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Sleeping Beauty

   

Sleeping Beauty (1959) starring Mary Costa, Bill Shirley

Synopsis of Sleeping Beauty

Sleeping Beauty is Disney’s classic fairy tale.  The evil witch, Maleficent, is one of animation’s most spectacular villains. She sends the kingdom’s beloved Princess Aurora into an enchanted sleep. Good Fairies arm the brave Prince Phillip to defeat a fearsome fire-breathing dragon and rescue Aurora. But success in battle may not be enough. For the only way to awaken the Princess is with true love’s kiss!

Thoughts

  • It’s an unapologetic story of good vs. evil. Of true love, as well.
  • Maleficent is pure evil. Unapologetically so. She’s one of the great Disney villains, if not one of the great movie villains of all time.
  • Maleficent uses the occasion of the baby’s birth, to take offense, and lay a curse on the princess. A curse that the fairies can only bend, not break. If she had been invited — she would have found a different reason to be offended. And done the same thing.
  • The final confrontation between Prince Phillip and the dragon Maleficent is one of the best ever filmed. More than 60 years later, it’s never been surpassed. As a child, the imagery stayed with me for years.
  • The playing of the three good fairies for comedy, mixed with serious moments, is extremely well done.

Cast

  • Mary Costa … Princess Aurora
  • Bill Shirley … Prince Phillip
  • Eleanor Audley (Cinderella) … Maleficent
  • Verna Felton (Alice in Wonderland 1951) … Flora / Queen Leah
  • Barbara Luddy (Lady and the Tramp) … Merryweather
  • Barbara Jo Allen … Fauna
  • Taylor Holmes (Gentlemen Prefer Blondes) … King Stefan
  • Bill Thompson (Peter Pan) … King Hubert

Secondary Cast

  • Bob Amsberry … Maleficent’s Goon
  • Candy Candido (The Great Mouse Detective) … Maleficent’s Goon
  • Pinto Colvig (Bozo the Clown, Popeye) … Maleficent’s Goon
  • Hans Conried (Peter Pan 1953, The Hobbit 1977) … Lord Duke
  • Dal McKennon (Bedknobs and Broomsticks) … Owl / Diablo
  • Marvin Miller (Off Limits) … Narrator

Editorial review of Sleeping Beauty courtesy of Amazon.com

Don’t touch!

Fall under the glorious spell of Disney’s ultimate princess fairy tale! The magic is real as you experience all the pageantry and power on Blu-ray — and for the first time ever on Digital HD — with incredible high-definition picture and thrilling, soaring sound! Beauty, wonder and adventure spin together in a grand legend that transcends time as Maleficent, one of animation’s most spectacular villains, sends the kingdom’s beloved Princess Aurora into an enchanted sleep. In a majestic story that awakens all your senses, Good Fairies arm brave Prince Phillip to defeat a fearsome fire-breathing dragon and rescue Aurora. But success in battle may not be enough, for the only way to awaken the Princess is with true love’s kiss! Create memories that will last a lifetime with Disney’s illustrious SLEEPING BEAUTY — a must-own for every family’s classic collection!

In the original story, Princess Aurora sleeps for 100 years before being awakened by a prince’s kiss. In the Disney version, Prince Philip comes to her rescue much sooner.

George Brun’s orchestral score, which was nominated for an Academy Award-, expertly blended famous themes from Tchaikovsky’s ballet.|With a budget that exceeded $6 million in 1959, this was Walt Disney’s most lavish and expensive animated feature to date.

Determined to make the characters as realistic as possible, Disney had a live action film shot with actors posing as Sleeping Beauty, the Prince, and Maleficent, for the animators to use.

New York Times critic Bosley Crowther called the fight between Prince Philip and Maleficent “the noisiest and scariest go-round he [Disney] has ever put into one of his films.”

Songs

  • Hail to the Princess Aurora (1958) Music by George Bruns, Lyrics by Tom Adair.
  • One Gift (1958) Music by George Bruns, Lyrics by Tom Adair.
  • I Wonder (1958) Music by George Bruns, Lyrics by Winston Hibler and Ted Sears. Performed by Mary Costa
  • Once Upon a Dream (1958) Music and Lyrics by Sammy Fain and Jack Lawrence. Performed by Chorus during the opening credits and at the end, Mary Costa and Bill Shirley.
  • The Skumps Song (1958) Music by George Bruns, Lyrics by Tom Adair and Erdman Penner. Performed by Taylor Holmes and Bill Thompson
  • Sleeping Beauty (1958) Music by George Bruns, Lyrics by Tom Adair. Performed by Chorus
  • Sleeping Beauty Ballet (1890) Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (as Tchaikovsky). Source of score and song adaptations
  • Sing a Smiling Song (1958) Music by George Bruns, Lyrics by Tom Adair

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