Fantasia (1940 film)
Fantasia is a 1940 American animated film produced by Walt Disney. It consists of eight animated segments set to pieces of classical music conducted by Leopold Stokowski. Music critic and composer Deems Taylor acts as the film’s Master of Ceremonies. The soundtrack was recorded using multiple audio channels and reproduced with Fantasound, a pioneering sound system developed by Disney and RCA.
About Fantasia (1940 film) in brief
Fantasia is a 1940 American animated film produced by Walt Disney. It consists of eight animated segments set to pieces of classical music conducted by Leopold Stokowski. Music critic and composer Deems Taylor acts as the film’s Master of Ceremonies who introduces each segment in live action. The soundtrack was recorded using multiple audio channels and reproduced with Fantasound, a pioneering sound system developed by Disney and RCA. Fantasia was first released as a theatrical roadshow held in 13 cities across the U.S. between 1940 and 1941. A sequel, Fantasia 2000, co-produced by Walt’s nephew Roy E. Disney, was released in 1999. In 1998 the American Film Institute ranked it as the 58th greatest American film in their 100 Years… 100 Movies and the fifth greatest animated film in the 10 Top 10 list. When adjusted for inflation, it is the 24th highest-grossing film of all time in the United States. The Fantasia franchise has grown to include video games, Disneyland attractions, and a live concert series. The film has been reissued multiple times with its original footage and audio being deleted, modified, or restored in each version. It was selected for preservation in the US National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being ‘culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant’ in 1990. It is the third Disney animated feature film, after The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and The Silly Symphonies. The original short was based on the 1797 poem written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and set to the 1897 orchestral piece by Paul Dukas inspired by the original tale.
The short was originally an elaborate Silly Symphony cartoon designed as a comeback role for Mickey Mouse, who had declined in popularity. The concept of matching animation to classical music was used as early as 1928 in Disney’s cartoon series, the Silly symphonies, but he wanted to go beyond the usual slapstick, and produce shorts where’sheer fantasy unfolds’ The film failed to make a profit due to World War II cutting off distribution to the European market, the high production costs, and the expense of building Fantasounds equipment and leasing theatres for the roadshow presentations. It has been hailed as one of the most influential films of the 20th century, along with The Wizard of Oz and The Lord of the Rings. The movie was released on November 13, 1940, and was the last Disney animated film to be released before the release of The Aristocats in 1951. It remains one of only two films to have been released in both English and German. The other film, The Nutcracker and the Coen Brothers’ The Great Escape, was also released in 1940, but was not released in the UK until the end of the 1940s. The final Fantasia film was released later that year. The music was recorded by the Philadelphia Orchestra, seven of which are performed by the composer and conductor Stokowsk.