Academy to Screen Restored Bambi

While the recently re-issued Bambi has been a big seller on home video, many viewers have never had the pleasure of seeing the Disney classic on the big screen. Those who live in the Los Angeles area are in for a treat when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences screens a newly restored digital version of the 1942 cartoon favorite on Wednesday, June 15, at 8 p.m. in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

Author and film critic Leonard Maltin will moderate a panel discussion following the screening, during which legendary animator Ollie Johnston will be joined on stage by voice actors Donnie Dunagan (young Bambi), Peter Behn (young Thumper) and Cammie King (young Faline).

Presented as part of the Academy’s Gold Standard series, this version of Bambi was produced under the supervision of The Walt Disney Studios’ Preservation and Restoration Team. The exhaustive restoration process involved shooting surviving artwork housed at the studio’s Animation Research Library, utilizing the same techniques employed during the original photography. Technicians pulled the original nitrate negative from the Library of Congress archives and digitally scanned each frame at 4K resolution so they could be scrutinized and cleaned. The final restored picture was then re-color-corrected for digital cinema and high-definition video. In addition, the soundtrack was digitally cleaned up and re-mastered in 5.1 audio from the studio’s archived magnetic masters.

Based on a book by Felix Salten, Bambi tells the story of a fawn who loses his mother to a hunter’s bullet but ultimately matures into a leader among the animals of the forest. The film earned Academy Award nominations for Best Music Score of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture (Frank Churchill, Edward Plumb), Best Song ("Love Is a Song," music by Churchill; lyrics by Larry Morey) and Best Sound Recording (Walt Disney Studio Sound Department, Sam Slyfield, Sound Director).

Admission for this screening of Bambi is $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members. Tickets may be purchased in advance beginning June 1 by mail or in person at the Academy during regular business hours. If still available, tickets also may be purchased on the night of the screening when the doors open at 7 p.m. The Academy is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. For more information, call 310-247-3600 or go to www.oscars.org.

DisneyToon Studios is currently working on a sequel titled Bambi and the Great Prince of the Forest for an early 2006 DVD release.