Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Monday, June 28, 2010
A little Disney tie-in, from the Kay Nielsen Biography:
Saturday, June 26, 2010
His characters sort through Oedipal difficulties. This isn't too hard a stretch for the abundance of fairy tales with female protagonists, evil mothers and absent fathers. He also interprets Hansel and Gretel as children who were stuck too long in their oral stage and had to move on. Their rushing to eat a house of candy has nothing to do with the fact that the children are starving to death-literally-and only their oral greed (intentional sarcasm here on my part). Beauty and the Beast is a tale of a young woman who transfers her Oedipal attatchments from her father to a mate in a healthy way. Donkeyskin is not a tale about the potential evil of fathers, but a young girl's fantasies that her father will become sexually obsessed with her, and so on.
However, there are many very interesting points he makes as well, so again, it's worth a read. According to his own theories, Bettelheim should have been the most self-actualized person ever, because of all his readings of fairy tales, but he suffered from depression and committed suicide in 1990.
The witch Jezibaba tells her that, once human, if the Prince of her affections ever betrays her, they will both be eternally damned. Rusalka will also lose her power of speech when human. A foreign princess is enough to lure the Prince away from Rusalka, and she goes to the witch for advice. She is given a dagger and told that, if she kills the Prince, she can be saved. Rusalka throws the dagger in the lake and becomes a bludicka, a lake spirit which only emerges to lure humans to their death. The Prince later comes to the lake she haunts and senses her. He asks her to kiss him, though he knows it will destroy him. She does; he dies, and she goes back to being a water demon.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Just look at the table of contents and tell me you don't love this guy:
I. The Disney Cookbook (Introduction)
II. Disney Developed (Salad Days)
1. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
III. Disney Discouraged (Potluck)
6. Song of the South
IV. Disney Delighted (Classic Cuisine)
8. Alice in Wonderland
9. Peter Pan
10. Lady and the Tramp
11. Sleeping Beauty
V. Disney Distracted (Microwave Magic)
12. 101 Dalmations
13. The Sword in the Stone
14. Mary Poppins
15. The Jungle Book
VI. Disney Duplicated (Reheated Leftovers)
16. The Aristocats
17. Bedknobs and Broomsticks
18. Robin Hood
19. The Rescuers
20. Pete's Dragon
21. The Fox and the Hound
VII. Disney Disassembled (Cleansing the Palette)
22. The Great Mouse Detective
23. Who Framed Roger Rabbit
24. Oliver & Co.
VIII. Disney Distinguished (Icing on the Cake)
25. The Little Mermaid
26. Beauty and the Beast
28. The Lion King
IX. Disney Diluted (Chef's Surprise)
30. The Hunchback of Notre Dame
X. Disney's Destiny (Conclusion)
This is it, btw.
In Strange Reactions, Koenig reports how the audience responded to the movie when it came out. You'd be surprised at how powerful cencorship boards were, back in the day (especially in Europe). Lastly, Koenig traces those movies that inspired Attraction Offspring at one of the Disney theme parks, and why or why not they succeeded.
There was too much fascinating trivia to share here, other than telling you to go read the book yourself. But one thing that I found interesting that relates to issues previously discussed on the blog: some of Disney's harshest criticisms are against the passive female heroines of the earliest Princess movies. Also pretty damning is the racism in Song of the South. Aware of the racial controversy surrounding Song of the South, Disney hired Maurice Rapf to work with writer Dalton Reymond because of his progressive views. Rapf's version of the script would have appeased many a modern fan, as he made the African Americans more independant. However, Reymond and Rapf didn't get along, and Reymond was assigned a new partner. Rapf's positive story changes went out the window.
Rapf was then assigned to Cinderella. He didn't like the idea of Cinderella being passively bossed around all day, either. He suggested a scene in which one day, "they're ordering her around and she throws the stuff back at them. She revolts, so they lock her up in the attic. I don't think anyone took (my idea) very seriously." Ahead of his time.
One more thing-remember how I secretly think Peter Pan is the villain and Captain Hook a victim of circumstances? Well Rapf didn't like Peter Pan either! He says, "I made Peter Pan a villain. He doesn't want anybody to grow up and that's dangerous, the temptation not to grow up. So I had Wendy tell him off." I like this Rapf guy, too bad he had so little influence.
