Monday, June 30, 2014

Dumbo (1941)

Disney's only perfect film, and one of the few perfect films ever made. It's a deceptively brilliant movie, its script a masterpiece of construction, with an economic use of dialogue, flawless animation, inspired character design, memorable songs (aided by Edward Plumb's clever orchestrations), and expert voice acting (particularly by Edward Brophy as the mouse). In its running time of just over an hour, DUMBO packs an incredible emotional wallop, managing to be funny, heartbreaking and devastatingly honest in a way that very few films have the guts to be.

The production process was relatively quick and cheap due to the expensive flop of FANTASIA the previous year, and as a result, the film has a sense of off-the-cuff inventiveness and experimentation missing from the other, more elaborate Disney films of this period. This is most evident in the unforgettable "Pink Elephants on Parade" number, probably the most singularly weird sequence in all of the Disney movies and a tour-de-force of animation.

A masterpiece at every level.

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