Category Archives: Disney

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

Lady and the Tramp is another classic Disney film that is sadly falling by the wayside as more and more time goes on, but it has one of the more disturbing situations in the Disney canon.

Set in 1909/1910, the story follows Lady, a cocker spaniel, whose happy life with Jim Dear and his wife Darling is upended when Darling becomes pregnant and has a baby boy. With all of the attention focused on the new baby, Lady begins to feel neglected for the first time in her life. Not only that, but a brash stray named Tramp keeps nosing his way into her life as well.

Now, looking at this film, some might think that the “villain” of this film is Aunt Sarah, the mean lady with the Siamese cats, who muzzles Lady, and later locks her out of the house and keeps her tied in the yard. However, Aunt Sarah isn’t acting out of malice, she’s just being manipulated by her cats and what she believes to be right. No, the real villain of this story…is the RAT!

I can hear it now, “Rat? What rat??”

Lady-tramp-disneyscreencaps_com-7589

THAT rat!! (He’s an ugly thing isn’t he??)

The rat first appears early in the film when Lady is seen going about her morning routine (before Darling becomes pregnant and has her baby). He keeps trying to get in the house, but Lady is always there to chase him off. However, at the end of the film, when Aunt Sarah has Lady tied to the doghouse, the rat is able to slip in with ease, despite Lady barking a frantic warning (that Aunt Sarah ignores). And where is the ugly rat going? To the baby’s room of course!! Yes, that’s right, there’s a disease-ridden rat headed for the baby’s room to do only God knows what. Totally messed up right? Just wait, it gets better.

Lady and the Tramp: The Rat Scene (1955)

Of course Tramp comes barreling into the yard a short time later and Lady is able to tell him about the rat. Tramp goes to make the save and then we see this:

Lady-tramp-disneyscreencaps_com-7788

I wish I could get a zoom in on this rat perched on the baby’s crib, looking down at the infant like he’s going to.. *shudders* oh Disney  why do you DO these things??? It’s not that the rat actually does anything, it’s the implication of what’s going to happen that makes this moment so disturbing. (And there’s also that frightening fight between Tramp and the rat that is done mostly in shadow that is SUPER disturbing too.)

Lady-tramp-disneyscreencaps_com-7760

What do you think about the rat in Lady and the Tramp? Do you find it disturbing as well, or is it no match for what we see in Disney today? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, I’d love to hear about it 🙂

For more Disturbing Disney, see here

The 2nd Annual Remembering James Horner blogathon is coming in June, check out the sign up page here

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂 (we made it past 100 likes, you guys are awesome!!)

Beauty and the Beast (2017)

btb_teaser2_1-sheet_v4_lg-720x1066

This is also my 600th post, how cool is that?!

After a long month of delays and “life happening”, I was FINALLY able to go see Beauty and the Beast in the theater and see what all the hype and fuss is about. The short answer is: I liked it!! The long answer…well, keep reading, because I have some thoughts about all of this.

First I will start with what I liked.

The casting: Disney nailed the casting in my opinion, especially with Belle, Maurice, Gaston and Beast. Luke Evans in particular was very believable as the egomaniacal and downright despicable Gaston, though his singing style caught me by surprise (more on that in a minute). I really liked Josh Gad as Le Fou too. And while I initially wasn’t too sure about Le Fou being the first gay character in Disney canon, once I saw it, I realized that it worked super well and it isn’t “in your face” at all! And Gaston is so oblivious to it all that it is really quite funny.

An expanded story: I absolutely loved that Disney filled in some gaps in the story with this version. Showing the Beast’s transformation (including what came immediately before) was well done, as it gave a good idea of what life in the castle was like before the Enchantress came. And speaking of, I liked that we see more of the Enchantress beyond the prologue. Of course in the animated film we don’t get to “see” the Enchantress at all, we only see her depicted in the stained glass pictures. But when “Agathe” rescued Maurice and took him to her home in the woods, I knew instantly that this had to be the Enchantress in disguise, because witches and other magical types would be living in the woods with owls and other magical things, and the only witch in this story is the Enchantress. But most of all, I really love that we finally got a backstory for Belle as to where she came from and why she and her father had to come to “this poor provincial town” in the first place. In this version, Maurice used to be a painter living in Paris with his wife and newborn daughter, when his wife contracted the plague, forcing Maurice to flee with his daughter so they didn’t all die.

