‘The Sword In the Stone’ & ‘Robin Hood’

Wolfgang Reitherman (1909–1985) was an animator, producer, and director.  He graduated from the Chouinard Art Institute in 1933.  Reitherman began working for Disney the following year.  He worked as an animator on a variety of projects, including Snow White and the Seven DwarfsFantasia, Dumbo, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow section in The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, Alice In Wonderland, and Peter Pan.  In 1961, he made feature directorial debut with 101 Dalmatians.  In this latest installment of Animation Corner, I’ll be looking back at his follow-up feature, The Sword In the Stone (now celebrating its 50th anniversary), as well as Robin Hood (now celebrating its 40th anniversary).

Directed by Reitherman, 1963’s The Sword in the Stone centers on Merlin the Magician in Middle Ages-era England and his efforts to teach a young boy named Wart, who is destined to remove the sword Excalibur from its stone and become King Arthur.  Featuring the voices of Karl Swenson, Martha Wentworth, Junius Matthews, Sebastian Cabot, Norman Alden, Alan Napier, Rickie Sorenson, Richard Reitherman, & Robert Reitherman, this critically acclaimed film grossed $34 million domestically (from its initial theatrical release, as well as its 1972 and 1983 re-releases).  It was based on the 1938 novel of the same name by T.H. White, and it was also the last Disney animated film to be released before Walt Disney’s death.  It also marked the first Disney feature that Richard and Robert Sherman contributed songs to.  Among the film’s accolades are an Academy Award nomination for Best Music, Scoring of Music, Adaptation or Treatment for George Bruns’ terrific score.

(Unfortunately, there were no usable trailers to place here)

Directed by Reitherman, 1973’s Robin Hood centers on an outlaw fox who steals from the rich and gives to the poor during Crusades-era England while File:Robinhood 1973 poster.pngcontinually thwarting the plans of Prince John and the Sheriff of Nottingham.  Featuring the voices of Brian Bedford, Monica Evans, Phil Harris, Roger Miller, Andy Devine, Peter Ustinov, Terry-Thomas, Carole Shelley, and Pat Buttram, this critically acclaimed film grossed $32 million domestically on a $15 million budget.  It was based on the Robin Hood legend, but was initially going to be about Reynard the Fox (from the famous European fable).  Walt Disney felt that Reynard was an unsuitable choice for a hero, so many elements from it were used for Robin Hood (particularly the animal counterparts- Robin being a fox and the Sheriff of Nottingham being a wolf).  It is notable that some footage from previous Disney films were referenced for this film (one example being the dance sequence, which was traced from sequences that were originally made for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, The Jungle Book, and The Aristocats).  George Bruns also scored this film, and the film’s songs were provided by Roger Miller, Johnny Mercer, and Floyd Huddleston.  Among the film’s accolades is an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song.

(Unfortunately, there were no usable trailers to place here)

One response to “‘The Sword In the Stone’ & ‘Robin Hood’

  1. I love the whole scene in The Sword in the Stone with Madam Mim. Because of that scene alone, I wish they would turn the movie into a Broadway show, because I’d love to see that on the stage (also because I’m curious to see how they would handle the shapeshifting)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s