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Thomas Blackshear II
They travelled to the battlefield where his mother was fighting. The Prince led his people to victory, and afterwards the fairy told the Queen of her proposal. The Queen was shocked, and the Prince refused the offer. The fairy was enraged and could not comprehend why anyone would be insulted to have her as a lover. The Queen, unwisely, suggested that the fairy "Look at the people reflected by this mirror without any bias...and it will speak for me." The fairy took this to mean that the queen was vain because of her son's beauty. She gave the Prince a blow on the head, and when he tried to get up, the weight of his body was unusually heavy and he could not lift himself-he had been transformed. The fairy also added, "and since intelligence isn't necessary when one is so handsome, I command you to seem as stupid as you are hideous."
The Queen is forbidden to reveal the Beast's true identity to anyone. The Queen's pleading has no effect on the fairy, who leaves after mocking the Beast's condition ("You won't have long to wait, for such a darling will undoubtedly soon find a way to remedy his misfortune"). The Queen and son are on the verge of committing suicide when another fairy appears to them, chiding them for their cowardice and assuring them that "there is no evil that cannot be overcome with time and courage." She promises she will do all in her power to find the woman who can break the spell. To avoid scandal, or someone betraying the conditions of the spell, she transformed all the living beings in the castle into a statue and surrounded the castle with thick fog so that only appointed guests could find the castle (rather like the sleeping people and thorns that protect the castle in Sleeping Beauty).
The fairy comes and goes with news of the Prince's mother, and one day tells him of a coming traveler, whose daughter the fairy planned to have break the spell. In order for the terms of the counterspell to be followed correctly, the fairy instructs the beast to threaten the father with his life unless one of his daughters comes in his place. This he does, and the rest is history.
Random-but click here to get non-Disney BatB coloring pages
Monday, June 14, 2010
Part 1 of Muppets in Disney World. A 1990 film not available unless you taped it off tv.
From the comments:
6 months ago
"It was basically made to promote Disney's impending acquisition of the Muppets, which is why Mickey says "welcome to the family," but the deal fell through after Henson's death. "
Responding to a discussion about Disney's "Wish Upon a Star" vs. the Muppets' "Rainbow Connection:"
6 months ago 4
"Obviously they're joking about the "philosophy" line [this comes in part 6], but I've always thought that Rainbow Connection was a really profound philosophical song! And much more beautiful than When You Wish Upon a Star, which it even gently criticizes in its lyrics ("Who said that every wish would be heard and answered when wished on the morning star? Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it: and look what it's done so far...")."
I have to admit, as an unabashed Disney fan as I am, I do NOT like the lyrics to Wish Upon a Star, or the fact that that has become the Disney theme song. "Fate is kind/She gives to those who love/The sweet fulfillment of/Their secret longings"...this would be very nice, if it were at all true, but I believe in never lying to children. Sometimes wishes come true, sometimes they don't.
Disneyland Fun Sing-along Songs
Now, this will be of no interest for anyone unless you grew up watching it, or have young kids to show it to...but my siblings and I LOVED this and I totally still watch it before any time I go to Disneyland, and I may or may not work out to it...only 47 more days till I go!!!
1990 must have been a great year for Disney theme parks promotions, because both these movies came out then...
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Earliest influence-"Perceforest," French romance from 1528, which has similar elements-mainly a girl getting raped in her sleep.
Giambattista Basile-"Sun, Moon, and Talia," from Il Pentamerone. A version can be read online here. Several suprising elements of this story-
-Talia is not cursed by a bad fairy, just had a bad horoscope.
-She doesn't prick her finger on a spindle, but gets flax under her fingernail
-A passing young king finds a hot, unconscious girl and rapes her
-Talia became pregnant from this and birthed twins. She woke when one of the twins sucked the flax out of her finger and names them Sun and Moon
-The young king thought to check back on his hot, unconcious lover and finds her alive and with his twins. They fall in love. Problem: he's married. His wife orders the children to be cooked, but the kindly cook hid the children.
-The Queen is about to burn Talia. She cries while removing her clothing and the King hears and comes. The King has the Queen burned instead and is about to burn the cook (thinking he had eaten his own children) but the cook brings out the children and is spared.
-Takeaway lesson: "And of course he married Talia, who lived a long and happy life with her husband and children, always knowing full well that "The person who is favored by fortune has good luck even while sleeping." "
Perrault-"Sleeping Beauty"-from Histoires ou Cont du temps passe, 1697. Online version available here.
Noteables from Perrault's version-
-Introduction of fairies, spindle prick curse, and hundred year sleep as antidote
-the good fairy puts servants to sleep to be there to serve the Princess when she wakes, but sends the parents away
-The passing prince hears of the tales and enters the castle. He doesn't actually kiss her, just happens to be there the moment the hundred years are over. They were married that night.
-The prince kept the marriage a secret. Again he fathers two children, Dawn and Day.
-The cannibalism attempt on the children and rescue by cook is repeated, but this time by the ogre mother-in-law. The Queen's fate is to be eaten as well.
-Ogre mom hears Day crying one day after she thought she had eaten them. Furious, she sets up a huge vat to be filled with vipers, toads, and all kinds of horrible animals, to kill the Queen and her children. The Prince returns home just in time to throw his mother in instead.
the brothers Grimm-"Briar Rose" in their Kinder und Hausmarchen, first edition 1812-online version here
-Story starts with childless couple wishing for child, wish granted by fish (or frog)
-This version is very close to the Perrault version, only it ends after the marriage-no ogres and attempted cannibalism
-the whole royal family is put to sleep
-Finally, the moment we've all been waiting for-the magic awakening kiss is introduced
The ballet Sleeping Beauty-Music by Pyotr Tchaikovsky-1890 (read more on wikipedia)
-Mostly based on the Grimm version
-After the kiss, a huge wedding is celebrated with many fairy tale characters, who each get to do a dance
-Names: Sleeping Beauty-Aurora, Prince-Florimund, bad fairy-Carabosse, main good fairy-the Lilac Fairy
-Note: details of plot and choreography will differ from company to company. So the ballet version is more malleable, more like the original oral versions, than the set-in-stone literary versions listed here.
Disney movie-Sleeping Beauty-(1957)
Noteables:-Only three good fairies instead of twelve
-The good fairies raise Briar Rose in an attempt to hide her from Maleficent
-This Princess meets and falls in love with the Prince before falling asleep
-A whole battle scene is added between the Prince and Maleficent, who is a dragon for part of the time
-Plot and characters embellished to make a full-length musical
-Soundtrack mostly taken from the Tchaikovsky ballet music
Although, apparantly the Hindu tales were also revised a bit for the sake of religion. In a 1928 book from my library, Washburn Hopkins retells some of these ancient stories. He says, "I have endeavored to tell the tale as I conceive it to have been before it was tampered with, to remove the priestly interpretation and re-interpret the story as it should have descended to us, with the emotional implications (suppressed by the priests) intact." I am not familiar with the other versions of these stories (or if modern scholars agree with Hopkins' claims), but the ones Hopkins tells are retold beautifully. Here I am going to relate excerpts of his tale "Ganges" (also known as Ganga).
"There lived of yore a maid divine, a daughter of the sky,
And all the gods rejoiced in her whenever she passed by.
Like shining water leamed her form, her laugh was like a rill,
She was so happy in her heart she never could be still.
Now sorrow she had never known, and ne'er had heard of woe;
So joyous in the clouds she lived she seldom glanced below;
She had no time for other things, but all her life was play.
She had the clouds to toss about, to sing and greet the day,
And chase the little wandering starts that always got away."
One day Ganges comes to the door of heaven, from where she can look down and see earth. But when she does she is stricken to see the sufferings of the people down below.
"As Ganges looked, the joyousness slow faded from her face,
The dancing light that loved her eyes fled to another place,
And for the first time in her life she felt no longer glad;
She became sorrowful; Ganges was sad."
The other gods find Ganges and attempt to distract her.
"Turn thy face from earth, dear, turn thy head and smile.
We from thee have hid the truth but ah, so short a while!
Life is linked with suffering. The truth at last we own,
Which all the gods concealed from thee. We would not make it known"
The gods go on to explain that the earth is in draught and they cannot do anything to help, because Fate has ruled that until a god leaves heaven and gives up their life for the sake of man, the ocean will continue to dry. None of them could imagine giving their lives for the humans, but after considering the matter, Ganges decided she would be the one to make the sacrifice.
Ganges, fair Ganges, stood at heaven's high door.
She looked around on all the scenes she was to see no more;
But in her face no sadness showed, her sorrow was at rest,
She felt a wonder of great joy that flooded all her breast.
She gazed upon the earth below, into the distance deep,
There was no fear within her heart to take that deadly leap;
But she loosed her flowing garment and she clasped her hands on high,
And straight before the tearful gods sprang headlong from the sky.
"Thus she leaped, the immortal goddess, thus she left her home above;
Leaped to earth to show to mortals how a heart divine may love.
Touch we e'en her garment, lo! our souls are purified,
And all sins shall be forgiven him that bathes in Ganges' tide."
Thursday, June 10, 2010
This is the Spanish version, but it was the only clip I could find of just this scene, which has such great descriptive music.
