Category Archives: Disney

Pinocchio “I’ve Got No Strings” (1940)

Having been unwittingly sold by Honest John and Gideon to the gypsy Stromboli, Pinocchio is all set to make his big debut in the puppet* theater as the star attraction. Nearby, Jiminy Cricket watches the proceedings with disgust, he can’t believe Pinocchio has fallen into this “I’ll be a big star” trap so easily. The show begins and Pinocchio is introduced by a chorus of puppet trumpeters.

To my knowledge, “I’ve Got No Strings” is the only Disney song to have a false entrance. For you see, as the music begins and Pinocchio (Dickie Jones) begins his first line “I’ve got no strings to hold me do-” he trips over his own feet and somersaults down the stairs to land in a heap on the stage, to the great amusement of the audience.

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Pinocchio “I’ve Got No Strings” (1940)

In a big dose of foreshadowing, Stromboli nearly loses his temper and only his hastily remembered knowledge that there is an audience present stops him from beating the puppet on the spot. Stromboli encourages Pinocchio to try again (I shudder to think of what might’ve happened if Pinocchio had messed up a second time) and the song properly begins:

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I’ve got no strings
To hold me down
To make me fret
Or make me frown
I had strings
But now I’m free
There are no strings on me
 
Hi-ho the me-ri-o
That’s the only way to go
I want the world to know
Nothing ever worries me
 
I’ve got no strings
So I have fun
I’m not tied up to anyone
They’ve got strings
But you can see
There are no strings on me
Pinocchio is a hit with the audience! To the delight of the young puppet, the audience applauds his performance and Pinocchio joins in the applause until the scene changes and a coy Dutch girl puppet descends to the stage:
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You have no strings
Your arms is free
To love me by the Zuider Zee
Ya, ya, ya
If you would woo
I’d bust my strings for you
After a group of Dutch girl puppets dance around Pinocchio (knocking him around a little in the process), they retreat only to be replaced by a sultry French girl puppet:
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You’ve got no strings
Comme ci comme ça
Your savoire-faire is ooh la la
I’ve got strings
But entre nous
I’d cut my strings for you
After this solo, Pinocchio is joined by a group of French girl puppets dancing the can-can, a revealing dance where (in real life), the dancers raise their skirts to show off their legs and petticoats. This is the one dance that attracts the attention of Jiminy Cricket who whips out a pair of spectacles to get a better look at the dancing girls. Of all the puppets, I liked the French puppet the best (just my preference). At the end of the dance, the scene changes once more and Pinocchio is joined by a Russian girl puppet:
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Down where the Volga flows
There’s a Russian rendez-vous
Where me and Ivan go
But I’d rather go with you, hey!
Unlike the other verses, this time the Russian girl is replaced by a troupe of male Russian dancers doing the traditional Hopak dance (often mis-labeled as “The Cossack Dance”), which is actually Ukrainian in origin. Pinocchio is so taken with this dance that he does his best to imitate the puppets with varying degrees of success. When the puppets move to wildly spinning, Pinocchio attempts to copy them, but as you might expect, the young puppet ends up tangling himself in all the puppets and proclaims to the audience:
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There are no strings on me!
To his relief, the audience’s laughter is complimented by wild cheers and applause and money begins raining down onto the stage (to the great delight of Stromboli). Jiminy is saddened by Pinocchio’s success, as it seems now like the young puppet will never want to go home and learn how to be a real boy.

