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Walt Disney Legacy Collection - True Life Adventures, Vol. 4

4.8 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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(Dec 05, 2006)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Experience the wonder of Walt Disney's groundbreaking nature series for the first time on DVD! These acclaimed stories, fully restored to their original beauty, offer previously unseen looks into the magical world of our animal friends. Enjoy NATURE'S MYSTERIES, the fourth volume of Disney's award-winning TRUE-LIFE ADVENTURES. Explore some of the world's most fascinating natural phenomena in the amazing films "Secrets of Life," "Perri" and many more. It's classic Disney live-action shorts at their finest!

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In the 1950s, Disney produced a host of short nature films that were groundbreaking both for their innovative perspective, combining fantasy with real-life nature photography, and their development and reliance on huge technological advances in cameras and filmmaking. Secrets of Life and Perri, digitally restored 16-mm films retrieved from the Disney archives, are two of the first live-action shorts to offer an up-close and in-depth look at the life cycles of animals, insects, and plants.

Listen to our interview
with director emeritus
Roy E. Disney
.
The photography of Secrets of Life is stunning to this day, offering an incredible time-lapse look at flowers opening, close-up shots of honeybees pollinating flowers and reproducing within the hive, and even footage of a volcano erupting. Even more amazing is the scientific understanding gained through that photography: knowledge of the secrets of adaptation and self preservation of plants, the disparate functions of bees within a colony, and the restorative function of an erupting volcano. While Perri is based on a fictional story about a precocious young squirrel, the depiction of the life and death struggle of squirrel, marten, beaver, and a host of other critters that live in Wildwood Heart is absolutely real and faithfully photographed. Academy Award-winning Nature's Half Acre portrays the delicate balance of nature and the timeless cycle of seasons complete with birds building their nests, voracious caterpillars eating everything in sight, and a look at the carnivorous Venus Flytrap. Almost as noteworthy as the photography in all of these shorts is the carefully composed music that mirrors the onscreen actions of everything from the tapping of a woodpecker to the jerky jumps of pond frogs. A huge assortment of bonus tracks feature Roy Disney and others discussing everything from the scientist photographers involved in the sometimes yearslong filming of these nature films, to the major technological advances in photographic equipment that these films necessitated, the incredible logistics involved in filming, and a look back at the life of writer, director, and narrator Winston Hibler. Both important pieces of filmmaking history and a great selection of nature programming, the Disney True Life Adventures series DVDs come in unique collectors tins reminiscent of the stored reels of film in Disney's archives. --Tami Horiuchi

Special Features

  • Introduction by Roy Disney
  • Secrets of Life
  • Perri
  • Nature's Half Acre
  • Searching for Nature's Mysteries
  • Adventure in Wildwood Heart
  • Backstage with Roy Disney at Disney's Animal Kingdom: Butterflies
  • Tribute to Winston Hibler
  • Filmmakers' Journal
  • Collectors' corner
  • Original theatrical trailers

Product Details

  • Actors: Winston Hibler, Walt Disney, Paul Frees, Clarence Nash, Slim Pickens
  • Directors: James Algar, Paul Kenworthy, Ralph Wright
  • Writers: Winston Hibler, James Algar, Ralph Wright, Felix Salten, Ted Sears
  • Format: Color, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Unrated
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Walt Disney Video
  • DVD Release Date: December 5, 2006
  • Run Time: 146 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000I2J6RS
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #138,883 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Walt Disney Legacy Collection - True Life Adventures, Vol. 4" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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My mom has told me all her life about seeing the movie "Perri" when she was a little kid and how much that movie just blew her mind because it was a full length movie in color about nature. It was nice to finally be able to share Perri with her, and any kids (and adults) who love nature and animals will instantly connect with Perri the squirrel and her crazy adventures. I didn't get to see any of the rest of the disc, but getting to share that movie with my mom and watch her face as she watched it was worth every penny. My mom assures me that the rest of the collection is a blast.
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The material on these DVDs would get 5 stars, but I've given it 3 because of some mistakes by Disney.