Another added twist (that actually comes from the Broadway play) that I liked is that every time a rose petal falls, the castle crumbles a little more and the enchanted servants become ever more object-like. And I have to say that the scene where our enchanted friends momentarily become regular objects made me cry, because for a moment I thought they were going to give us an unhappy ending.

Homage to the past: As I suspected, this film pays homage to Cocteau’s 1946 version of the Beauty and the Beast story, primarily with Maurice’s initial encounter with the castle, and also somewhat in the look of the castle too. For example, those lights out front that are held by stone arms? That image comes straight from the 1946 film. The rose pavilion out front with statues of the deer and hounds on top? That too is copied almost exactly from the film. In fact, the entire arrangement of Maurice being allowed to come in and help himself to food and shelter, only being attacked when he dares to take a rose, is the exact set-up seen in the 1946 film.

The music: Of course I’m going to be all over this music, the original Beauty and the Beast soundtrack is one of my favorite film soundtracks ever, and I was happy to hear the music I loved largely unchanged. And the new songs were all beautiful, nothing felt out of place. I do have one gripe however; when Belle goes to the West Wing, the iconic “West Wing theme” is missing. I was really disappointed as that is one of my favorite musical cues from the animated film.

Now for what I didn’t like:

The fight between Gaston and the Beast: maybe I’m nitpicking, but the entire scene with Gaston, the Beast and Belle at the end of the film didn’t carry nearly the same emotional weight as the original did. I’m not sure why that is, but Gaston’s death didn’t feel nearly as satisfying, nor did his fatal attack on the Beast. For that last part, I think that had something to do with the fact that it was more shocking for the Beast to be stabbed in the side than to be shot in the back at a distance. Also, Gaston standing on the crumbling rampart felt something like an afterthought. Truthfully, when I saw that we were seeing more of the Enchantress, I was secretly hoping that she was going to punish Gaston by cursing HIM instead. Or, barring that, I was curious to see if Disney would use the original plan for Gaston’s death, which involved him being stalked and killed by wolves.

How Gaston gets Maurice locked up, and Belle’s attempted rescue: In the animated original, Maurice really does come across (a little bit) as an insane person raving about a Beast taking his daughter. But in THIS version, Gaston tries to have Maurice killed by tying him up and leaving him in the woods, thinking the wolves will get him. When Maurice makes it back to town almost a week later, he tells the townspeople exactly what happened and they are all suspicious of Gaston (and rightfully so). But simply because Gaston says it didn’t happen, the townspeople just take his word for it? I know everyone is supposed to hang on every word Gaston says, but this really is pushing it. And then there’s when Belle comes racing in, still in her ball gown, to rescue her father. You would think everyone would take one look at the sumptuous clothes she’s dressed in and realize, “Oh my gosh, I don’t understand how, but she’s telling the truth!” Nope! Belle gets thrown in the padded wagon too.

But these are really only minor nitpicks for me. While I do admit that I still like the animated film better, I can also say that this Beauty and the Beast was a well-done adaptation.

Final thoughts:

Le Fou switching sides during the fight in the castle was just epic, as was Mrs. Potts comment “You’re too good for him (Gaston)”

The transformation scene was just wonderful/amazing/spectacular. And I loved the shot where the castle is restored to its former glory.

Once again, I did enjoy Beauty and the Beast, it is a good film, if not quite the equal of the animated original.

For more of my quick and random thoughts on films, see here

The 2nd Annual Remembering James Horner blogathon is coming in June, check out the sign up page here

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

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

Ever since the Evil Queen fell screaming to her death in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), there has been a tradition of Disney villains meeting a particularly gruesome fate by the end of the story. And few are more gruesome or disturbing than what happens to Dr. Facilier in The Princess and the Frog (2009).

“Friends on the Other Side (reprise”/Facilier’s Demise (2009)

Facilier is a witch doctor operating in New Orleans, making a living by promising his “clients” one thing and then trapping them into something else entirely. His latest victims are Prince Naveen and Tiana, who have both been turned into frogs. But they’re small fry compared to Facilier’s big plan: capturing the souls of everyone in New Orleans for his “friends on the other side”, the dark voodoo spirits. These spirits are impatient for Facilier to deliver what he has promised and at one point make it clear that if the witch doctor does not deliver, then it will be HIS soul in jeopardy.