Of all the songs in Pinocchio, “I’ve Got No Strings” is widely considered to be one of the most popular and enduring songs along with “When You Wish Upon a Star.” The music was composed by Leigh Harline, with lyrics provided by Ned Washington. The song was (in)famously used in the marketing for Avengers: Age of Ultron when a twisted rendition of the first verse played in the background of several trailers (ending with Ultron finishing the line “there are no strings on me.”) In the film, this song serves the purpose of giving the audience a lighthearted moment before the story takes another turn for the dark; in this case, when Stromboli locks Pinocchio into a birdcage and promises to chop him up for firewood if he doesn’t behave and keep making money for the gypsy.
*I know technically the “puppets” are all marionettes because they’re manipulated by strings, but I referred to them as puppets because that’s easier to type out than saying marionettes over and over again.
What do you think of “I’ve Got No Strings”? Besides Pinocchio, is there a puppet in this song that you like the best? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below 🙂 Thank you so much for supporting the blog, it means the world to me.

 

For more Disney songs, check out the main page 🙂
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The Little Mermaid “Vanessa’s Song” (1989)

When Ursula made the deal with Ariel to make her human for three days so she could attempt to earn True Love’s Kiss from Prince Eric, I’m fairly certain the sea witch thought it was one of the easiest deals she’d ever made. Knowing full well that Ariel had practically no reliable information about life in the human world, Ursula likely thought that Ariel would make a fool of herself and never come close to earning any kind of kiss from anyone, let alone Prince Eric.

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The Little Mermaid “Ursula’s Transformation” (1989)

So imagine Ursula’s surprise and indignation when Sebastian and Flounder help set up “Kiss the Girl” and come within inches of getting Eric and Ariel to kiss; whether it would have been True Love’s Kiss we don’t really know and Ursula wasn’t willing to find out as she made sure Flotsam and Jetsam (her minion eels) sabotaged the moment by capsizing the boat. The sea witch is furious!

“Oh, she’s better than I thought. At this rate, he’ll be kissing her by

sunset for sure. Well, it’s time Ursula took matters into her own tentacles!

Triton’s daughter will be mine – and then I’ll make him writhe. I’ll see him

wriggle like a worm on a hook!”

Ursula quickly begins preparing a spell and, laughing, transforms into a beautiful human woman with dark brown hair, but still wearing her nautilus shell.

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Later that same evening, Prince Eric is still moping about the fact that he hasn’t found that mysterious woman who saved his life (you’d think despite the lack of voice that he’d simply recognize Ariel but it’s never that simple). Grimsby, his long-suffering butler, sympathizes with the prince, but he also gently reminds him that while his mystery woman may never be found, there’s a very real woman inside the castle (indicating the silhouette of Ariel getting ready for bed).

Left alone again, Eric contemplates Grimsby’s words before chucking his flute into the sea and turning to head inside. But before he can leave, a mysterious song begins floating up from the beach. A strange woman  with dark brown hair and a nautilus shell necklace is walking along the beach and singing with Ariel’s voice. A golden tendril of magic flows out from the shell and visibly enchants the prince.

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The Little Mermaid- Eric announces he’s marrying Vanessa (1989)

To Ariel’s horror, Eric announces the next morning that he’s found the woman who saved his life and they’ll be getting married that evening. Ariel cannot see the nautilus shell and so she believes that Eric is genuinely in love with another woman, meaning her entire plan has been for nothing!

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The Little Mermaid “Vanessa’s Song” (1989)

As the wedding barge gets under way that evening, Scuttle flies out to check out the ship and is attracted by a beautiful, but strange song coming from one of the cabins. Vanessa (the mysterious woman Eric is marrying) is getting ready for the wedding and singing to herself:

What a lovely little bride I’ll make
My dear, I’ll look divine
Things are working out according to my ultimate design
Soon I’ll have that little mermaid
And the ocean will be mine!

As the blushing bride examines her reflection in the mirror, the laughing face of Ursula peers out instead!! Scuttle can’t believe his eyes, Eric is about to marry the sea witch, Ariel needs to know about this! The frantic bird flies off to warn Ariel and her friends before it’s too late.

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Given that Ursula is using Ariel’s stolen voice, it’s no surprise when I say that Jodi Benson also provided Vanessa’s lines and also performed “Vanessa’s Song” which is really a brief reprise of “Poor Unfortunate Souls” (a melody you can hear just as the brief song ends). It really just serves to confirm to the audience and reveals to our heroes that this is indeed Ursula in disguise (though I don’t think there was ever really any doubt for the audience given we witnessed the start of Ursula’s transformation back in her lair).

 

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What do you think of “Vanessa’s Song”? It’s one of the shortest “songs” in any Disney film, but it is one of my favorite moments as well. I remember as a little kid I would always gasp when the mirror tilted up to reveal Ursula’s reflection. Given her magical skills, it’s a wonder she didn’t keep herself looking like that (or similarly) on a permanent basis. Let me know your thoughts on this song in the comments below 🙂

See also:

The Little Mermaid “Daughters of Triton” (1989)

The Little Mermaid “Poor Unfortunate Souls” (1989)

For more Disney songs, see here

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Alice in Wonderland “Painting the Roses Red” (1951)

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Thoroughly tired of all the silliness in Wonderland, Alice wants more than ever to go home. Fortunately (maybe), the Cheshire Cat has returned with one last piece of advice. if Alice really wants to go home, then she needs to talk to the Queen.

“All ways here you see, are the Queen’s ways.”

“But I’ve never met any Queen!”

“You haven’t? You HAVEN’T? Oh, but you must! She’ll be mad about you, simply mad!”

And so, the Cheshire Cat reveals a shortcut to the gardens surrounding the Queen’s castle (which also happen to be the same gardens Alice saw through the keyhole when she first arrived in Wonderland). It’s a very pretty garden, but there are some odd things going on. For instance…there’s a bunch of cards running around, and they’re busy painting the roses. When Alice asks the cards what on earth they’re doing, they are all quick to explain (and this is the setting of “Painting the Roses Red”:

Alice in Wonderland “Painting the Roses Red” (1951)

Painting the roses red
We’re painting the roses red
We dare not stop
Or waste a drop
So let the paint be spread
We’re painting the roses red
We’re painting the roses red

Oh, painting the roses red
And many a tear we shed
Because we know
They’ll cease to grow
In fact, they’ll soon be dead
And yet we go ahead
Painting the roses red
Painting the roses red
We’re painting the roses red

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Alice: Oh, pardon me,
But Mister Three,
Why must you paint them red?

Cards: Huh? Oh!
Three: Well, the fact is, Miss,
We planted the white roses by mistake,
And…

Cards: The Queen she likes ’em red
If she saw white instead,
Two: She’d raise a fuss
Ace: And each of us
Cards: Would quickly lose his head

Alice: Goodness!

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Cards: Since this is the part we dread
We’re painting the roses red

Alice: Oh, Dear! Then let me help you!

Alice: Painting the roses red
We’re painting the roses red
Don’t tell the Queen what you have seen
Or say that’s what we said
But we’re painting the roses red
Alice: Yes, painting the roses red
Two: Not pink
Ace: Not green
Alice: Not aquamarine
All: We’re painting the roses red!

It’s a hilarious song with a ridiculous concept: the Ace, Two and Three of Clubs have mistakenly planted white roses instead of red ones, and because the Queen hates white roses, they’re hastily covering their mistake by painting the roses red (even acknowledging in their song that this will kill the roses entirely). But the Cards figure that killing the roses in the short term is better than losing their heads so, they continue to paint. Alice is happy to help in the work, but it’s ultimately not going to do the Cards any good, because here comes the Queen!!

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Alice meets the Queen of Hearts

After the Hearts line up in formation, the White Rabbit reappears to announce: “Her Imperial Highness, Her Grace, Her Excellency, Her Royal Majesty, the Queen of Hearts!”

Unfortunately for the cards, they left one rose only half painted, causing the completely mad Queen to bellow “Whose been painting my roses red??” The guilty cards plea for mercy but the Queen only shouts “OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!!” The cards are then dragged away as the others sing:

“They’re going to lose their heads, for painting the roses red!”

I absolutely love this song: it’s short and to the point and serves as a nice piece of filler to introduce the Queen of Hearts to the story. Despite only appearing in this last part of the film, the Queen of Hearts is considered one of the iconic Disney villains. I hope you enjoyed listening to “Painting the Roses Red.”

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See also:

Alice in Wonderland “The Un-Birthday Song” (1951)

Alice in Wonderland “All in the Golden Afternoon” (1951)

Alice in Wonderland “In a World of My Own” (1951)

Pinocchio “Hi Diddle Dee Dee (An Actor’s Life for Me!)” (1940)

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Geppetto the toy maker is overjoyed to find that his wooden puppet Pinocchio has come to life. And though he is not yet a “real” boy, he treats him as his own son regardless and decides that Pinocchio needs to go to school, since that’s where all good little boys go during the day. After some persuasion, Pinocchio sets off with his new school books and a spiffy little vest to go with his regular outfit. Though he’s meant to be his conscience, Jiminy Cricket is nowhere to be found as yet.

Pinocchio “Hi Diddle Dee Dee” (1940)

On the way to school, Pinocchio attracts the attention of a fox and his cat companion, who can hardly believe that they’re seeing a puppet walking and talking without strings! The fox stops Pinocchio and introduces himself as “Honest” John (his full name is John Worthington Foulfellow) and the cat, who doesn’t speak, is Gideon. Pinocchio informs the pair that he is on his way to school, but Honest John (voiced by Walter Catlett) says that this is a ridiculous notion.

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Why should this young boy be going to school when it’s perfectly obvious he’s a natural actor (said with a wink and a nod to Gideon who quickly understands where Honest John is going with this conversation). The pair quickly divert Pinocchio from his path to school and begin describing the wonderful life he could have as an actor and this is the subject of “Hi Diddle Dee Dee (An Actor’s Life for Me!):

Hi-Diddle-Dee-Dee. An actor’s life for me!
A high silk hat, and a silver cane.
A watch of gold, with a diamond chain.
Hi-Diddle-Dee-Day an actor’s life is gay!
It’s great to be a celebrity.
An actor’s life for me!

Hi-Diddle-Dee-Dum. An actors life is fun!
With clothes that come from the finest shop.
And lots of peanuts and soda pop.
Hi-Diddle-Dee-Dee an actor’s life for me.
It’s great to be a celebrity.
An actor’s life for me!

Hi-Diddle-Dee-Dee, an actors life for me!
A waxed moustache and a beaver coat.
A pony cart and a billy goat.
Hi-Diddle-Dee-Dum, an actors life is fun!
You wear your hair in a pompadour!
You ride around in a coach with four!
You stop and buy out a candy store!
An actor’s life for me!

Hi-Diddle-Dee-Dee. An actor’s life for me!
A high silk hat, and a silver cane.
A watch of gold with a diamond chain.
Hi-Diddle-Dee-Doo. You sleep ’til after two!
It’s great to be a celebrity, an actor’s life for me!

Honest John paints the rosiest picture imaginable: if Pinocchio goes off to be an actor, he’ll be fantastically rich and able to do anything he wants! He’ll wear the finest clothes, be able to buy out candy stores, it’s a grand life! The puppet is easily persuaded to follow the fox and cat to the theater (in this case the travelling puppet theater owned by Stromboli), all thoughts of school and being a “real” boy forgotten for the moment. Of course the naive puppet has no way of knowing that this “actor’s life” wouldn’t apply to him, not where he’s going anyway. Pinocchio doesn’t know it, but Honest John and Gideon are on their way to sell the young puppet to Stromboli for however much they can get from the Italian (it’s rather disturbing when you think about it).

