Immersed in Blu-ray: Sword, Robin, Oliver

Three favorites from Disney have now gone Blu and sparkle in HD: The Sword in the Stone (1963), Robin Hood (1973), and Oliver & Company (1988).

I’ve always had a soft spot for these three movies: The Sword in the Stone was probably the first new Disney release I saw as a child in a theater and found it magical and jaunty. Robin Hood was underrated (and an anthropomorphic inspiration for the upcoming Zootopia), with Brian Bedford’s heroic fox very charming and Peter Ustinov’s Prince John the lion a hoot. And Oliver & Company was hip, musical fun (with Billy Joel) very much in the Katzenberg style as a lead up to the second renaissance.

I was fascinated by Merlin in Sword (voiced by Karl Swenson, designed by Milt Kahl, and animated by Kahl, Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston, and John Lounsbery). The Sherman brothers wrote the songs and I was tickled by ”Higitus Figitus.”

In a tribute to Thomas, John Lasseter wrote, ” I watched this cartoon and ‘’ll never forget the feeling I had when Merlin turned Arthur into the squirrel. The incredible shape of that squirrel sitting in that tree has been burned into my memory. I walked out of that theater and got in the car when my mom picked me up and said, ‘I want to work for Disney.’ She was a high school art teacher for 38 years and she said, ‘That’s a great goal to have.’ She always thought that art was a noble profession. I started writing to the Disney studios and they invited me over.”

Joining the Nine Old Men on Robin Hood were Dale Baer, Don Bluth, and Burny Mattinson, among others. And Oliver made use of CG and featured a new generation of supervising animators (including Glen Keane, Ruben Aquino, Mike Gabriel, Hendel Butoy, and Mark Henn).

As far as bonus features, Sword contains an alternate opening along with two shorts, A Knight for a Day and Brave Little Tailor; Robin Hood has deleted “Love Letters” and Ye Olden Days Mickey Mouse short; and Oliver offers Oscar-winning short, Lend a Paw, and Puss Cafe, along with a making of featurette.

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Animation, Blu-ray, Clips, Home Entertainment, Movies, Music, Shorts, Tech, Trailers

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