Facilier makes a deal with his “friends”

Fast forward to the climax of the film: Facilier tempts Tiana with everything she ever wanted if she will only give back a magic amulet that allows the witch doctor’s current spells to work. When Tiana refuses and attempts to smash the amulet, Facilier changes her back into a frog (he’d temporarily made her human again) and prepares to finish her off. But having learned about what it means to be a frog, Tiana uses her sticky tongue to seize the amulet back and smashes it into oblivion!!

This is a big problem for Facilier. The voodoo spirits had made it clear that they would not help him any more once they gave him that amulet, he would have to deliver what he promised….or else. But with the amulet smashed, it was now impossible for Facilier to deliver New Orleans to the voodoo spirits, so the spirits come to collect Facilier in their place.

Princess-disneyscreencaps.com-9485

Welcome to Hell Dr. Facilier

As someone brilliantly commented on YouTube, “when a villain’s theme song is used against them, you know they’re screwed.” The voodoo spirits come crawling out of the earth, singing a refrain from Facilier’s song “Friends on the Other Side”, and keep asking “Are you ready?” , to which Facilier keeps pleading that he is NOT ready, this is only “a minor setback in a major operation”, he can still deliver what the spirits want, “I just need a little more time” he pleads. But then the head voodoo spirit appears and his glare makes it clear, he is DONE with waiting. The shadows literally grab hold of Facilier and drag him screaming to Hell via the mouth of the head voodoo spirit. The entire way Facilier is pleading for his life, screaming “I promise I’ll pay ya’ll back, I PROMISE!!” And with a final scream, he is pulled into Hell and the mouth of the voodoo spirit slams shut!!

The scene gives me goosebumps every single time I watch it. For all the bravado Facilier has shown up until now, he is completely terrified when he realizes that the voodoo spirits are coming for HIM and him alone.

It’s really a disturbing way to go, being dragged alive into Hell, where he’ll suffer who knows what for all eternity. And this is why Dr. Facilier’s demise is part of the list of Disturbing Disney. What do you think of Facilier’s death at the hands of the voodoo spirits? Does it send chills down your spine? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear what you think about it 🙂

For more Disturbing Disney, check out the main page here

The 2nd Annual Remembering James Horner Blogathon is coming, check out the sign up page here

And don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂

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

The_whale_who_wanted_to_sing_at_the_met_3large

The Whale Who Wanted to Sing At the Met (1946)

Make Mine Music is the 8th animated feature in the Disney canon and for the most part has been completely forgotten today. Unlike other animated films, which consist of a single story, Make Mine Music is an anthology, that is, it is a collection of unrelated animated shorts that all heavily feature music in some way. The most famous short from this film (in my opinion) is Peter and the Wolf (narrated by Sterling Holloway), but the finale piece is what I’d like to draw to your attention.

11

The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met (quite the mouthful to say) concludes Make Mine Music and is without a doubt one of the most disturbing pieces of animation you will ever see. The story is about Willie, a large sperm whale who has the gift of singing grand opera and dreams of starring at the famous Metropolitan Opera in New York City (how a whale would do that I don’t know, but it’s Disney so why not?). As Willie continues to sing for any ships that pass by (or for the local seagulls), word eventually spreads back to the city that there is a whale with tremendous operatic talent. This news reaches the ears of the famed head of the Metropolitan opera, Tetti-Tatti, who quickly (and wrongly) deduces that Willie must have SWALLOWED a talented opera singer, and he must go rescue him straight away!!

Disney-willie-the-operatic-whale-the-whale-who-wanted-to-sing-at-the-met-make-mine-music-Old-Met-Opera-House

Tetti-Tatti sails out with a harpoon boat to “rescue” the (non-existent) opera singer, and Willie, thinking this is an audition, goes to perform for him. The crew, enthralled by Willie’s singing, does everything they can to stop Tetti-Tatti from firing the harpoon (up to and including sitting on him). We then see a montage of Willie’s operatic career, implying that Tetti-Tatti changed his mind and accepted that Willie COULD sing opera.

