- A commentary by Walt Disney (created from rare archival interviews with Walt Disney, spanning three decades)
- A commentary by Roy E. Disney, maestro James Levine and John Canemaker, animation historian
- "The Making of Walt Disney's 'Fantasia'" featurette
60th Anniversary Edition, Special 60th Anniversary Edition
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Groundbreaking on several counts, not the least of which was an innovative use of animation and stereophonic sound, this ambitious Disney feature has lost nothing to time since its release in 1940. Classical music was interpreted by Disney animators, r
Groundbreaking on several counts, not the least of which was an innovative use of animation and stereophonic sound, this ambitious Disney feature has lost nothing to time since its release in 1940. Classical music was interpreted by Disney animators, resulting in surreal fantasy and playful escapism. Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra provided the music for eight segments by the composers Tchaikovsky, Moussorgsky, Stravinsky, Beethoven, Ponchielli, Bach, Dukas, and Schubert. Not all the sequences were created equally, but a few are simply glorious, such as "Night on Bald Mountain," "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," and "The Nutcracker Suite." The animation ranges from subtly delicate to fiercely bold. The screen bursts with color and action as creatures transmute and convention is thrust aside. The painstaking detail and saturated hues are unique to this film, unmatched even by more advanced technology. --Rochelle O'Gorman
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When I first saw it in the 1950's, it was mind-blowing. To this day, I cannot listen to the Pastoral Symphony without the images of the mythology going through my mind. While science and technology have overrun some of the visions of Disney's artists, the "Rite of Spring" still reminds us of "earlier times". And who can forget Mickey and the Sorcerer's Apprentice (eternally wonderful).
For those who enjoy the second Fastasia, the first (original) Fantasia is better yet. A definite keeper.
Disney originally called it 'The Concert Film', which shows what the intent was. To let audiences experience the beauty and majesty of great music by giving them a new way to perceive it. Visually. Fantasia is a visual concert of eight pieces of music, in order, 'Toccata and Fugue in D Minor' by Johann Sebastian Bach, 'The Nutcracker Suite' by Tchaikovsky, 'The Sorcerer's Apprentice' by Paul Dukas, 'The Rite of Spring' by Igor Stravinsky, 'The Pastoral Symphony' by Beethoven, 'Dance of the Hours' by Ponchielli, 'Night on Bald Mountain' by Moussorgsky, and 'Ave Maria' by Franz Schubert.
The score is performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Leopold Stokowski; the segments are introduced by host Deems Taylor. Taylor gives a brief background on each piece, and explains a bit of what the artists were trying to do with it, interpret a definite story inherent in the music or allow their imaginations free range to fantasize.
In creating Fantasia, Disney allowed his artists a much greater range of freedom than normal. It was usual at the time for an animation studio to have a set of 'ground rules' in place regarding things such as the permissible color palettes in use. For Fantasia, the limits were removed and the artists were encouraged to experiment and get creative. Supposedly, one animator used jelly from his sandwich to get just the right color.
The film starts perhaps a bit slowly, with Toccata and Fugue given a more timid and less imaginative rendering than it deserves, but the rest of the film, from Nutcracker to Ave Maria, will take your breath away, climaxing with a near-terrifying version of Walpurgisnacht in 'Night on Bald Mountain', segueing into a calming return to the world of sanity and daylight with 'Ave Maria'.
If you've never seen Fantasia, give yourself a treat. Pick this up and watch it some evening. Turn out the lights, stifle all interruptions, and immerse yourself in beautiful, glorious music and artwork.
Some of the scenes were like Mickey on an acid trip and this movie was clearly targeted at an adult audience more so than say a "Snow White" was clearly targeted at kids. I thoroughly enjoyed these classical music MTVs except for Bach's "Toccata and Fugue In D Minor" which was arranged for orchestra by Stokowski instead of in the original solo pipe organ arrangement which would have been better and the "Meet the Soundtrack" segment both of which should have been left off and would not have been missed.
The rest of the videos though were excellent and I found myself better appreciating the original compositions when listened together with the brilliant animation that although is almost 70 years old now still looks very impressive to me although I'm sure the brilliant digital restoration had a large part to play in it as well. My favourite was the Beethoven 6th Symphony video with Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring" coming in a close second. Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker Suite" video was charming too and Ponchielli's "Dance of the Hours" was just hilarious! The "Night On Bald Mountain" video was chilling and would give any death metal video ala the band Death a good run for its money in terms of scare value too.
What I really liked the best about this DVD though is the brilliant sound quality with Dolby Digital, DTS Surround Sound in 5.0 channels with THX quality which makes it better for me to listen to the classical music tracks off the DVD than off my cds on my high end stereo! The picture quality has been restored very well too and so the minor imperfections were few and far between and you really had to look real hard to find them.
The special features were a real treat too with the featurette "The Making of Fantasia" the standout item there. Great picture and sound quality and brilliant content make this my best and favourite music video DVD and to think this was decades before MTV and much, much better too.