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4.0 7
Director: James Algar, Samuel Armstrong, Ford I. Beebe

Cast: Walt Disney


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Fantasia, Walt Disney's animated masterpiece of the 1940s, grew from a short-subject cartoon picturization of the Paul Dukas musical piece "The Sorcerer's Apprentice." Mickey Mouse was starred in this eight-minute effort, while the orchestra was under the direction of Leopold Stokowski. Disney and Stokowski eventually decided that the notion of marrying


Fantasia, Walt Disney's animated masterpiece of the 1940s, grew from a short-subject cartoon picturization of the Paul Dukas musical piece "The Sorcerer's Apprentice." Mickey Mouse was starred in this eight-minute effort, while the orchestra was under the direction of Leopold Stokowski. Disney and Stokowski eventually decided that the notion of marrying classical music with animation was too good to confine to a mere short subject; thus the notion was expanded into a two-hour feature, incorporating seven musical selections and a bridging narration by music critic Deems Taylor. The first piece, Bach's "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor," was used to underscore a series of abstract images. The next selection, Tschiakovsky's "Nutcracker Suite," is performed by dancing wood-sprites, mushrooms, flowers, goldfish, thistles, milkweeds and frost fairies. The Mickey Mouse version of "Sorcerer's Apprentice" is next, followed by Stravinsky's "Rite of Spring," which serves as leitmotif for the story of the creation of the world, replete with dinosaurs and volcanoes. After a brief jam session involving the live-action musicians comes Beethoven's "Pastorale Symphony," enacted against a Greek-mythology tapestry by centaurs, unicorns, cupids and a besotted Bacchus. Ponchielli's "Dance of the Hours" is performed by a Corps de Ballet consisting of hippos, ostriches and alligators. The program comes to a conclusion with a fearsome visualization of Mussorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain," dominated by the black god Tchernobog (referred to in the pencil tests as "Yensid," which is guess-what spelled backwards); this study of the "sacred and profane" segues into a reverent rendition of Schubert's "Ave Maria." Originally, Debussy's "Clair de Lune" was part of the film, but was cut from the final release print; also cut, due to budgetary considerations, was Disney's intention of issuing an annual "update" of Fantasia with new musical highlights and animated sequences. A box-office disappointment upon its first release (due partly to Disney's notion of releasing the film in an early stereophonic-sound process which few theatres could accommodate), Fantasia eventually recouped its cost in its many reissues. For one of the return engagements, the film was retitled Fantasia Will Amaze-ya, while the 1963 reissue saw the film "squashed" to conform with the Cinemascope aspect ratio. Other re-releases pruned the picture from 120 to 88 minutes, and in 1983, Disney redistributed the film with newly orchestrated music and Tim Matheson replacing Deems Taylor as narrator. Once and for all, a restored Fantasia was made available to filmgoers in 1990. A sequel, Fantasia 2000, was released in theaters in 1999.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Donald Liebenson
It is titles like Fantasia that make the DVD player seem essential. Unavailable for purchase on VHS for nearly a decade, one of Walt Disney's most magnificent achievements is back, and grander than ever, in this DVD-only Special 60th Anniversary Edition. For the first time on any home video format, Walt Disney's "grand experiment" -- combining animation with classical music -- is presented in its original 1940 Roadshow edition, complete with intermission and narration, which viewers have not seen since that original theatrical release. Incredibly, like It's a Wonderful Life, Fantasia was not fully appreciated at the time of its release, but with such hallucinatory sequences as "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," "The Dance of the Hours" with the tutu-clad hippos and "The Nutcracker Suite" with the dancing vegetables, it's no wonder it was embraced in the 1960s and '70s by college kids looking for the ultimate cinematic trip. This DVD is loaded with state-of-the-art supplemental features including archival interviews with Walt Disney and a segment about the making of this groundbreaking masterpiece.
All Movie Guide
Among other things, Walt Disney was a man who was good at letting things spiral out of control -- usually to the enjoyment of the public for generations to come. In this case, it was a "Silly Symphony" featuring Mickey Mouse as the title character in Paul Dukas' "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" which eventually blossomed into Fantasia -- Disney's longest animated feature, which went from being a box-office bomb when it was released in 1940 to a widely recognized masterpiece decades later. It's not hard to see why; despite stunning, powerful animation that is unparalleled to this day, audiences in 1940 didn't know what to make of a feature cartoon with prancing centaurs, pirouetting nymphs, tutu'd hippos, and no story or narration. It wasn't until the psychedelic '60s that Fantasia began ascend to its current status, and the rise of increasingly thorough animation historical studies didn't hurt either. After decades of various alterations (including an ignominious shortened version, rescored sound, and new narration), a restored, nearly intact print of the original Fantasia was re-released in 1990 to critical and popular acclaim. Disney's original plan was to periodically re-release the movie, gradually replacing old segments with new music and animation, but its initial failure kept that dream from becoming reality. Work began on just such a sequel shortly after the 1990 restoration, which was eventually released in late 1999 as Fantasia 2000.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Walt Disney Video

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Walt Disney Mickey Mouse
Leopold Stokowski Himself
Deems Taylor Himself
Philadelphia Orchestra Orchestra
Bela Lugosi Model for Tchernabog

