Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad {1949}

{Animated Disney Film #11 of 52}

Okay, so I was wrong. I said that the previous film, Melody Time, was the final Disney package film of the 40s. Technically this one is, though it only consists of two sections instead of six or seven. The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad is based on the short story The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and the novel The Wind in the Willows.

First up is the story of The Wind in the Willows. I read this book last year and remember certain parts of it vividly, but to be honest I'm pretty fuzzy on most of it. It seems to me like they changed some things when adapting it here, and I know they left out a lot of the story.

By the way, this part is narrated by Basil Rathbone, one of the most famous Sherlock Holmes actors ever. And probably about the only Sherlock I haven't yet seen! That should be remedied. :)

Rat and Mole didn't seem to be like I remembered them...especially Rat. Toad was pretty good and his character seemed to be much like it was in the book. The part where he sees a motor car for the first time and starts making motor car noises was pretty hilarious. But here's the thing. I liked Toad in the book, even though he was crazy and selfish and reckless. In this section of film, I feel like they were trying to make Toad out to be a nicer character than he really is. They were trying their best to make you like him, but I just thought he was really annoying. Yes, much more annoying than book Toad even though they're doing basically the same things. I guess maybe it just bugged me how they were trying so hard to make him likable.

The second section of the film was based on The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. I've never read the short story myself, but apparently they stuck pretty closely with this adaptation. My only knowledge of the story was the Headless Horseman, so I expected this part to be pretty creepy and scary. It was at the very end, but the beginning is actually quite different and I had no idea it was going to be like that!

My two main thoughts on this part were:

1. Bing Crosby! He's the narrator. So that was pretty awesome.

2. Some of the colors and animation remind me (in a very basic way) of Cinderella. Especially Katrina! Her face is so Cinderella-ish. Speaking of Katrina, the fact that Ichabod Crane only wanted to marry her for her money didn't endear me to him at all. (And the rest of the men in the village only want to marry her because she's beautiful.)

Overall, I thought this film was sort of disappointing. It's not like I disliked it. And to be honest, I was a bit distracted winding some gorgeous yarn while watching, so I might not have given it the full attention it deserved. :) But the stories didn't seem to hold my attention, and there wasn't anything special about the animation or even the few songs that were included.

Next up in the Disney animated marathon is Cinderella! I can't wait, even though I've seen it dozens of times. :) Actually, I'm really excited about the rest of this marathon from now on, now that those package films are out of the way! On the list I see a lot of favorites that I can't wait to watch again and quite a few classics that I've always heard about but never actually seen. It should be good. :)

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