But then…just as Willie is performing the role of Mephisto from Faust, we see Tetti-Tatti appear amongst the flames (Mephisto is a devil), harpoon poised to strike…and then he fires!!!! In the midst of his singing Tetti-Tatti fires and KILLS WILLIE!!!!! I mean brutally kills him too, there’s a shot of Willie thrashing away over the sea, harpoon embedded (albeit it’s at a great distance, we can’t see it clearly) and then the sad truth that a great talent has been extinguished forever, on Earth anyway. The “silver lining” is that Willie can sing on forever in Heaven (hence his appearance below as a member of the heavenly choir) but for me that doesn’t make up for the fact that a singing whale was killed, KILLED!!! Up until this point it was just another cartoon, you don’t expect the main character to actually DIE!!

13Yes, I know they called the story “tragic” from the outset, but “tragic” doesn’t have to equal death. I mean come on Disney!! Let me tell you, when I first saw this, the ending traumatized me, and that’s why this story belongs in the list of “Disturbing Disney.”

I am dying of curiosity to know what you think of this cartoon (I’ve provided a link at the top) and of the ending. Did it disturb you just as much as it does me? Please let me know in the comments below.

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??

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

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

Correct me if I’m wrong, but at times I think Cruella de Vil is severely underrated as a Disney villain. Granted she doesn’t have any magic powers or an army of minions to do her bidding (Jasper and Horace are bumbling nimrods at best), but she DOES have one of the more disturbing plots to ever take place in a Disney film. And she nearly gets away with it too!

21

One thing that must be understood about Cruella is that she is obsessed with fur (remember they made this film back in 1961 when real fur coats were very much a common thing) of all kinds, it is all she lives for. Cruella also comes from a great deal of money (considering there’s a huge dilapidated mansion that belongs to her) and is obviously used to getting whatever she wants, whenever she wants. Therefore, when Roger and Anita refuse to sell her their dog’s newborn litter of puppies, Cruella explodes into a rage, declaring that she will “get even” with them. So when the puppies are stolen several months later, it doesn’t take much to make the connection that Cruella had everything to do with it.

DalmatianPuppies

You have to be evil to want to hurt puppies

But why? What does a spoiled heiress need with Dalmatian puppies? In fact, what does she need with 99 Dalmatian puppies? The truth is horrifying: Cruella wants to make COATS out of the puppies! Let that sink in for a minute: this nasty woman wants to have 99 adorable puppies killed, skinned and turned into spotted coats that she can wear. This isn’t merely disturbing; this borders on the sociopathic!! And what’s worse, she wants Jasper and Horace to do the deed. Look at Jasper and Horace for a second:

Full_101-dalmatians-disneyscreencaps.com-3006

I give you the original Dumb and Dumber

Do those idiots look capable of skinning ANYTHING, let alone 99 puppies? Sure, they talk about killing the puppies first by “knocking them on the head” but I have severe doubts in their ability to do it properly. And speaking of, the villains get THIS close to actually starting the process. Just before Pongo and Perdita literally crash into the room, Jasper and Horace have the puppies (plus Sgt. Tibbs the cat) cornered, ready to begin striking them down.

Surprisingly, it wasn’t until about five years ago that I was struck by the full magnitude of what Cruella wanted to do. I’m not sure why that is, except to say that it’s one thing to hear the words “She’s going to make coats out of us” and quite another to understand exactly what those words mean. And this is in a children’s film!! I wonder how kids watching this film in 1961 reacted if/when they figured out what Cruella was trying to do (I bet it wasn’t pretty).

Cruella’s plot to murder a lot of puppies is dark and disturbing and rightly deserves a place in this series. What do you think of Cruella’s twisted plot? Let me know in the comments below, and have a great rest of the day 🙂

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)

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

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

The final act of Bambi does not lack for ‘disturbing moments’ especially when you consider that in short order: Man attacks the forest en masse, causing total hysteria among the animals; Bambi gets shot; and the entire forest is set on fire, compelling the surviving forest creatures to run for their lives. But the moment I would like to focus on happens in the midst of all this, during Man’s attack, but before the forest is set on fire.

Faline vs. the dogs (1942)

Due to a series of events, Bambi and Faline have become separated and in the chaos are frantically searching for each other. And during a sudden lull in the shooting (which in retrospect is a sign that things are about to get worse), Faline bounds over a hill only to discover…the dogs. And just calling them ‘dogs’ alone is an understatement, these are killers!!

