Hey there Sifters! I thought I would write up another movie review! I’ve been stopping by my library and taking out old often forgotten Disney movies and documentaries. Last time it was The Boys: The Sherman Brothers Story. This time it’s the Reluctant Drago. This is a movie that was made entirely to explain the behind the scenes magic of how a Disney Animated film is made at the Disney Studios. Some parts of the movie are shot in black and white and others are in color. It’s a very witty film with a grand appearance by Walt Disney himself in the end of the film. In true Disney fashion, the behind the scenes magic is told through a story. The film begins with a man and his wife, who wants him to take the story The Reluctant Dragon to the Disney Studios and pitch it as a film. He is quite doubtful that it will work but his wife makes him go anyway. Hilarity and education occur simultaneously as the gentleman attempts to hide from his studio guide who is supposed to be walking him around the studio before taking him to meet Walt.
The gentleman goes through the sound effects department, the storyboarding department, the animation department, the sculpting department the ink and paint department and more. He keep accumulating souvenirs as he evades his overly eager guide. In the end, the audience does get to see the story of The Reluctant Dragon.
It’s an amazing film that I think everyone who loves Disney movies and the behind the scenes magic should see. It’s got great bonus footage if you get the right edition and it’s fantastically entertaining as well as educational. It has all the charm of the 40s, which is when it was made and getting to see Walt on screen is always a real gem. My favorite part was getting to see how the multi-plane camera worked. I knew the basic concept but had never really seen it in action. It was nice to get to see how massive they really were.
The film is unique in that it tells two stories, the story of the man on a mission from his wife to pitch The Reluctant Dragon and the actual story of The Reluctant Dragon, which is just darling! It’s an animated short about a Dragon who wants to write sonnets instead of fight against the knights of the kingdom. The cartoon itself is in full color even though some of the live action scenes are in black and white. The live action and animated characters are charming and reflective of their time, the story is wonderful and it’s an amazing look at the making of an animated film as done by the best of the best. I definitely highly recommend tracking down a copy and watching it, it’s Disney magic at it’s finest during an era right before animation fell apart for a bit because of WWII, which gives it an interesting context.
Thanks for reading and keep Sifting Through Shelves!