The woman sat on a bench in the park. She worked on her journal.

Just behind and above her was a statue of a man, lauding the benefits of birding. His feet rested on her shoulders. His hands held a pair of binoculars to his eyes. Several birds rested on his bronze shoulders.

The woman glanced up. A photographer pointed his camera at her. She went back to jotting in her journal. “He’s taking my picture again. This is the third time.”

Tom was not a professional photographer. He liked snapping pictures as he roamed the city on his day off. “Why doesn’t she move out of the way so I can get a clear shot of the statue?” He moved a little to his left.

She continued her journal entry: “He must think I’d make a good model. I think so too.”

To avoid her, Tom moved around to the side of the statue. She stood up and moved back into his lens vision. He moved again. She moved too. This happened several times. Every time Tom changed his lens viewpoint, the woman changed her location. “Get the hell out of the way,” he thought. There was anger in his thoughts. Then, in resignation, he dropped the camera to his chest and walked away.

Journal entry: “I don’t want to be pushy but I just have to know. Does he plan on publishing my photograph?”

The woman went after Tom. Tom knew he was being followed, so he turned the corner and hurried into a hotel and hid behind the curtains. As she walked through the door, he noticed how interesting her face looked. Hmmm. He snapped several pictures. Then she was out the door. He rushed after her and out the hotel door. She was gone.

Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Movie: A great nature movie

Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. This week’s Spotlight movie is Walt Disney’s “Bambi” (1942):

I am not one of those who go crazy over all things Disney. Usually come to a Disney movie–and this includes the animated features–with a bit of cynicism. But I got to tell you Bambi is one of those Disney movies I really like. And I like it a lot. The colors and the animation are awesome. And that is Awesome with a capital A. And it has such a great story.

Disney has just released the seventy-fifth anniversary version of Bambi on blu-ray. The colors are wonderful and the animation absolutely brilliant. This was Disney’s fifth animated feature. Snow WhitePinocchioFantasia, and Dumbo came before. And they wouldn’t get to the high-quality animation and story again until the fifties and Cinderella. The reason may be that Disney had not turned a profit on any of the five. Animated features were financially a risky business in the thirties and forties.

I have to say I never saw this one as a child. As an adult I saw it once and then forgot about it. But not now. This one is unforgettable.

We don’t think of Bambi as a nature film. I never have. But it may be the first full-length feature film that gave nature center stage. And the damage that man came bring to a natural environment.

Walt Disney went to all kinds of efforts to make sure the forest and the animals were portrayed correctly. He sent animators to New England to study the forests there. He held classes on animal anatomy. He even brought in deer to show how to correctly portray Bambi and his family.

Watching this film made me realize how much of nature and animals Disney put into his animated features. Early on, Disney often made animals the center of his animated features and several times they were the stars of the show. Beginning with everybody’s favorite mouse. Think of The Jungle Book and Dumbo. Think of the forest animals in Snow White and in Sleeping Beauty; Jiminy Cricket in Pinocchio; the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland; Cinderella’s sidekicks, the two mice, Jaq and Gus. And what would a Disney animated film be without the animals. Often it’s the animals that steal the show. I think this is one of the reasons we love Disney’s animation.

So see the new release of Bambi. It’s worth a looksee. And yes, tears did form in my eyes with the death of Bambi’s mom.