birthday approaches, the fairies bring Briar Rose back to the castle–only to discover that they’re delivering her straight into Maleficent’s grasp.

Maleficent still holds the record for best Disney villain–we don’t need any explanation for her evil works, except that she’s pure evil! In case the horns on her cap didn’t tip you off! Her acts of evil towards the king and queen, Aurora and Philip would be acceptable in an adult movie. That’s how amazing she is as a villainess, rather than the blustering morons that Disney has had recently. She’s not obvious–and watch out for her casual jaunts through her ghastly castle!

Aurora was a big improvement on “Snow White”–the only reason she doesn’t decide her own destiny is because she’s royal. And Philip is the perfect match for her–I was in love with him when I was a kid. He’s strong, masculine, funny, and adventurous, and the final battle with Maleficent is breathtaking in its dark violence.

The music is amazing: the beautiful “Once Upon a Dream” is a unique song, one that I still remember even though it’s been five years since I last watched the video.

And thankfully, the humor is still sophisticated. Nowhere are the screaming gross-out antics of Timon and Pumbaa. One of the sweetest scenes in the movie is when the three fairies get into a massive, impressive fight over cakes and dresses for Aurora’s birthday, one that lasts until the end. A beautiful, dark, bright movie that adds pizzazz to an old favorite, this movie is a must-see for any kids who ever dreamed a fairy tale.


Case slightly squished. VHS itself is near mint. Tape is completely rewinded for your convenience. Full screen. Dolby Surround. THX. Fully restored and remastered. Includes a music video by the hip pop group No Secrets.