Sleeping Beauty

I watched “Sleeping Beauty,” the Disney animated film from 1959. I thought the Blu-ray edition looked impressed. I liked that artwork with its unusual images and dark quality. In the middle of it were familiar figures like a prince and princess. Maleficent was one of the great characters in Disney films. The story turns on women arguing with each other and being careless, and all because they didn’t have the skills to clean the house, make a dress, and bake a cake. It’s hard to believe that anyone would be foolish enough to not break the eggs in making a cake. There was something disturbing in putting the entire kingdom to sleep to cover up the bad news. I thought of the planes spraying knockout gas in “Goldfinger.” Artistically, everything in this movie is leading up to the last sequence with Prince Phillip heading for the tower and battling Maleficent as a dragon. It would have been more heroic if he didn’t have magical help, but then the women who brought on the trouble had to make up for their stupidity. The last three minutes are anticlimactic. The running time is only 75 minutes, and I’m glad that the picture got right to the point. I thought that this was a strong film. It had some elements that we saw in the darker segments of “Fantasia.” It was also expensive, and ticket sales couldn’t offset the cost. Walt Disney would have to change the way he made animated films after this. Charlie Chaplin found that he couldn’t take his time with filming anymore in his late years because of the great cost. I think of “Sleeping Beauty” as a marker of the end of a great period in animation for Walt Disney. According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for April 15, “Witness to Murder,” starring Barbara Stanwyck and George Sanders, was released in 1954. In 1972, Roberta Flack’s “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” was the Number One single. In 1990, “In Living Color” debuted on the Fox network.

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