Walt Disney Animation Collection: Classic Short Films, Vol. 6 - The Reluctant Dragon [DVD]

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Synopsis

The Reluctant Dragon
The very first Disney feature to include live-action footage, this behind-the-scenes documentary about the studio's animation process includes the cartoon short of the title, which in later years was often exhibited separately from this film. Robert Benchley stars as himself, a visitor to the Disney lot, where he intends to pitch an animated version of the children's fairy tale The Reluctant Dragon by Kenneth Grahame to Walt Disney himself. Benchley wanders away from his studio-appointed guide and tours the facilities himself, where he sees various new cartoons in the process of being storyboarded, including a Baby Weems short. Benchley also meets Clarence Nash, the voice of Donald Duck, and a young animator (played by Alan Ladd) before being corralled to Disney's screening room, where he is shown the company's new short, none other than The Reluctant Dragon. ~ Karl Williams, Rovi

Ferdinand the Bull
One of Disney's most famous and popular cartoon featurettes, Ferdinand the Bull is based on the 1936 children's book written by Munro Leaf and illustrated by Robert Lawson. In sunny Spain, little Ferdinand the bull does not want to scamper about and butt heads with his bovine brethern; a peaceful soul, he'd rather sit under his favorite tree and smell the flowers. Growing up to be very big and very strong, Ferdinand still has no desire to enter the bullring as his brothers do. But when five men in funny hats show up to pick the best of the herd for an upcoming bullfight, a bee's sting galvanizes Ferdinand into action, convincing the men that our hero is the boldest bull of all. Billed as "El Toro Ferocio", Ferdinand is forced into the bullring--only to stop dead in his tracks and smell the flowers once again, much to the dismay of the embarrassed Matador. One of the cartoon's highlights occurs at the bullring during the entrance of the Bandoleros and Picadors, all bearing a striking resemblance to the Disney animation staff--while the head matador is a spot-on caricature of Walt Disney himself! ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Johnny Appleseed
Living on a farm near Pittsburg Town in the early 19th century, young Johnny Chapman cares only about his apple trees, picking and harvesting the luscious red fruit while singing with his animal friends. Seeing a wagon train heading westward, Johnny would like to go along, but feels that he lacks the courage and perseverance of a true pioneer. Enter Johnny's red-bearded guardian angel, who advises our hero to go West and plant as many apple trees as humanly possible. Donning a tin pot for a hat (it not only provides comfort but comes in handy at dinnertime), Johnny Appleseed, as he is now known, spends the next forty years bringing bountiful apple crops to the Great Frontier. When time comes for him to shed his "mortal husk", Johnny again meets his guardian angel, who invites him to continue planting apple trees in the Great Beyond. Singer Dennis Day provides all the character voices and performs the original songs "The Lord is Good to Me" and "There's a Lot of Work to Do". Initially released in 1948 as a segment of the animated Disney feature Melody Time, Johnny Appleseed was reissued theatrically as a separate 19-minute featurette in 1955. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Goliath II
The protagonist of this Oscar-nominated Disney cartoon featurette is a very tiny elephant named Goliath II--so tiny, in fact, that he is hardly any bigger than one of his father's toenails. Alas, in elephant society the bigger you are the better you are, so Goliath II doesn't amount to much in his dad's eyes. But the mini-elephant's mom is proud of her son, and is certain that he will someday prove his worth--provided he doesn't get gobbled up by a crafty tiger. Ultimately, Goliath II becomes a hero when he is the only member of his elephant pack willing to stand up to a bullying mouse. The first Disney cartoon to use the Xerox animation process (later honed to perfection in 1961's 101 Dalmations), Goliath II also proved useful a few years later, when some of its "elephant march" footage was recycled in the 1967 cartoon feature The Jungle Book. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Robert Benchley
    Robert Benchley - Himself
  • Frances Gifford
    Frances Gifford - Doris Studio Artist
  • Image coming soon
    Buddy Pepper - Humphrey
  • Nana Bryant
    Nana Bryant - Mrs. Benchley
  • Claud Allister
    Claud Allister - Sir Giles

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