Technical Credits
James Algar Director
Samuel Armstrong Director
Ford I. Beebe Director
Walt Disney Director,Producer
Jim Handley Director
Albert Heath Director,Screenwriter
T. Hee Director
Graham Heid Director,Screenwriter
Wilfred Jackson Director
Hamilton Luske Director
Bianca Majolie Director,Screenwriter
Sylvia Moberly-Holland Director,Screenwriter
Bill Roberts Director
Paul Satterfield Director
Ben Sharpsteen Director
Norman Wright Director,Screenwriter
Edwin Aardal Animator
Arthur Babbitt Animator
Lee Blair Screenwriter
Preston Blair Animator
James Bodrero Consultant/advisor
John Bradbury Animator
Paul Busch Animator
Bruce Bushman Art Director
Arthur Byram Art Director
Robert W. Carlson Animator
Clark Animator
Tom Codrick Art Director
Robert Cormack Art Director
Ugo D'Orsi Animator
Phil Dike Screenwriter
Harold Doughty Art Director
Philip Duncan Animator
Art Elliott Animator
John Elliotte Animator
Jules Engel Choreography
Otto Englander Screenwriter
Carl Faliberg Screenwriter
Norman Ferguson Animator,Screenwriter
Hugh Fraser Animator
Yale Gracey Art Director
Campbell Grant Screenwriter
Joe Grant Screenwriter
Franklin Grundeen Animator
Harry Hamsel Animator
Arthur Heinemann Screenwriter
Hugh Hennessy Art Director
John Hubley Art Director
Earl Hurd Consultant/advisor
Jack Campbell Animator
Bill Justice Animator
Lynn Karp Animator
Walt Kelly Animator
Dick Kelsey Art Director
Ken Anderson Art Director
Ward Kimball Animator
Paul B. Kossoff Animator
Ethel Kulsar Consultant/advisor
Eric Larson Animator
J. Gordon Legg Art Director
Hicks Lokey Animator
John Lounsbery Animator
Ed Love Animator
Don Lusk Animator
Daniel MacManus Animator
William Martin Screenwriter
John Fraser McLeish Screenwriter
Murray McLennan Animator
John McManus Animator
Joshua Meador Animator
John P. Miller Consultant/advisor
Fred Moore Animator
James Moore Animator
Milt Neil Animator
Kay Nielsen Art Director
Lance Nolley Art Director
Ernest Nordli Art Director
Lester Novros Animator
Kendall O'Connor Art Director
Art Palmer Animator
Gail Papineau Special Effects
Don Patterson Animator
Ray Patterson Animator
Perce Pearce Screenwriter
Bill Peet Screenwriter
Erdman Penner Screenwriter
Curtiss D. Perkins Art Director
Charles Philippi Art Director
Leonard Pickley Special Effects
Edward Plumb Musical Direction/Supervision
Elmer Plummer Consultant/advisor,Screenwriter
Martin Provensen Consultant/advisor
Thor Putnam Art Director
Charles Rayzant Art Director
John F. Reed Animator
Wolfgang Reitherman Animator
George Rowley Animator
Duke Russell Consultant/advisor
Herbert Ryman Art Director
Joseph Sabo Screenwriter
Zack Schwartz Art Director
William N. Shull Animator
Grant Simmons Animator
Webb Smith Screenwriter
Lorna S. Soderstrom Consultant/advisor
George Stallings Original Story
Terrell Stapp Art Director
Robert Sterner Screenwriter
Art Stevens Animator
McLaren Stewart Art Director
Robert Stokes Animator
Leopold Stokowski Musical Direction/Supervision
Howard Swift Animator
Norman Tate Animator
Leo Thiele Screenwriter
Riley Thompson Animator
Don Tobin Animator
Harvey Toombs Animator
Don Towsley Animator
Vladimir Tytla Animator
John Walbridge Consultant/advisor
Berny Wolf Animator
Cornett Wood Animator
Marvin Woodward Animator
Cy Young Animator
Robert W. Youngquist Animator
Al Zinnen Art Director


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Fantasia 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
TonTon More than 1 year ago
This is a classic of cinematic and animation historical importance. It is beautiful and fun. From Mickey "borrowing" the sorcerer's hat to the demon in the mountain, every single piece is iconic. If you've been to DisneyWorld's Hollywood Studios, you've see Fantasmic! and will recognize the characters from this movie. My personal favorite is the seeds turning to fairies and fairies ice skating to illustrate the seasons. Even if you hate classic music, you'll love the imagery and the seamless way the conductors and animators brought them together.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Since I am a big music lover, I decided to checck out this movie. I was extremely satisfying. My favorite song is Night on Bald Mountain. Walt Disney did a great job in asembling this movie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Why it this the number one Bela Lugosi look up????????????????????
Guest More than 1 year ago
Why isn't Deems Taylor's voice on the DVD? I don't get it. His voice was on the Laserdisc, and on the theatrical prints I saw in 1963 and 1972. The New Voice is considerably different, and Taylor's inflections were much more interesting and charming. I would be interested if anyone has inside knowledge on the reason for this unfortunate decision.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago