I still have old VHS copies of Disney films that I could never part with in a box in my family’s house. Oddly enough one of my most treasured ones is an old recorded-from-TV double feature of Robin Hood and The Sword in the Stone, recorded around Christmas 1992 on ITV, complete with all the delightfully dated adverts in between (including Robbie Coltrane playing a character called Billy who craftily fools a friend of his into washing the dishes for him). I have incredibly fond memories of watching Disney films growing up, complete with all the trailers and those Sing-Along-Songs videos. The ones that I did not own I definitely borrowed from friends or from the video shop. These are only partially animated, but live-action films, Mary Poppins and Bedknobs and Broomsticks were definitely highlights from my childhood Disney library, to the extent that Mary Poppins was a large case study in my undergraduate dissertation.
I have definitely seen most of Disney’s feature length films, but my knowledge becomes a bit scattier from the late 1990s onwards because, as explained in our introduction, I lost interest in new Disney releases around that time. However, I never lost my love for ‘old faithfuls’; I was the young adolescent that harboured my secret love for nostalgia in amongst the popularity of teen films around the early 2000s. When Special Edition DVDs were being released around my teen years, my film buff tendencies started to peek in as I found myself buying these films to watch all the documentaries and commentaries, and look at the films with new eyes. In a way, I found a new love for these films, appreciating them not only as entertainment, but as lovely works of art and representations of moments in time. I am excited about doing this blog, because it is a wonderful excuse to dive into all these films from the beginning to the present day, discovering and re-discovering all at once. Please comment on our blog posts if you enjoy the reviews because we would love to hear your views and comments!
I never actually owned a single Disney video growing up; instead I have fond memories of watching Disney films with my cousins at my Grandad’s house. My strongest recollections are of the pencil drawn films from the 1960s such as The Jungle Book, The Sword in the Stone, and Robin Hood, but I had also seen Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (not realising at the time how much older the film was) as well as the more recent films The Little Mermaid, Aladdin and The Lion King. By the end of the nineties, and throughout most of the early 2000s Disney faded from my radar, especially since that was a time when traditional fairytales were particularly unfashionable, and more cynical takes on the classic storytelling format became more of a cultural norm. It wasn’t until the last few years (around the time I got together with Melissa) that Disney animation truly re-emerged for me, and I found myself becoming reacquainted with the old childhood favourites, coming at last to the revelation that Phil Harris provided the voice not only for Baloo, but also Little John and Thomas O’Malley, which justified why I had always liked those particular characters so much as a child! As a child, the colourful characters, catchy songs and comedic moments were what appealed to me most about Disney films. Now that I am older I can appreciate the films for so much more, as well as the nostalgic quality they possess, which can transport me back to my own childhood.
The idea of watching all of the Disney Animated Classics has a great deal of appeal for me for several reasons: my interest in cinema has grown a lot, and it will be fascinating to work our way through from the 1930s right through to the present day, observing the studio’s progression and changes through time. It will also mean seeing certain films for the first time since childhood, as well as seeing many others for the first time ever.