Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Disney's Magic (Part 4)

Original movie poster in 1959
Another main highlight of the Dreams Come True exhibition is the fairy tale of Sleeping Beauty. Again, versions of the fairy tale are known to date back as far as the fourteenth century, and it appears as the first story in Charles Perrault's Tales from Times Past, with Morals. Even though the Disney version is accredited to Charles Perrault's version of Sleeping Beauty, the film's version is more closely related to the Brothers Grimm story of Briar Rose in 1812. Why? The reason is that the Grimm version excluded the more gruesome elements from the Perrault version whereby the mother of the prince becomes an ogre who tries to eat her grandchildren and daughter-in-law (How sick is that mother! She's a cannibal who even eats her own relatives!). Besides that, the Grimm version ends with a happy note, i.e. Sleeping Beauty awakes, marries the prince and lives happily ever after (Again, the happy ending that I really like).

(As extracted from the exhibition) In the Brothers Grimm story, the princess sleeps for 100 years before a handsome prince enters the castle and awakens her with a kiss. In the Disney version, Princess Aurora is betrothed at birth to Prince Phillip, and they meet again by chance on Aurora's 16th birthday, although neither knows the other's true identity. This story adaptation established a romantic connection between the 2 characters that helped create an emotional climax at the end of the film.

The kiss that awakens Princess Aurora

The film was produced in 6 years' time. Different from Snow White and Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty was filmed in the newly developed Super Technirama 70 wide-screen format, thus giving opportunities for artists to experiment with rich colours and more detailed backgrounds. And when was Sleeping Beauty produced? Answer - 1959.

Early drafts of Princess Aurora
Certainly most of us can remember how well Princess Aurora and Prince Phillip sings, and the magical moment when Prince Phillip kisses Aurora to awake her from a deep (or almost forever) sleep. But one part of the movie that was the climax (in my opinion), was when Prince Phillip was fighting against the "Mistress of All Evil", Maleficient (was has turned into a dragon). I will always recall the spell that the 3 good fairies cast upon the prince's sword that defeated the evil witch - "Oh sword of truth, fly swift and sure, that evil die and good endure!”.

The sword aims correctly to Maleficent's heart

Of all the stirring legends of the triumph of good over evil, none has been so inspirational to me as Sleeping Beauty. - Walt Disney

So let's recall the characters in Sleeping Beauty. There's Princess Aurora, Prince Phillip, Maleficent, and the 3 fairies. The red fairy is Flora, the green fairy is Fauna and the blue fairy is Merryweather. And yes, do remember that Maleficent's original spell to Princess Aurora who was still an infant was "to prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and DIE before the sun sets on her 16th birthday". (Out of all her evil and malicious spells, the worst spell is only this?) But anyhow, the blue fairy,  Merryweather (who haven't give Aurora a gift yet), altered the evil witch's spell from death to a deep sleep (as she is not as strong as the evil witch), and later (as we all know the ending), Aurora is kissed by the prince, whereby she wakes up and they lived happily together (with the termination of Maleficent).

Mistress of All Evil - Maleficent

Flora, Fauna and Merryweather

Princess Aurora singing in the woods

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