Various Authors noon, Feb. 16
Animated Valentine: Disney's Sleeping Beauty
Before the three wise fairies finish bestowing their gifts on the infant Princess Aurora (Mary Costa), Maleficent (Eleanor Audley) appears from out an antifreeze-colored mist with a prophecy of her own, regarding the precise moment and manner of the Princess’ death — right down to the murder weapon. (Audley’s performance will leave audiences asking, “Angelina who?”) Given the short amount of screen time the titular character is allotted, they might have done just as well naming the picture after its true leads: The Three Good Fairies. (But what kind of fairy yentas dedicate 16 years of their lives to looking after a princess, only to drop the ball on the day she’s scheduled to check out?) This was the last Disney feature to have cels inked by hand, and per custom, Walt had final approval on every scrap of paper and drop of ink that went into making the picture. (Why else was Chuck Jones turned off by the brief time he spent working on Sleeping Beauty?) Clyde Geronimi was assigned director’s credit, but for the first time in the studio’s history, one man was tasked with giving a film its overall look. Credit Eyvind Earle, the artist whose stylized tincture of medieval painting and architecture, coupled with art deco styling (and pointy-tailed horses), gifted the studio with arguably the last masterpiece made on Uncle Walt’s watch. The studio’s second film shot in widescreen, this was also its first to be released in Super Technirama 70. Unlike its wide-gauge counterpart, 70mm prints were not afforded the dye-transfer treatment. Having seen it both ways, I’ll take 35mm Technicolor over 70mm Eastman any day. (Who am I kidding? There’s no chance the studio will sanction a theatrical re-release of any of its classics in any format.) — Scott Marks
- When: Thursday, February 13, 2020, 3:30 p.m.