Joshua Gizelt (swashbuckler332) wrote,
Joshua Gizelt

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The Missing

happy birthday

We've known each other now for longer than we were alive when we met.

These are two sequences from Fantasia that were deemed too offensive to continue to include in the film. They both feature Sunflower, a centaur of color who is occupying what is blatantly a servile position. The solution for most of the film's re-issues since 1969 had been to simply cut these sequences physically. This caused a break in the sound that is noticable in all but the 1982 and 1985 re-releases (which had a new digital recording* of the music presented in Dolby Stereo). Later releases and restorations (including the current DVD) zoomed in on the picture instead as so to crop Sunflower.

Disney has done their damndest to suppress this footage. While I understand their concerns, I also question the wisdom of whitewashing their past as well. Fantasia was made in 1940, and it reflects the mainstream values of that era, misguided as they may have been. While I certainly agree that the material is offensive, neither does it solve any problems by pretending that it didn't happen.

While the 60th Anniversary DVD of Fantasia features the complete interstitial sequences with Deems Taylor, unfortunately the audio could not be recovered. Since Taylor had since passed on, Corey Burton revoiced all of his lines. That means that the 50th Anniversary of the film, which was transferred from the 1990 release, itself a reconstruction of the 1946 re-issue, is the only version of the movie available on home video with Taylor's original line readings (albeit in truncated form) and any form of credit scroll. I have the CAV laserdisc, which had the Fantasound - a multichannel format that didn't replicate the recording space but rather followed on-screen action that was only ever used on the original 1940 roadshow presentations of this film - on the digital tracks but the 1941 monaural mixdown on the analog; similarly the VHS edition had Fantasound on the HiFi tracks but the mono mix on the linear tracks (which meant, interestingly, that this was one of the few cases on VHS of the HiFi tracks not being mono compatible). The Fantasound tracks are more aggressive on the LD and VHS, and is more in keeping with the descriptions of the original roadshow presentations than the 2000 restoration (which is what has been preserved on DVD).

* Irwin Kostal's re-recording of the music from Fantasia has been hailed as the first digital recording of music for a film. This is erroneous; the true first the score for another Disney production, the 1979 The Black Hole by John Barry.
Tags: birthday, cinema, movie moments

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