Fantasia (1940)

on November 13, 1940 by BOXOFFICE Staff
Classic Reviews "Fantasia" defies all precedent. Whether the forerunner of a new entertainment format or not is something for time -- and the fate of "Fantasia" itself -- to determine. Actually, this innovation is a concert on film. Its eight selections are reproduced through four distinct sound channels which place passages, chords and effects in different parts of the screen and theatre. Those selections, ranging from Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D Minor and Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony to Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite and Dukas' Sorcerer's Apprentice, are visually interpreted by Disney and his artists in terms of alternately beautiful and whimsical cartoons and thunderous and frightening moods which, in fact, make "Fantasia," as it stands, unsuitable for children. The whole, however is done in magnificent color, in brilliant imagination and in lasting recognition of Disney's enormous talents. Will the film public take it? No one knows beyond reminding it has not gone for fine music thus far.

There is great novelty value in "Fantasia." It is the first full-length effort to interpret classical music in terms of popular appeal through cartoon and abstract treatment. It carries the distinction of the Disney sponsorship, the music of the Philadelphia Orchestra under Leopold Stokowski and the music commentary of the well-known Deems Taylor. Its color photography is magnificent; its imprint of Disney mannerisms sharply defined. Out of this combination, and with special emphasis on the truth of the statement that "Fantasia" is fresh and entirely new, a campaign could be built whenever the picture goes into general distribution. This, however, is considerably in the future and through a releasing agency not yet determined.

Disney and Stokowski Screen Art and Music Art Combine... You've Seen Nothing Like It. Walt Disney 135 mins.

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