Bambi (1942)

Directed by: Supervising director: David Hand
Sequence directors: James Algar/Samuel Armstrong/Graham Heid/Bill Roberts/Paul Satterfield/Norman Wright

Written by: Story direction: Perce Pearce
Story adaptation: Larry Morey
Story development: Vernon Stallings/Melvin Shaw/Carl Fallberg/Chuck Couch/Ralph Wright

Based on book by: Felix Salten

Another year, another animal movie. Or something.

This is actually the last non “package film” that Disney made until 1950. WWII really took a toll on the studio. Overseas sales were next to nil, but the American box office was still going strong. Originally meant to be the second feature, but story issues kept it from being finished for another few years. After Fantasia and Pinocchio not doing so hot, Disney was pretty cash-strapped at the time. The run-time of Bambi was a casualty of this. There were 12 more minutes written, but they cut it down before it was animated to cut costs.

Also, keep this in mind: the novel that it’s based on was adult and “grim.” So, of course, they had to lighten it up.

Yeah. Bambi’s mother’s death is “lightening it up.” I almost hate the read the original.

The story, if you don’t remember is about a baby deer growing up to be a grown deer. He doesn’t really know his father (I get the feeling that his father had a LOT of families), but he is somehow the prince of the forest. On his first day of life, he meets his best friends: Thumper and Flower. Then he meets Faline, his future lady.

This is about when his mother is shot. And everyone died a little inside. Then the forest fire. But, somehow, no one died in that.

Bambi is a great movie. It got some pretty awful reviews when it came out (hunters, especially, hated it), but it’s been reassessed, of course. It didn’t do well at the box office partly because of the European market, but also because people wanted fantasy. This was anything but, and the people stayed away.

Luckily, there’s no racism or sexism here. So nothing to report on a social level.

Not a lot else to report, actually. This is a movie about wild animals doing really sweet and heartbreaking things. It’s a movie that has made generations of children grow up really, really quickly. Like Old Yeller years later…eff this movie. But it’s amazing.