“Love Comes To The Forest Folk . . . and to you, in one of the world’s greatest love stories !”
Director: James Algar, Sam Armstrong, David D. Hand, Graham Heid, Bill Roberts, Paul Satterfield, Norman Wright
Cast: Hardie Albright, Stan Alexander, Bobette Audrey
Synopsis: The story of a young deer growing up in the forest after his mother is shot by hunters.
Disney’s Bambi is a darker movie than many realise: a sober examination of the cycle of life, of the key moments common to almost everybody – childhood, first love, grief, etc – couched in the typically over-cute animation that was Disney’s style since the early Silly Symphony cartoons. It’s a bit light on plot, but then a movie which chronicles the life stages of a creature of nature can only really contain a minimal number of incidents if it is to retain credibility. Bambi is born, he learns to walk and to talk, he develops relationships which mature as he does. There isn’t much comic relief, even though the character of Thumper was specifically created to provide the same, and it’s difficult to understand why the movie Bambi would appeal to children. Nevertheless, it enjoys a solid reputation and there is much to admire. The multi-plane animation in the opening forest scenes are beautiful, and the moment in which the last two remaining leaves on a tree tremble in a storm before finally releasing their tenuous grip is truly sublime Disney originally intended the leaves to talk to one another before dying, but decided against it. He made the right decision, but if you get the chance, look up the chapter from the Felix Salten novel on which the film is based, firstly to appreciate the quality of Salten’s writing, but also to admire how Disney managed to capture the heart-breaking poignancy of those words in that 10-second sequence.
(Reviewed 24th April)