Sleeping Beauty Part 3: True Love Conquers All!

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As we begin to reach the end of the film, we finally go back to the castle where King Stefan is impatiently waiting for the sun to set so he can finally see his daughter. King Hubert (Philip’s father) tries to cheer Stefan up by presenting him a bottle of wine that he has been saving for sixteen years.

This is “Skumps” (also known as “The Drinking Song”), a jovial song performed by Hubert and Stefan as they toast Aurora’s imminent return and the fact that the marriage of their children will unite their kingdoms. Of course Hubert wants the wedding to happen right away and, as Stefan rightly points out “I haven’t even SEEN my daughter yet, and you’re trying to take her away from me!” (The film Maleficent delves a whole lot deeper into the question of what happens when you’re not actually raised by your parents and then reintroduced to them)

Sleeping Beauty “Skumps” (1959)

Now that Aurora knows the truth about who she really is, the movie shifts to the part I like to call “The Comedy of Errors” because of all the misunderstandings that occur in short order. It can be summed up like this:

1) King Hubert thinks his son Prince Philip is in love with a peasant girl
2) The fairies think Aurora is in love with a commoner
3) Neither side realizes they’ve actually met Aurora/Prince Philip (though admittedly Hubert does think this initially)
4) And most importantly, Maleficent is wise to the fairy’s scheme and nobody knows it.

Based on all of these misunderstandings, Aurora is miserable being led back to the castle, Philip has left to seek the girl he loves and Hubert is in a quandary about how to tell Stefan that Philip doesn’t want to marry Aurora anymore.

Fast forward and close to sunset, a miserable Aurora is being led into the castle by the fairies. They give her one last gift, a golden crown, but Aurora is still (and rightfully so) miserable because she’s been ripped away from the only life she’s ever known and just as she’s found true love. The fairies leave her alone and this is when Maleficent strikes. As the fire magically goes out, we see Maleficent briefly appear in the shadows before she appears as a Will o’ the wisp (a glowing sprite that was said to lead travelers to their deaths). Now the music in this segment is very interesting. It also comes from the Sleeping Beauty ballet and its original title was Le Chat botté et la Chatte blanche (The Booted Cat and the White Cat). Now in the original piece, the music was symbolizing two cats circling, hissing and scratching at each other!

(I don’t know why, but this image has always scared me a little)
Of course the fairies realize a little too late that Maleficent has got Aurora in her clutches and, inevitably, Aurora pricks her finger and falls into an eternal sleep…unless her true love wakes her up that is. And about that…just before all of this took place, it turns out that Maleficent lay in wait at the cottage and ambushed the first person who came back…Prince Philip! Now the only way to save Aurora is to rescue Prince Phillip, by going to the Forbidden Mountain, stronghold of all evil.
And Maleficent’s plan for Prince Philip is really devious if you think about it. She could just kill Philip, but in her mind that would be letting him off easy. Instead, she’ll keep him nice and safe for the next hundred years (I could see her using magic to make this possible), and then she’ll let him go, knowing that the spell will have kept Aurora young all this time. So true love will still wake Aurora, but she’ll be with an old man who will probably die as soon as she wakes up.
Of course, this being a relatively early Disney movie (where a happy ending was guaranteed), the fairies are narrowly successful in breaking Prince Philip out, but not without alerting Maleficent to what is going on. What follows is one of my favorite scenes (musically and visually) in the entire movie. Maleficent, watching from the highest tower, tries everything to stop Prince Phillip, up to and including setting a forest of thorns around the castle, but still Philip breaks free! With a loud cry, Maleficent whirls through the air and confronts the prince directly.

Sleeping Beauty “Prince Philip fights Maleficent” (1959)

Note how as Philip charges the dragon, the music builds and builds until the first breath of fire and then it abruptly cuts off, leaving the roar of flame (provided by a flamethrower) as the only musical accompaniment. At the end of a thrilling battle, Maleficent finally gets what she has coming to her and plummets to her doom! Now all that is left is to climb to the tallest tower and awaken his love, which prompts everyone in the castle (put to sleep by the fairies) to wake up as well. Poor Hubert is still trying to tell King Stefan about Philip when, thankfully, the arrival of Philip and Aurora cuts him off.

Now, again this being Disney, the story can’t end without one last piece of entertainment. As Philip and Aurora dance in front of the court (and Hubert gives up trying to understand what’s going on), the fairies observe the scene when Flora notes that…oh the horror…the dress is blue!! And that’s how the movie ends: Pink! Blue! Pink! Blue!! Even in the last shot of the story book closing, the dress is still changing colors!
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2 thoughts on “Sleeping Beauty Part 3: True Love Conquers All!

  1. Pingback: Sleeping Beauty Part 1 (1959) | Film Music Central

  2. Pingback: Sleeping Beauty Part 2 (1959) | Film Music Central

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