If you happen to check out the new Blu-ray edition of Disney’s classic animated feature The Sword in the Stone which comes out on Tuesday (Aug. 6) you’ll be able to check out an alternative opening to the 1963 movie. Directed by Disney veteran Wolfgang Reitherman, the pic offered an animated take on the legend of King Arthur. It’s also the last theatrical animated project that was released when Walt Disney was still alive.
Based on the T.H. White novel, the pic followed the adventures of young orphan Wart and his mentor Merlin the wizard as he fulfills his destiny as the king who unites England after pulling the sword out of the stone. In the alternative opening, the evil witch Madam Mim sends a raven to seek out the lost prince Arthur. Wart’s brother Kay lets him shoot an arrow, the raven seizes it in midair and Kay orders Wart to retrieve it. The raven draws him deep into the forest so the witch and the Black Knight can get Wart in their clutches, but Merlin ends up rescuing him. The alternative opener is darker than the original and lacks the classic’s magical touch, but it’s always great to be able to look inside the Disney vaults for tidbits like these!
Here’s a clip from the original pic: