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50th Anniversary Platinum Edition DVD

Walt Disney Studios' classic 1959 animated film, featuring the music of Tchaikovsky.

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a "Once Upon a Dream" experience

  • Jul 26, 2005
In 1987, as a wide-eyed 6-year-old, I saw SLEEPING BEAUTY during it's cinema re-release. It was probably the first time I ever went to the movies. The experience definitely stayed with me and fired my love of Disney movies which had begun when I was a toddler with ALICE IN WONDERLAND and MARY POPPINS on video. Now so many years later I have relished collecting and revisiting all the Disney classics on DVD, and the 2-disc edition of SLEEPING BEAUTY is something really special. Six years in the making, the movie made history for being the first animated feature shot in 70mm and was the 2nd highest-grossing film of the 1960s' (second only to BEN-HUR).

The story is well-known: Beautiful Princess Aurora is cursed as a baby by the cruel Maleficent. On her 16th birthday she'll die from pricking her finger on a spindle. Good fairy Merryweather remedies the curse by changing death to sleep, and the awakening of Aurora by the kiss of true love. However, to ensure that Aurora does not meet this fate at all, the fairies Flora, Fauna and Merryweather take the infant deep into the forest, where they pose as three spinsters and rename the child Briar Rose. On her 16th birthday the girl will be quietly smuggled back to the palace with Maleficent none-the-wiser. However things take an unexpected turn when Briar Rose falls in love with a handsome Prince, and the princess is ultimately discovered despite the best efforts of the fairies'.

The production design by Eyvind Earl takes it's cue from medieval tapestries and paintings. The score, freely-adapted from Tchaikovsky's ballet, is lush with "Once Upon a Dream" and "I Wonder" the main standouts. Mary Costa, later one of the leading opera singers of the 60s' and 70s', performs the role of Aurora/Briar Rose and does a fantastic job. The character of Prince Phillip (voiced by Bill Shirley) is the first prince in a Disney fairytale that takes an active role in the story. The prince-roles in SNOW WHITE and CINDERELLA are quite static and uninteresting. Eleanor Audley (who also memorably voiced CINDERELLA's icy stepmother Lady Tremaine) works her magic again with Maleficent, still one of Disney's strongest villains. Verna Felton, Vera Vague and Barbara Luddy play Flora, Fauna and Merryweather. Disney fans will remember Felton from CINDERELLA (the Fairy Godmother), ALICE IN WONDERLAND (the Queen of Hearts) and LADY AND THE TRAMP (Aunt Sarah). Barbara Luddy's voice you'll also remember as that of Lady in LADY AND THE TRAMP.

Disney has done a terrific job in restoring SLEEPING BEAUTY for this 2-disc Special Edition. The film is presented in its Technirama 70mm proportions with 5.1 sound mix (as well as an optional DTS mix). The colours are strong and vibrant with the use of High Definition Video employed to clean up every frame of animation. Some great extras are included, featuring a 'Making Of' segment with Mary Costa and Eyvind Earl both extensively interviewed. There's also a recreation of the original Disneyland 'Sleeping Beauty Walk-Through attraction' which features early concept art by Earl. The lovely Disney cinema featurette THE PETER TCHAIKOVSKY STORY is also included along with a cute set-top adventure game 'Rescue Aurora', plus lots more.

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More Sleeping Beauty reviews
Quick Tip by . July 19, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
One of the great disney classics. I cant wait for the live action one
review by . October 14, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
This is a new release of a Disney classic that first appeared in 1959. As is my custom, I much prefer to watch an animated feature film with several of my younger grandchildren (ages 3-7) and did so again with Sleeping Beauty on its 50th anniversary. Once again, they were engrossed in the story line whereas I was somewhat more interested in how the quality of animation measures up (after 59 years) when compared and contrasted with recent films such as Toy Story and Toy Story 2, the three Shreks, …
review by . October 09, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
For all of the thirty two years I've been on this planet, "Sleeping Beauty" was one of the few Disney films that I never viewed. My wife and daughter have watched it numerous times on VHS, but I either wasn't home at the time or I was interested in something else. My wife considers this film to be her favorite Disney movie. Having watched it for the first time tonight, I understand why.    The Disney version of this fairy tale is inspired by Tchaikovsky's ballet. With the wonderful …
review by . October 06, 2008
posted in Movie Hype
Disney's SLEEPING BEAUTY is based upon the story of Briar Rose by the Brothers Grimm. In this version of the tale, a beautiful baby girl named Aurora is born to a friendly king and queen. After her birth people and creatures from all around come to give her gifts, including three good fairies. Two of the fairies give their gifts to the child but before the third fairy is able to do so, an un-invited guest, the evil sorceress Malificient, appears and places a curse upon the child. Before the end …
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Byron Kolln ()
Ranked #145
Byron has been actively involved in theatre since the age of 12. He has had a great variety of roles (both on-stage and off). In addition he has hosted the long-running "Show Business" programme … more
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Disney's 1959 animated effort was the studio's most ambitious to date, a widescreen spectacle boasting a gorgeous waltz-filled score adapting Tchaikovsky. In the 14th century, the malevolent Maleficent (not dissimilar to the wicked Queen in Disney'sSnow White and the Seven Dwarfstaunts a king that his infant Aurora will fatally prick her finger on a spinning wheel before sundown on her 16th birthday. This, of course, would deny her a happily-ever-after with her true love. Things almost but not quite turn out that way, thanks to the assistance of some bubbly, bumbling fairies named Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather. It's not really all that much about the title character--how interesting can someone in the middle of a long nap be, anyway? Instead, those fairies carry the day, as well as, of course, good Prince Phillip, whose battle with the malevolent Maleficent in the guise of a dragon has been co-opted by any number of animated films since. See it in its original glory here. And Malificent's castle, filled with warthogs and demonic imps in a macabre dance celebrating their evil ways, manages a certain creepy grandeur. --David Kronke
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Director: Clyde Geronimi
Genre: Animation
Release Date: January 29, 1959
MPAA Rating: Unrated
DVD Release Date: October 7, 2008
Runtime: 75 minutes
Studio: Walt Disney Studios
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