Fun and Fancy Free
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FUN AND FANCY FREE, Walt Disney's 9th full-length animated masterpiece, is a delightful gem that not only sparkles with charm, but is unbelievably rich in history-making Disney moments. It was the last animated feature starring Walt Disney as the voice of Mickey Mouse, and the only film featuring all four of Walt Disney's most famous characters -- Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, and Jiminy Cricket. Following Disney's classic tradition of great storytelling, unforgettable characters, music, and adventure, FUN AND FANCY FREE is the joyful telling of BONGO and MICKEY & THE BEANSTALK, two timeless tales magically brought to life by the beloved Jiminy Cricket and the masterful combination of animation and live action. And now, in celebration of its 50th anniversary, FUN AND FANCY FREE has been beautifully restored so a whole new generation can experience the magic of Walt Disney's original theatrical vision -- for the very first time! One of Disney's happiest films ever, FUN AND FANCY FREE makes a valuable addition to your Disney video collection.|This film marked the debut of actor Jim Macdonald as the voice of Mickey Mouse -- Walt was too busy to do it himself.|Jiminy's opening song, "I'm A Happy Go Lucky Fellow" was originally written for PINOCCHIO.|It's the only film featuring all four of Walt Disney's most famous characters -- Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, and Jiminy Cricket.|Cliff Edwards, the voice of Jiminy Cricket, played a soldier in GONE WITH THE WIND -- he appears in a hospital scene with Olivia DeHaviland (Melanie Wilkes).
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It was on this day, 70 years ago in 1947, that this film was theatrically released on the big-screen. The film consists of a couple of stories: "Bongo" and "Mickey And The Beanstalk", with some live-action segments in-between the both of them.
The film is one of a bunch of what is called "package films" that Walt Disney and his team made during the 1940s due to the outbreak of the Second World War and the Army taking control on Walt's company. After the war ended, Walt Disney and his team had lost a lot of money, so they chose to make some more package films so as to rebuild their status and reputation. Additionally, they would also bring in well-known celebrities from those early decades (the 1930s and the 1940s) to host the segments in their package films. For "Fun And Fancy Free", they brought in singer Dinah Shore to narrate the story of "Bongo" and ventriloquist Edger Bergen and child actress Luana Patten to narrate the story of "Mickey And The Beanstalk". Even Jiminy Cricket, the popular supporting character from "Pinocchio" (1940) is featured in this film.
Nowadays, I find it to be one of Disney's most underrated movies. The reason why is because it's not really talked about very much nowadays, possibly because those who watch it for the first time feel like nothing much stands out since it's not really a full-length story. One example could be the live-action segments that take place in the second half of the movie, which consists of ventriloquist Edger Bergen hosting child actress Luana Patten (one of those child actresses from the 1930s and the 1940s who featured in some of Walt Disney's future live-action movies in the 1950s)'s birthday party. As a kid, I was never bothered by the live-action segments. I honestly find it to be a rather smooth transition to the next segment, thus helping me feel that they both belonged in the same movie, but I can see now that they do feel a bit out of place for today's moviegoers. Seeing how today's society is, its likely that some people will find something kind of odd about this little arrangement, but, for me, I believe that it's possible that he's a friend of her family and he's probably watching her while her parents are away.
What makes "Fun And Fancy Free" one of my favorite Disney movies as well as a personal favorite of mine is that this film marked the very last time that Walt Disney himself would regularly provide the voice of Mickey Mouse, since Walt had become far too busy with other projects and, because he was a heavy smoker, his vocal chords had become weakened, so he had James *Jimmy* MacDonald take over providing the voice of Mickey Mouse.
While it may not be one of Disney's greatest, ambitious, or artfully impressive works, "Fun And Fancy Free" is a well-made package film that has it's moments and it's a wonderful opportunity to see Mickey Mouse and his friends together. While it may not be a full-length story, we can still enjoy it for what it is and what it has to offer; especially since it's the only package film featuring the world's one and only beloved little mouse who started the path for Disney to become one of the world's greatest movie empires of all-time.
The live-action scenes look pretty dated and might come across as "odd" to the younger set. Nonetheless, these scenes are a part of the whole show and give you that old, wonderful Disney feel.
Overall this is a great and timeless Disney classic featuring terrific animation and wonderful story-telling with everyone's favorite Disney chartacters. Recommended.