Man'sDog

I mean look at them: fangs bared, angry eyes, these dogs will rip apart anything they can catch, including Faline!! What makes this moment disturbing for me is that regular dogs have been turned into savage monsters by the studio. This, combined with the heart-pounding accompaniment of chase music, adds up to a scene that had me simultaneously engrossed and terrified.

The scariest (and most disturbing part) comes when the dogs have Faline cornered on a tiny ledge:

Bambi-disneyscreencaps.com-6901

It’s a terrifying scene: only a few inches of rock are keeping Faline from those dogs and they’re not giving up! I’m very thankful this scene did not traumatize me for life in regards to dogs (because it could very easily do that).

Thankfully, Bambi comes to rescue Faline and the danger passes. And yet…the image of those dogs lunging up at Faline has stayed with me for a very long time.

What do you think of the scene where the dogs hunt and chase Faline? Let me know in the comments below. I’m feeling much better now so blogging should be back to normal 🙂

For more Disturbing Disney, see here

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

Disturbing Disney #5: The death of Bambi’s Mother (1942)

If you ask most of the young adults in my generation when and how they first learned about death in film; the answer is more than likely to be Mufasa’s death in The Lion King (1994). But 52 years before that tragic event, Disney set the bar for the disturbing and upsetting when it came to the death of Bambi’s mother in Bambi (1942). In fact, my grandmother, who saw Bambi in the theater at a very young age, recounted to me once that this scene had all the young children in the theater in tears (and I don’t blame them at all). Because it is so upsetting and so blunt in how it presents death, I have made this scene part of the list of Disturbing Disney moments.

The death of Bambi’s mother (1942)

Prior to this scene, Bambi has been experiencing his very first winter and it hasn’t been going well. There’s hardly any food to eat; and after the initial fun of playing in the snow, Bambi finds himself longing for the warmth and greenery to return. Bambi’s mother promises that spring will come soon and sure enough, one day they arrive at the meadow to find the first shoots of spring grass peeking up through the snow. So far so good right? Well no sooner do they start eating then the ominous “Man is coming” music starts. This theme is the only musical hint we ever have that Man is coming (he is never seen onscreen). Bambi doesn’t notice the danger, but his mother does and she quickly tells her son to run for safety!

bambimother3

This is where the scene begins to enter the disturbing. As Bambi runs for it, he turns to look back at his mother and hears these last words “Faster, faster Bambi! Don’t look back! Keep running, KEEP RUNNING!” Right before these words, the pair has already dodged one gunshot, and just after Bambi’s mother disappears offscreen, you hear it: a solid gunshot indicating a hit. But Bambi keeps running, not realizing anything has happened until he reaches the thicket, turns around and realizes…his mother isn’t there. The pain in the moment when Bambi goes from happiness (“We made it mother!”) to questioning (“Mother?!”) is heartwrenching. When I was younger, I had a very hard time watching this part of the movie. In fact, I can dimly recall being young enough to not quite understand what had happened to Bambi’s mother (and when I asked my mother all she would tell me was “keep watching”).

tumblr_mpej3nAmy71rcb0d2o1_500

Disney does provide one moment of hope at the end of this scene: after a long search through the forest, Bambi encounters his father, the Great Prince of the Forest, who solemnly tells him “your mother can’t be with you anymore” and formally takes his son under his wing. This is the last time we see Bambi as a young fawn; he’ll next appear as a young buck (antlers and all).

As sad and messed up as this scene is (keep in mind, Bambi right now is the equivalent of a 5- year-old human child), it was originally going to be ten times worse. In an earlier version of the script, Bambi was supposed to notice the shot, double back and find his mother lying in a pool of her own blood (whether she was already dead or dying is not specified). Walt Disney vetoed the idea on the grounds that would be going too far and the moment was cut (which is good, because otherwise, this scene would’ve been #1 in the series).

I suppose it could be argued that this scene is more sad than disturbing, but I felt it needed to be added to this series. What do you think of the death of Bambi’s mother? Did it greatly upset you, were you old enough to understand what had happened? Let me know in the comments below! I’m glad everyone is enjoying this series 🙂 The next installment will also be from Bambi and covers a small moment that always had me on the edge of my seat. Until then, have a good rest of the day!

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)

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