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.

 

Puddin’

The house looked empty. There wasn’t a car in the driveway. No stirring. Taggert decided it was perfect. He’d do a run inside. Steal what he could take. Then he’d be out the door. And he’d do it in no time. It was still morning and everybody on the street seemed to have taken off for work. Taggert liked that. It made housebreaking easy peasy.

Little did Taggert know he was being watched. From the basement. Her name was Puddin’ and she was the house owner’s black panther. Mostly she was tame. The family had had her since she was a pup. I mean, kitten or cub or some such thing.

Puddin’ was harmless unless you want to call scuffling in the living room harmless. The family had declawed her so she wouldn’t scratch up the furniture. Now Puddin’ loved the family. She considered herself part of the family. So when she heard the back window open she just figured it was the man of the house playing a game. Puddin’ loved games.

When the family was gone, she had the run of the house. Every room was her castle. She ran into the bedroom. She saw a man coming through the window. He didn’t look like the man of the house. He didn’t smell like the man of the house. He was much shorter. Puddin’ figured it was a friend of the owners. So she hurried over just as Taggert was stepping down on the floor. She went to hug the Taggert and lick him on the back of the neck.

Taggert turned his head and saw the large black cat opening her mouth. He thought she was going to eat him.

Now Taggert’s heart was as healthy as a horse. But when you’ve got a grown black panther hugging you and trying to lick you, your heart just won’t hold out. And Taggert’s didn’t hold out.

Several hours later Rush and Laura came home. Rush headed to the bedroom. Over by the window, he saw Puddin’ licking a man’s face, trying to wake him from his eternal sleep.

Mr. Squirrel is out and about

My, my, what a nice sunny day. I would like to repeat that. What a nice sunny day. Wish all days were this sunny and nice. Of course, rainy days are nice too. It’s those cold, cold, and I’m talking cold here, cold days of winter that aren’t so nice. That’s why we save up our nuts and other stuff and put them away for winter. So we don’t have to go outside. But a day like this. It’s really nice. Mrs. Squirrel and I got up early this morning. We looked out at the world in all its glory and we said, “It’s going to be a nice day.” And here it is. Nice.