To start off I want to warn everyone that there appears to have been a mistake during the production of this DVD. The last reel of 'Secrets of Life' was originally in cinemascope and some copies of this title indeed do show this in cinemascope with a message at the beginning of the movie forewarning the viewer that the film will change to widescreen near the end of the film. However some copies of this title do not have this and the footage is pan and scan. So it will probably be luck of the draw as to which one you get! Hopefully Disney will offer a disc replacement program for all of those unhappy people!

Aside from that issue this is a wonderful collection of Disney True Life Adventures. The 2 features are wonderful 'Secrets of Life' really is stunning in every way and 'Perri' being a true life fantasy based upon the novel by Felix Salten (who wrote Bambi) has a much more of a Disney film feel to it than the slighty more educational nature of the True Life Adventures.

Since the contents are already listed above I won't bother listing them again let me just say these films are truly entertaining and wonderful in every way and the bonus features are so in depth and so informative it's untrue!

One negative (aside from the fact that some people will get an incorrectly framed version of 'Secrets of Life') is that the Disneyland show 'Adventure in Wildwood Heart' is presented in black and white, yet when it is being discussed in the bonus features the clips are in color! If color footage of it survives, why was this not provided instead of the black and white version? Disney make stupid decisions!
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I know of this film only through a richly illustrated book for children, Secrets of Life, with photographs from the film by the Disney Studio. I borrowed the book several times from the library simply for its wonderful photographs of the life of bees. One sequence struck me-how bees do a 'dance' to 'tell' other bees in the hive where a good source of nectar(a field of flowers) is. According to Roy Disney the film looks better than it did when originally released. According to other reviewers the movie includes lovely time lapse photography of flowers accompanied by the classical piece, Bolero. Nature lovers, rejoice! This set also includes Perri, the life of a squirrel, which was also well received.
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The reason TLA Vol 1 and Vol 4 are out of print is because they both had issues and require replacement disks to fix the issues. Prowlers of the Everglades had two of the color channels reversed and Secrets of Life is supposed to transition to widescreen for the final reel. I'm guessing Disney must have pulled them from stores and discontinued them. I think it is unfair to charge exorbitant prices for a defective disk that requires replacement. Hopefully they will eventually be released on Blu-ray someday. If you've seen the restored Grand Canyon on the Sleeping Beauty Blu-ray, you'll know the improvement would be well worth the effort.
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These DVD sets were a long time in coming, but finally, Disney released the entire collection in 2006 under the new and all too short-lived Walt Disney Legacy Collection banner. All the cherished True-Life Adventures, the 1950's (well, '48 through '60) film series that inspired the classic Jungle Cruise theme park ride, Disney's Animal Kingdom theme park, and the new Disneynature film series, as well as all nature and wildlife documentaries that followed these classics, are presented here in four volumes, each a 2-disc DVD set that the legendary Walt Disney Treasures Collection would be proud of (and at times, perhaps even envious of). Each set is housed in a lovely window case with the discs held inside a small film canister with beautiful artwork printed on top. Some may complain about the cardboard disc placements, but they do their job, and at least it's easy to remove and return the discs to them. Also included is a standard contents insert and a "Passport" world map card highlighting the locations where filming was done, as well as some of the animal stars. But, enough about the attractive packaging. On to the contents of the Walt Disney Legacy Collection, Volume 4: Nature's Mysteries!

Contrary to the impression you might get from the art on the tin canister that houses the two discs in volume 4, this is not an undersea themed collection. In fact, if anything, I see this as a "little creatures" collection (think birds, squirrels, fish, plants, and lots of insects), volcanoes not withstanding. There are two True-Life Adventure feature films (though neither quite reaches 80 minutes) on disc one, and among many Bonus Features on disc two, there is a True-Life Adventures featurette (just over half an hour).
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