Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh {1977}

Does anyone not love Winnie the Pooh? I mean, seriously. He has to be one of the most beloved characters ever.

I wasn't sure if I had ever seen this film. I knew that I watched one Pooh movie a lot as a kid...the one about the bees. (And I'm convinced that we owned a VHS tape of it, though when I went looking the other day, I couldn't find it anywhere.) When I started watching The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, it began with the honey tree part, so I thought I'd seen the film before. But later on there were other parts that I don't really remember seeing.

Here's the thing: this movie actually consists of three featurettes: Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree, Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day, and Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too. Before the 1960s, apparently the Pooh books were really well-known and loved in England, but they weren't that popular in America. I honestly can't wrap my head around the fact that most American children didn't know who Winnie the Pooh was until approx. fifty years ago. But Walt Disney was smart, and he predicted that if Americans were introduced to the characters a little bit at a time, the Pooh stories would explode in popularity. He was right, of course. So the short featurettes were released in 1966, 1968, and 1974. Then in 1977, they were combined (and extra material was added to link them together more smoothly) into this film and released as The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.

Of course, this movie is so charming. I love how there's so much emphasis on the book, how they show the pages and characters moving and such. This movie really feels like the book coming to life, which is amazing. Speaking of books, if you haven't read the original books by A.A. Milne (Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner), go read them. Right now. They are beautiful and sweet and clever and awesome. I love the first one a bit more, but the second one is also really, really good. (As for the books of poetry, they're sort of hit-or-miss for me. I'm not a big poetry fan, anyway.)

I just love all of the different characters and the world of the Hundred Acre Wood. The movie does feel sort of episodic, but that's okay. That's the way it's supposed to be. There's isn't any big, major plotline (unless you count Pooh's goal to consume as much "hunny" as possible). But I think they did a really good job of tying the three smaller bits together. I would have never known that the film was originally three featurettes if I hadn't watched the special features on the DVD.

The songs are pretty good. Once again, they're by the Sherman Brothers. I like most of them...some are better than others. Basically, the theme song and The Wonderful Thing about Tiggers are the best. :)

The dream sequence with the Heffalumps and Woozles is pretty weird. I'm not going to lie- it feels out of place to me...a little too "modern" for such a classy, old-fashioned English story. It's a bit reminiscent of the Pink Elephants on Parade sequence from Dumbo, except not nearly as good.

{I had to include this picture because, for whatever reason, this scene is one of the most vivid memories I have of watching this as a kid. :) }

Of course, the awesome Sterling Holloway (who provided voices for tons of Disney films) is the voice of Winnie the Pooh. And he's the perfect Pooh voice. Apparently, a different boy did the voice of Christopher Robin in each section. I didn't notice any difference between the first two, but in the last part I could definitely tell that it was a different voice actor. But the two biggest surprises for me were connections to The Andy Griffith Show. I can't believe I had never realized that the voice of Gopher was Howard Morris, who is Ernest T. Bass! I'll blame it on the whistling lisp in Gopher's voice, but if you listen closely it's obviously him. And this one was even more of a surprise: Hal Smith is the voice of Owl, and he's also Otis Campbell in the Andy Griffith Show. I knew that Hal Smith had a nice speaking voice because he did lots of voice acting (including a main part in Adventures in Odyssey, which I never really listened to), but in my head he always sounds like Otis the town drunk. Not the distinguished voice of Owl!

I guess it's pretty obvious that I enjoyed this movie. How could I not? Now I'm really curious about the other Winnie the Pooh movie on my Disney list, the one that came out in 2011. I'm already a bit biased against it because it won't have these perfect voice actors...

Next up on the list is one that I don't believe I've ever seen before: The Rescuers. :)

What is your favorite part of the Winnie the Pooh stories? Have you ever read the books?


  1. I do not really like Winnie the Poo. Sorry :P

    1. WHAT??? Ha, just kidding. :) Have you ever read the books? You might like those even if you don't like the Disneyfied version. :)

  2. Love me some Winnie the Pooh! Corny joke: What do Winnie the Pooh & Jack the Ripper have in common? The same middle name! Yes, I know, lame. Sorry.

    Also, haven't seen The Rescuers in forever, but I remember liking the sweet story & Bianca the mouse.


    1. Ha. :) I just watched The Rescuers last night, so a review should be up within the next week!

  3. I remember how shocked I was when I found out Otis was Owl...and he was the horse, Phillipe, in Beauty and the Beats...and he was one of the voices of Whit in Adventures in Odyssey. Talk about a shocker right there ;)

    1. Yep, I knew about the Adventures in Odyssey one but I hadn't realized the other two! It's amazing to me when actors or actresses can play (or voice) such different roles. :) But to me, he'll always just be Otis.

  4. How could we NOT love this bear, I agree! That is an important question. :)

    I think I've seen this one years ago (I remember Pooh Bear getting stuck) as well as the one about Tiger, and both are aww too cute.

    1. It is cute. Tigger is awesome, though as a kid I was always partial to Eeyore. :)


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