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 White, Pinocchio, Fantasia, 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.