Sunday, October 21, 2007

Subversive Cinema: Disney Psychedelica

Rarely would a Disney film be categorized as being "Subversive", but as usual there are exceptions.

Case in point #1: Fantasia, 1940

Fantasia broke all the barriers. It not only challenged the visual potential (in Technicolorâ„¢!) of large scale animation motion pictures, but it heavily experimented with the possibilities of pairing classical music (in stereo!) with animation.

In fact, Disney sunk so much money into the project that it took 6 releases before the film turned a profit.

It is no coincidence that it was the 1969 re-release that finally made the film profitable. Since the film became popular among users of marijuana and LSD, Disney was able to re-brand Fantasia as a "Trip Film". The campaign was successful, as the youth flocked to the theaters (high or not) to experience this masterpiece.

The film not only captured the psychedelic look 25 years before the popularization of LSD, but it also became the first music video (film).

There have been many edits to Fantasia because of racial stereotypes, sound/picture presentation, and length. The version that is closest to the original release version is the 60th Anniversary DVD released in 2000. Just don't bug out during the "Night on Bald Mountain" sequence.

-Klax

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