If you live in the L.A. area and haven’t had a chance to see the 70mm widescreen presentation of the restored I print, time is running out. Sunday is the last day of screenings at the El Capitan Theatre at Hollywood and Highland.
Regarded by many as Disney’s most stylized feature, the 1959 classic looks and sounds amazing. With this rare opportunity to see it as it was meant to be seen, adults and children alike will be captivated by this fairy tale brought to life by the animation pioneers at Disney.
Ollie Johnston, one of the few surviving “9 Old Men” of Disney, was present at the El Capitan for the opening gala on Aug. 22. He notes that Walt Disney gave the animators a great deal of creative freedom on Sleeping Beauty. He says, "Walt would come into the meeting, thump on the desk a little and say, ‘we’ve got to keep this from being too much like Cinderella or Snow White. Keep working.’ Then he’d leave." According to Johnston, they took that freedom and ran with it. He says defiantly, and to much applause, "We went ahead and did it the way we wanted to, not the way he wanted."
For animators, Sleeping Beauty is a study in style and design. Noted author and critic Charles Solomon encourages viewers to "look at the way the animators use design and how it’s not built on circles and ovals, but more angular shapes." He points out how Directing Animator Marc Davis "is always finding patterns in motion, lines and design," and likens the film to a stained glass painting in its use of flat images, as opposed to trying to create a 3D world.
Screenings are scheduled daily at 12:00 noon, 2:30, 5:00 and 7:00 p.m. through Sunday, Sept. 8.