Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


SLEEPING BEAUTY (1959). Director: Clyde Geronimi. Walt Disney Studios.

In the 14th century the evil witch Maleficent (expertly voiced by Eleanor Audley) puts a spell on the baby princess Aurora that will have her prick her finger and die before her 16th birthday. Luckily some good fairies are able to alter the spell so that she will only go into a deep sleep, to be awakened by the kiss of a prince. Sleeping Beauty is not without its pleasures, but it isn't in the league of such Disney masterpieces as One Hundred and One Dalmatians and The Princess and the Frog. While the film's animation is fluid, the drawings are disappointing, although the movie comes alive in an exciting, well-directed climax where Prince Phillip hacks his way through a forest of thorns created by Maleficent, and then battles the woman herself after she transforms herself into a fire-breathing dragon. The lilting theme song is taken from the "Sleeping Beauty" ballet by Tchaikovsky. This movie may be made for children, but the all-important kissing scene seems to be over in two seconds flat!

Verdict: The definitive version of this fairy tale is yet to be made. **1/2.

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