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And where is Jiminy Cricket? It turns out the newly minted “conscience” overslept on his first day and now he’s racing to catch up to his charge, figuring that Pinocchio couldn’t possibly have gotten into too much trouble yet (oh how wrong he is!!) The trio quickly passes him in the street and Jiminy is stunned to see Pinocchio walking with the fox and cat in the opposite direction of school! The cricket chases after them, but being so small, he is unable to make them stop and they journey on to Stromboli’s.

“Hi Diddle Dee Dee” is notable for being the first Disney villain’s song ever performed. Originally, Gideon was going to have a voice too (in fact the legendary Mel Blanc was hired to record his lines), but it was later decided to make the cat a mute comedic figure similar to Dopey and so all of Blanc’s lines were cut except for a few hiccuping sounds. I’d also like to point out that the song uses “gay” to mean “happy/wonderful” (just in case there was any confusion).

What do you think of “Hi Diddle Dee Dee”? It’s a rather short but enjoyable song (and certainly not what you picture for a “villain’s” song. Let me know your thoughts about the song in the comments below!

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For more Disney songs, see here

For the more disturbing aspects of Pinocchio, see also:

Disturbing Disney #1: The Coachman in Pinocchio (1940)

Disturbing Disney #2: The truth of Pleasure Island in Pinocchio (1940)

Disturbing Disney #3: Escaping Monstro from Pinocchio (1940)

Disturbing Disney #17: Ratigan becomes a monster in The Great Mouse Detective

As you’ve read through this series, you’ll note that many of these ‘disturbing’ moments come from the villains in the story and The Great Mouse Detective is no exception. Based on the Basil of Baker Street book series by Eve Titus, the film follows the titular Basil, a mouse detective who operates on the same deductive principles as Sherlock Holmes (and it just so happens Basil’s tiny home is located at 221B Baker Street).

His nemesis and obsession is the evil genius Ratigan (voiced brilliantly by Vincent Price). Ratigan is “the Napoleon of crime” with ambitions of taking over the mouse world. He himself is a giant rat, but he hates to be reminded of it, to the point that he will have his own henchmen killed if they refer to him as a rat.

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The Great Mouse Detective: Ratigan kidnaps Olivia/Big Ben Chase (1986)

For most of the film, Ratigan presents himself as a perfectly poised gentle-mouse, but there are hints that he’s hiding a big secret. For one, every time he gets the least bit upset, all of his henchmen quake in terror, as if expecting some monster to come out. Second, especially when Ratigan finds out that Basil is on the case of the missing toymaker, the rat is visibly seen holding back a wave of fierce anger (so much so that his face turns bright red), just barely managing to hold it back.

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But the final straw comes when Basil ultimately ruins the villain’s plans to take over Mouse England. A furious Rattigan makes a run for it in his dirigible, with the young Olivia (the toymaker’s daughter) as a hostage. Basil gives chase however in a hastily rigged craft of his own (aided by Dawson and Olivia’s father) and they chase Rattigan all over London before the rat, distracted by Basil jumping aboard, crashes headlong into the clock face of Big Ben!

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The Great Mouse Detective: Ratigan becomes a rat/Big Ben Fight (1986)

Deep inside the clockworks and gears, Rattigan seeks to eliminate Basil once and for all (and at least be rid of his nemesis even if his plans are ruined), but Olivia foils this by biting down on his hand, distracting him long enough for Basil to trap his cape in some gears before leaping down to rescue Olivia (who was kicked into the works by Rattigan) from being crushed. Basil saves the young mouse just in the nick of time and when the trapped Rattigan sees the pair getting away…his anger finally boils over, leading into one of the more disturbing sequences in the pre-Disney Renaissance canon.

Technically speaking, this sequence is historic because it’s one of the earliest uses of CGI animation in a Disney film (though not the first). The clock gears of Big Ben are all computer animated, with the hand-drawn characters laid on top. According to the animators, this is what allowed them to create the sequence where Ratigan runs in, up, and through the gears during the chase. I also love to draw attention to Henry Mancini’s music for this scene: as Ratigan comes into frame behind Basil, listen closesly as the music starts. The melody is on a piano and is broken down into several interlocking segments with differing rhythms; just like the clock gears in Big Ben!

