SPARKfilms: “Fantasia” In Mountain Village
Tuesday nights in Mountain Village continues its busy summer season. Following this week’s TSRC Town Talk at the Telluride Conference Center at sundown, the next free movie to be screened as part of the Free Lawn Chair Movies series is the 1940s psychedelic classic, “Fantasia,” an iconic Disney animation.
“Fantasia” grew from short-subject cartoon picturization of the Paul Dukas musical piece “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice.”
Disney and Stokowski eventually decided that the notion of marrying classical music with animation was too good to confine to a mere short subject, so the project was expanded into a two-hour feature, incorporating seven musical selections and a bridging narration by music critic Deems Taylor.
The first piece, Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, was used to underscore a series of abstract images.
The next selection, Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite,” is performed by dancing wood-sprites, mushrooms, flowers, goldfish, thistles, milkweeds and frost fairies.
The Mickey Mouse version of “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” is next, followed by Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring,” which serves as leitmotif for the story of the creation of the world, replete as it is with dinosaurs and volcanoes.
Following a brief jam session involving the live-action musicians comes Beethoven’s “Pastorale Symphony,” enacted against a Greek-mythology tapestry by centaurs, unicorns, cupids and a besotted Bacchus, Ponchielli’s “Dance of the Hours” is performed by a Corps de Ballet consisting of hippos, ostriches and alligators.
The program closes with a fearsome visualization of Mussorgsky’s “Night on Bald Mountain,” dominated by the black god Tchernobog (referred to in the pencil tests as Yensid, which is guess-what spelled backwards). That study of the sacred and profane segues into a reverent rendition of Schubert’s “Ave Maria.”
A box-office disappointment upon its first release (due in part to Disney’s notion of releasing the film in an early stereophonic-sound process which few theaters could accommodate), “Fantasia” eventually recouped its cost in its many reissues.
Re-releases pruned the picture from 120 to 88 minutes, and in 1983, Disney redistributed the film with newly orchestrated music and Tim Matheson replacing Deems Taylor as narrator.
Once and for all, a restored Fantasia was made available to filmgoers in 1990.
The Lawn Chair Movie Series is made possible by SPARKy Productions with the Wilkinson Public Library and the Telluride Conference Center. The screening takes place outside the conference in the plaza near the Village Table. Bring a lawn chair and warm clothes.
For a preview of “Fantasia,” watch this segment:
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