April 21, 2008

Ferdinand, The Disney Version

Ferdinand the Bull was published in 1936. It was a bestseller, so much so that Walt Disney produced a color, animated version of the story in 1938, which won the Academy Award for best animated short in 1939. [They're lucky they made it when they did; pacifism wouldn't win any awards for another six years, at least.]

Part of me is impressed with what seems like the uncharacteristic faithfulness of Disney's adaptation of Munro Leaf's story, and of even Robert Lawson's original artwork. But then again, no. Lawson's compositions may be recognizable, but the style is unmistakably cartoonish Disney, not Lawson's crisp, intense ink drawings. I'd bet you a dollar that no one has ever tattooed Disney's Ferdinand on his arm.

And though I can imagine how it felt necessary to the animators, the vaudevillian slapstick padding doesn't work for me. Oscar or no, I think we're sticking with the original.

If you somehow don't already have a copy, buy The Story of Ferdinand in hardcover at Amazon [amazon]
Walt Disney's Ferdinand the Bull, 1938, 7:55 [youtube]
Previously: The Story of The Story of Ferdinand


Wow, this really brings back memories, I'm gonna buy it now.

Perhaps, but I'm actually a big fan of Disney animation from that era and Ward Kimball was one of the standouts. It's certainly a lot better than anything they're drawing today.

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