As Basil and Olivia reach the top of the clock tower, we look back to see a monstrous Ratigan, all poise and polish gone, running on all fours up through the gears, clothes in tatters, inarticulately growling as he pursues his quarry. He’s partly in shadows, and partly lit up by lightning flashes, which only adds to his menace. We can see now why his henchmen were so afraid; beneath that calculating veneer…Ratigan is a complete monster!

As the enraged rat gets ever closer, Basil tries desperately to get Olivia to safety before the villain can get to them, but their craft is just out of reach. Finally, just as the rat leaps for Basil, he tosses Olivia to her father, who catches his daughter with relief. But the nightmare is just starting for Basil: he’s in the clutches of Ratigan as they fall all the way down onto the hands of Big Ben in the pouring rain. The rat is determined that this time, Basil isn’t getting away from him: “there’s no escape THIS time Basil!” He uses his claws, visibly razor sharp, to slash and maul the detective, wanting to make him suffer for daring to humiliate the rat time and time again. It’s a spine-chilling moment, as you can hear Basil’s groans of pain (though in typical Disney fashion there isn’t a trace of blood to be seen).

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Ratigan moves in for the kill and with one blow sends Basil flying off into the abyss (just missing the hands of his friends) and seemingly to his death. An overjoyed Ratigan crows that he’s finally won! But a voice from below replies: “On the contrary, the game’s not over yet!” Unbelievably, Basil has taken hold of the wreckage of the dirigible and Ratigan’s special bell, which he now mockingly rings. Just at that moment, the clock strikes the hour and the vibrations send a stunned Ratigan tumbling off, but not before he latches onto Basil and brings the mouse down with him!!

It seems to be the end for both Basil and his nemesis, but the detective has one last trick up his sleeve: when he fell, he took the propeller from the dirigible with him, and now he uses it to fly back up to his friends as the storm finally passes.

Despite the happy ending, this scene with Ratigan always scared me as a child: the transformation is so complete that he doesn’t seem like the same character anymore. And that scene where Basil gets literally mauled by this monster, it’s hard to believe sometimes that this movie was made for children. Because if you really think about it, if that scene were done realistically, there should be blood everywhere, not to mention broken bones from that fall onto the clock hands. It amazes me that in the very next scene Basil isn’t bandaged up in a few places.

What do you think of Ratigan’s final transformation into a horrific monster? Did this scene disturb you also? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

 

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For more Disturbing Disney, see also:

Disturbing Disney #1: The Coachman in Pinocchio (1940)

Disturbing Disney #2: The truth of Pleasure Island in Pinocchio (1940)

Disturbing Disney #3: Escaping Monstro from Pinocchio (1940)

Disturbing Disney #4: Dumbo loses his mother (1941)

Disturbing Disney #5 The death of Bambi’s Mother

Disturbing Disney #6: Faline vs. the dogs (1942)

Disturbing Disney #7: Cruella wants to do WHAT??

Disturbing Disney #8: The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met (from Make Mine Music, 1946)

Disturbing Disney #9: Dr. Facilier’s Fate (The Princess and the Frog, 2009)

Disturbing Disney #10: The rat in Lady and the Tramp (1955)

Disturbing Disney #11: Clayton’s Death in Tarzan (1999)

Disturbing Disney #12: The Bear from The Fox and the Hound (1981)

Disturbing Disney #13: “Smoking them out” in The Fox and the Hound (1981)

Disturbing Disney #14: The Salt Trap in The Jungle Book (1994)

Disturbing Disney #15: Night on Bald Mountain from Fantasia (1940)

Disturbing Disney #16: King Triton destroys Ariel’s grotto

The Little Mermaid “Daughters of Triton” (1989)

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King Triton’s Entrance

The Little Mermaid is universally acknowledged to be the film that launched the Disney Renaissance (a period that lasted from 1989 until Disney’s Tarzan in 1999). The Academy Award winning score was composed by Alan Menken, who collaborated with lyricist Howard Ashman on the songs.

