The Adventures Of Ichabod And Mr. Toad (1949)

Directed by: Jack Kinney/Clyde Geronimi/James Algar

Written by: Erdman Penner/Winston Hibler/Joe Rinaldi/Ted Sears/Homer Brightman/Harry Reeves

Based on stories by: Kenneth Grahame (The Wind In The Willows)/Washington Irving (The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow

This is (finally) the LAST of the first run of package films for Disney. They wouldn’t do this again until 1977.

Also, I guess the title sounded better this way because Mr Toad actually comes first.

The Wind In The Willows: This is definitely the lesser of the two stories in this film. It’s based on the novel by Kenneth Grahame and centers around Mr Toad and his constant need for speed. Toad is so addicted to adventure that he’s basically bankrupt. Angus MacBadger volunteers to be his bookkeeper to try to get him to keep his financial affairs in order. Instead, he ends up bartering his home (Toad Hall) for a newfangled motor car, which had been stolen by a bunch of weasels. He ends up being falsely accused of stealing the car and sentenced to 20 years in the Tower Of London.

On Christmas, he’s broken out of prison by his friend/horse, Cyril. They find out that the bartender who put Toad in prison is actually the leader of the weasel gang. They find a way to prove Toad’s innocence and Toad falls in love with airplanes.

It’s a charming enough film, but it’s ultimately kind of forgettable. Basil Rathbone narrates and, of course, he’s great.

Ichabod Crane (aka The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow): This one is still shown all over the place on Halloween. We all know this story, so I won’t bother doing a synopsis.

One thing that I didn’t remember was how much of a douche Ichabod is. He’s egotistical, pretentious and he uses women. He gets the drop on Brom Bones, but Brom actually seems like an ok guy. I guess it’s only fair, though, since Katrina is really just using Ichabod to make Brom jealous.

This is a great short. Bing Crosby narrates with his usual cool, suave delivery. And, while not nearly as terrifying as the early Disney films, it still uses horror to good effect.

Overall, this isn’t the best of Disney’s movies. It’s not even the best of the package films of the 40s. But it’s charming and worth a look.