1963's The Sword in the Stone is Disney's animated take on Arthurian legend. In the midst of the Dark Ages, when England has no rightful ruler, a sword imbedded in a stone mysteriously appears in a London churchyard, bearing the inscription "Whoso pulleth out the sword of this stone and anvil is rightwise king born of England." Scores of would-be kings travel to London to attempt the feat and thereby claim the throne. They all fail. Years later, in the English countryside, an 11-year-old squire nicknamed Wart (Rickie Sorensen) is devotedly helping his incompetent foster brother, Kay (Norman Alden), train to become a knight, when he meets the great magician Merlin (Karl Swenson). The well meaning, but absentminded, wizard declares himself Wart's mentor and claims that he will lead the boy to his destiny. Spirited and full of spunk, Wart (whose real name is Arthur) approaches Merlin's lessons with the same determination that he applies to Kay's hopeless training and to the monotonous chores he is assigned by his guardian. He soon finds himself accompanying Kay to London for a jousting tournament that will determine England's new king. There, Wart forgets to bring Kay's weapon to the joust, but finds an abandoned sword in a nearby churchyard -- which he effortlessly pulls out of a stone.~Aubry Anne D'Arminio
Finally got my bluray copy of this Disney classic that holds up to this day. I remember watching this on Vhs as a kid... and loving it so much that I would always rewind the tape and rewatch all day. Now I could enjoy it with the nice picture restoration and sound, and also without the hassle of rewinding. Great addition to Disney collection!
"The Sword in the Stone" is a wonderful Disney picture. Animated and only 79 minutes long, it is perfect entertainment for children and good solid entertainment for adults.
This movie is adapted from a book of the same title (written by T.H. White). Mr. White's book follows the early life of a famous British folklore hero, King Arthur (a legendary monarch of the 6th century). Bill Peet, a Disney animator and writer, wrote the adaptation and did an outstanding job. His writing is very very good. The script is clever and insightful and it has a delicate charm and a depth of goodness.
According to the story, a sword is magically thrust deep into an anvil that sits on top of a large stone. It is decreed (on the sword itself) that who-so-ever is able to remove the sword from the stone shall be anointed king of England. Many men try ... but they all fail. Then, after a long time has passed, a youth named Arthur appears on the scene and, miraculously, he pulls the sword from the stone ... and then is made ruler over all of England.
The story also includes another legendary character ... Merlin (a wizard & magician). Merlin is wise, powerful ... and dotty. He foresees the arrival of the twelve year old Arthur and he feels that it is fore-ordained duty to be the boy's teacher/mentor/companion to guide the lad toward some mysterious destiny.
Merlin, Arthur, and Merlin's pet owl Archimedes (who can talk) then embark on three magical adventures (the squirrel scene ... the second adventure ... is simply delightful). After these "educational" adventures are completed the movie moves swiftly to the dramatic moment of Arthur and the sword.
Throughout the story there are, of course, bad guys (and bad creatures), but no danger is too serious or too scary and the bad guys are never allowed to win ... even temporarily. Whether it is Sir Ector or Kay or a wolf, he (the bad guy) always falls victim to some misfortune (which is fun, of course). Walt Disney was not always so benevolent in his films. Take "Pinocchio" for example, where the bad guys are allowed to prevail for most of the movie (which definitely detracts from the movie's appeal).
The voice characterizations in "The Sword in the Stone" are very good. Karl Swenson provides the voice of Merlin, and he is wonderful. I guess it was his 30 years of experience in films and (more particularly) radio that enabled him to do such an excellent job, but it is a truly remarkable and enjoyable voice performance. Junius Matthews does the voice for Archimedes the owl, and he is superb. Sebastian Cabot provides the voice for Arthur's boisterous, self-important, crass, and uncouth master Sir Ector ... and this would be the usually refined, articulate, and dignified actor Sebastian Cabot ("We should call it 'Untidy Joseph' rather than 'Sloppy Joe'" - from his role as Mr. French in "Family Affair"). Martha Wentworth does the voice of the evil Madame Mim ... and she is a delight!
All in all, "The Sword in the Stone" gives us very good entertainment, and it merits repeated viewings.
This is the classic 1963 Disney animated film. It is a sweet and wonderful imagining of the classic story, completely Disneyfied. This AIN'T the Guy Ritchie version! :)
A highlights is the Wizard's Battle between Merlin and Madam Mim! Rarely has there been a beter visual demonstration of the phrase "knowledge is power". :)