It’s a big day in the undersea kingdom of Atlantica. The court composer Sebastian (a Jamaican crab) is putting on a concert starring the daughters of King Triton, with tonight being the debut of the youngest, Princess Ariel. King Triton, benevolent ruler of the Seven Seas, makes a grand entrance into the crowded concert hall in a seashell chariot pulled by several dolphins, lighting up the chandelier with a burst from his magical trident.

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King Triton is most excited for this concert as he’s been looking forward to Ariel’s first performance. Sebastian insists that he is excited too (though he quietly mumbles that it would be helpful if the princess attended more rehearsals). Despite his grumblings, Sebastian takes the stage and the show begins with six of Triton’s children appearing out of clam shells singing (appropriately enough) “Daughters of Triton”:

The Little Mermaid ‘Daughters of Triton’ (1989)

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Oh, we are the daughters of Triton
Great father who loves us and named us well:
Aquata
Andrina
Arista
Attina
Adella
Alana
And then there is the youngest in her musical debut
A seventh little sister, we’re presenting her to you
To sing a song Sebastian wrote, her voice is like a bell
She’s our sister Ari…

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Whoops! The concert comes to a crashing halt as the final clam shell opens to reveal…no one! Ariel isn’t here! Her sisters gasp in shock, the audience is befuddled, Sebastian is mortified and King Triton is understandably upset, bellowing out “ARIEL!!!” very angry that his youngest daughter has seemingly skipped out on an important event. Where IS Ariel? Well, as it turns out, she’s been busy hunting for human artifacts with her best friend Flounder (even though she’s been told repeatedly to stay away from anything related to humans).

Originally this scene was going to play out differently. In an earlier storyboard, the scene was going to start with Sebastian going backstage to check on the sisters as they are warming up for their performance. He would then notice that Ariel isn’t there and grow frantic when Andrina mentions that no one has seen her in quite some time. The crab races off to tell King Triton the bad news, but a spotlight illuminates him before he can reach the king, so the crab resigns himself to the inevitable and begins the show. It was decided that the scene would play better if Ariel’s absence was a complete surprise for everyone.

Due to how the scene ends, this is a rare example of a Disney song that ends abruptly (another good example is “A Girl Worth Fighting For” from Mulan).

I always found the ending of this scene to be awkward as a kid, with the way the music comes to a sudden halt and how awkward everyone acts with the revelation that Ariel has no-showed the concert. Now that I’m older I can appreciate this scene better, as it starts a quasi-tradition of Disney princesses not being where they’re expected to be (for example, Pocahontas isn’t waiting to meet her father when he comes back from battle; Mulan is late to meet the matchmaker, you get the idea).

What do you think of “Daughters of Triton”? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below 🙂

See also:

The Little Mermaid “Poor Unfortunate Souls” (1989)

The Little Mermaid “Vanessa’s Song” (1989)

For more Disney songs, check out the main page here

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂

Alice in Wonderland “The Un-Birthday Song” (1951)

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Alice in Wonderland- The Cheshire Cat

After a series of nonsensical encounters, Alice makes her way further into Wonderland and encounters the Cheshire Cat. Still determined to find the White Rabbit, Alice asks the Cheshire Cat if he knows where to find him. While the Cat doesn’t know himself, he advises Alice to ask either the Mad Hatter or the March Hare, who is also mad. When Alice objects at the idea of “going among mad people” the Cheshire Cat remarks that “Oh you really can’t help that, most everyone is mad here.” Knowing this, Alice decides to take a chance and visit the March Hare on the grounds that maybe he’s not quite as mad as a Mad Hatter.