"Bland Tomtar och Troll", John Bauer
1857-Three Welsh children died by bathing in/being fed foxglove
1869-Changeling exorcised by being dipped three times in an Irish tarn
May 19, 1884-Ellen Cushion and Anastasia Rourke arrested for placing three year old Philip Dillon on a hot shovel. He had no limbs, was suspected to be a changeling, and severely burned.
1895-Bridget Cleary tortured and killed by her husband, neighbors, and six family members
Not only is this shocking to anyone, but as a special educator this strikes a special chord with me. Those who were suspected of being changelings had some kind of physical deformity or mental disability that would lead people to suspect that they must be of another species. Scientists speculate the types of disabilities we now know of that coincided to "signs" of changelings, including spina bifida, cystic fibrosis, cerebral palsy, William's syndrome, Hurler's syndrome, and Hunter's syndrome. Some of my students have the above disabilities. One wonders if the criminals listed above were really glad of an excuse to get rid of their charges, or if they truly believed they were doing what was best for their loved one. It's frightening to think that these cases are only the recorded ones-how many more people were tortured or killed, unbeknownst to us?
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
The main character has started a job as a lighthouse attendant, for an entire year, in a completely secluded location. At first he relishes the chance to be alone, but soon the complete isolation gets to him. I always take note of descriptions of isolation in stories, because that's one aspect of the Beast that always fascinates me. What is it like for him to be cut off from civilization, alone in a castle with unrealistic hopes as his only comfort? What does he do until Beauty comes?
Then the narrator decides to try to focus all his mind and energy to create life to comfort him. The first attempt he makes is a rose. He spends his days in meditation, ridding his thoughts of all but a rose. Miraculously, he finds a blooming rose along the oceanic coast and brings it inside, where it lives far longer than it should. Only when he begins to focus his thoughts on another object does it wither. Only it does not leave behind a dried and withered rose, but a repulsive piece of seaweed.
The narrator's next goal is loftier: the perfect woman. She will be his Companion, and as she is a product of his imagination, the woman of his dreams. Once again the experiment is successful-but after seeing the beautiful woman, she opens her mouth to reveal a set of vampire teeth. She is not a human woman, but a woman created from the sea. The narrator's dog jumps on her and kills her, leaving not a woman's corpse, but a "bloated, swollen obscenity of a thing long-drowned and dead, risen from slime and to that slime returning." A storm is upon the lighthouse, so fierce the narrator knows he won't survive. He secures his journal entries in a bottle around his dog's neck and waits to die, perhaps to join his Companion in the depths.
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Saturday, June 5, 2010
I did like the whimsical scenery, the props, and music, and I can't be too harsh on it as it did try to tackle a very important theme and much needed message to our society. It was cute. I did find James McAvoy to be extremely attractive (although that's not supposed to matter...) and I do want Penelope's wardrobe.
Friday, June 4, 2010
Thursday, June 3, 2010
When creating Disneyland, Walt Disney wanted everything to be as accurate as possible. This might seem funny to us who think of it as a land of make believe and fantasy, and to our eyes the rides and audio anamatronics seem outdated and hardly realistic, but at the time even scientists were floored by the sophisticated techniques created by Disney. One of the original Tomorrowland rides was called Flight to the Moon (which later became Mission to Mars,) and the passengers experienced a simluation of what takeoff and space flight would be like. Disney was not content with generic space flight, but insisted that all the stars outside the windows be actual star charts. He consulted with leading scientists, including Wernher von Braun (the only name I recognized in the list, and only because they mention him in the movie October Sky).
Among some of the most popular attractions today are Star Tours and Space Mountain. Star Tours is hard to explain to someone who's never been on it-your seats move, but you don't actually move, but you feel like you're moving. One of the things I love about Disneyland is that the lines for many of the rides have so much atmosphere. The C3PO pictured above is talking to R2D2, which Disneyland guests can observe as they wait to go on the ride. (Apparantly my mom overheard a guest one year express surprise at the end of the Indiana Jones line because they thought the line itself was the ride.)Space Mountain is a great roller coaster. For those who haven't been back in several years, they've been redoing their old roller coasters to be more smooth and have music that goes along with the rides. I love these vintage posters for Disneyland rides and kind of want to wallpaper my room with them:According to Yesterland, some of the former Tomorrowland rides that did not survive (for obvious reasons) include the Hall of Chemistry, the Hall of Aluminum Fame, and the Bathroom of Tomorrow. One thing that lasted for all of a year but I would seriously love to have gone to was "Fashions and Fabrics Through the Ages."
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
"I long for music like a man sick with fever longs for a drop of water."-Hans Christian Andersen