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Alice in Wonderland “The Un-Birthday Song” (1951)

As it turns out, the choice doesn’t really matter because Alice ends up seeing both anyway, as the pair are having a tea party at the  home of the March Hare (along with their friend the Dormouse). And it’s not just any kind of party either, it’s an Un-Birthday party!! The trio are gathered at a long table lined with all kinds of chairs and an eccentric collection of tea sets, all raucously wishing each other a very merry un-birthday.

The Mad Hatter was voiced by Ed Wynn (perhaps best remembered as Uncle Albert, the man who laughed so hard he kept floating up to the ceiling in Mary Poppins (1964)). The March Hare was voiced by Jerry Colonna (who also narrated the Disney shorts Casey at the Bat (1946) and The Brave Engineer (1950)). The Dormouse was voiced by Jimmy MacDonald, who also happened to be the voice of Mickey Mouse at the time (he played the world’s most famous mouse from 1948 until 1977, taking over from Walt Disney when the latter’s voice grew too hoarse to perform as Mickey.)

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As I was saying, the trio were all busy singing about un-birthdays:

A very merry unbirthday to me!
To who?
To me!
Oh you!

A very merry unbirthday to you!
Who me?
Yes, you!
Oh, me!

Let’s all congratulate us with another cup of tea!
A very merry unbirthday to you!

Alice is delighted with the song, but the Hatter and Hare are initially not pleased with her appearance (they insist there’s “no room” at the enormous table); but they’re quickly won over when Alice remarks how much she enjoyed their singing at this “birthday party.” (You’ll note a running gag in this interlude is that Alice is very nearly handed a cup of tea several times only to have it jerked away at the last possible moment). When the insulted Hare, Hatter and Dormouse insist that this is an “Un-Birthday Party,” Alice admits she doesn’t even know what that is, prompting the Hare and Hatter to explain:

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Now, statistics prove, prove that you’ve one birthday
Imagine, just one birthday every year
Ah, but there are three hundred and sixty four unbirthdays!
Precisely why we’re gathered here to cheer

Alice chimes in: Then today is my unbirthday too!

It is?
What a small world this is.
In that case…
A very merry unbirthday,
To me?
To you!

A very merry unbirthday
For me?
For you!

Now blow the candle out my dear
And make your wish come true
A very merry unbirthday to you!

An interesting detail about this film is that it was nearly entirely shot in live action to serve as reference for the animators. Fortunately for us, the live action footage of the Mad Tea Party survived to the present day, and a talented YouTuber by name of Broadway Classixs synced the two pieces of footage together to show the origins of this hysterical scene.

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The Mad Tea Party: Live Action/Animated Comparison

With the song over, Alice is eager to ask the Hatter and Hare if they know where the White Rabbit is, but it soon becomes obvious that holding any type of rational conversation is a near-impossible task. For one, the Hatter and the Hare are constantly interrupting each other (or Alice); second, the group is constantly changing places around the table so they can get clean tea cups and third…there’s no need to look for the White Rabbit because he comes running directly by! Unfortunately for the Rabbit, the Hatter and Hare decide he simply must stay for tea…and also that his pocket watch needs fixing (with butter, jam, sugar and a healthy splash of tea). The miserable Rabbit, still complaining that he’s late, hurries off and a frustrated Alice follows, thoroughly fed-up with the antics of the Mad Hatter and the March Hare. Even though Alice sang wistfully about living in a nonsense world at the beginning of the story, she’s quickly finding out that actually living in a nonsense world is quite another matter altogether.

And that’s “The Un-Birthday Song”! I hope you enjoyed it, for more Alice in Wonderland, see the links below. And also let me know if you liked this song in the comments 🙂

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For more Disney songs, see here

See also:

Alice in Wonderland “Painting the Roses Red” (1951)

Alice in Wonderland “All in the Golden Afternoon” (1951)

Alice in Wonderland “In a World of My Own” (1951)

Alice in Wonderland (1951) takes us down the rabbit hole