Manual Fantasia

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Fantasia was first released in theatrical roadshow engagements held in thirteen U. It received mixed critical reaction and was unable to make a profit. In part, this was due to World War II cutting off the profitable European market, but due as well to the film's high production costs and the expense of leasing theaters and installing the Fantasound equipment for the roadshow presentations.

Also, audiences who felt that Disney had suddenly gone "highbrow" stayed away, preferring the standard Disney cartoons. The film was subsequently reissued multiple times with its original footage and audio being deleted, modified, or restored in each version. Walt's nephew Roy E. Disney co-produced a sequel released in titled Fantasia The film gained a huge cult following since its first release, and is notably important to film industry as a milestone in the creation of the modern "music video.

The host and narrator of the film, Deems Taylor, introduces each piece in the program and gives background on the original intent of the composer. There was no intent to deceive anyone into thinking that Disney's interpretation was the "original intent" of the composer. Some of the selections were shortened from their full length, for the sake of the film's running time. Of the eight pieces, four are presented virtually complete: Toccata and Fugue , The Sorcerer's Apprentice , the Dance of the Hours which is actually expanded , and the Ave Maria.

The Nutcracker Suite is shorn of its Miniature Overture and March , the twenty-five minute Rite of Spring the longest segment in the film is ten minutes shorter than the original minute work, and the Pastoral Symphony segment is performed in a minute version rather than Beethoven's complete minute original. There are also small internal omissions in Night on Bald Mountain. Fantasia begins immediately there are no opening credits or logos of any sort with the curtains being opened to reveal an orchestra stand.

Musicians are seen ascending the stand, taking their seats, and tuning their instruments. Master of ceremonies Deems Taylor arrives and delivers an introduction to the film. Conductor Leopold Stokowski appears and begins conducting the first strains of his own orchestration of the Toccata and Fugue in D Minor , by Johann Sebastian Bach originally written for solo organ. The first third of the Toccata and Fugue is in live-action and features an orchestra playing the piece, illuminated by abstract light patterns set in time to the music and backed by stylized and superimposed shadows.

The first few parts of the piece are played in each of the three sound channels first left, then right, then the middle, then all of them as a demonstration of Fantasound. The number segues into an abstract animation piece—a first for the Disney studio—set in time to the music. Toccata and Fugue was inspired primarily by the work of German abstract animator Oskar Fischinger, who had actually worked for a brief time on this segment. The animation segues back into the live-action footage of Stokowski as the piece concludes, setting the precedent for the rest of the musical numbers.

Although the Philadelphia Orchestra recorded the music for the film excepting The Sorcerer's Apprentice , they do not appear onscreen; the orchestra used onscreen in the film is made up of local Los Angeles musicians and Disney studio employees like Jimmy MacDonald and Paul Smith , who mime to the prerecorded tracks by Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Originally, the Philadelphia Orchestra was slated to be filmed in the introduction and interstitial segments, but the union and budgetary considerations prevented this from coming to pass. The Nutcracker Suite , a selection of pieces from Tchaikovsky's classic ballet, is a personified depiction of the changing of the seasons; first from summer to autumn, and then from autumn to winter. Unlike the ballet, this version has no plot. It features a variety of dances, just as in the original, but danced by animated fairies , fish, flowers, mushrooms, and leaves; no actual nutcracker is ever seen in this version.

Many elements are rendered carefully and painstakingly using techniques such as dry brush and airbrush. The musical segments are as follows:. As dawn breaks over a meadow, during the "Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy," tiny fairies sprinkle drops of dew on every flower and stern. A cluster of tiny mushrooms, dressed in long robes and coolie hats resembling Chinese plus one little mushroom always out-of-step , perform the "Chinese Dance. High-kicking thistles, dressed like Cossacks, and orchids dressed like lovely Russian peasant girls, join together for the wild "Russian Dance.

In the final musical segment, "Waltz of the Flowers," autumn fairies color everything they touch brown and gold with their wands. Then the frost fairies arrive and everything becomes part of an icy, jewellike pattern among falling snowflakes. One quaint novelty of the full-length roadshow version of Fantasia is that during his commentary on the Nutcracker Suite , Deems Taylor observes that the complete ballet The Nutcracker "is never performed anymore.

It is the story of wizard Yen Sid 's ambitious, but lazy, assistant who attempts to work some of the magical feats of his master before he knows how to properly control them. Mickey plays the role of the apprentice. In the original roadshow version, after Mickey leaves, Deems Taylor and the musicians are seen applauding Mickey and Stokowski. Disney's interpretation of The Rite of Spring features a condensed version of the history of the Earth from the formation of the planet to the first living creatures to the age, reign, and extinction of the dinosaurs.

The sequence showcased realistically animated prehistoric creatures including Tyrannosaurus Rex , Dimetrodon , Parasaurolophus , Apatosaurus , Triceratops , Ornithomimus , and Stegosaurus see list of dinosaurs used , and used extensive and complicated special effects to depict volcanoes, boiling lava, and earthquakes. The large carnivorous dinosaur attacking the Stegosaurus is a villainous Tyrannosaurus rex according to the preliminary introduction to the segment by Deems Taylor, and concept sketches by the artists. Disney also changed the order of the movements in the piece.

The segment, after beginning with the first, second, and third movements, omits the fourth and reorders all the others. The Danse de la terre is placed near the end of the cartoon rather than midway through the work. At the end, the orchestra replays the slow introduction to the Rite , which does not happen in the original work. The original ends with a violent Sacrificial Dance - also omitted in the Disney version - and an orchestral crash. The roadshow version of the film features a humorous moment omitted from the general release version. When Deems Taylor announces the title of the work, there is a sudden loud crash in the percussion section, and we see that the chimes player has accidentally fallen against his instrument.

He sheepishly gets up, to the amused chuckling of Taylor and the other musicians. Deems Taylor announces a fifteen-minute intermission following the conclusion of The Rite of Spring. The musicians are seen departing the orchestra stand, and the doors close to reveal a title card. In a proper roadshow of Fantasia , the theater's curtains would close simultaneously with the closing doors on the screen, and the title card would remain projected for fifteen minutes while the guests are briefly excused.

Following the intermission, the film would be started again. Onscreen, the stage doors are opened again, and Taylor and the orchestra musicians are seen returning to their respective places. After the intermission, there is a jam session of jazz music led by a clarinetist in the orchestra, followed immediately by the brief Meet the Soundtrack sequence which gives audiences a stylized example of how sound is rendered as waveforms to record the music for Fantasia.

The sequence features animation by effects animator Joshua Meador and his team, who give the soundtrack initially a squiggly line which changes into various shapes based on the individual sounds played on the soundtrack a distinct personality. The instruments are a harp, violin, flute, trumpet, bassoon, and percussion including the bass drum, snare drum, cymbals, and triangle. The Pastoral Symphony utilized delicate color styling to depict a mythical ancient Greek world of centaurs, families of pegasi, the gods of Mount Olympus, fauns, cupids, unicorns, and other legendary creatures and characters of classical mythology.

It tells the story of the mythological creatures gathering for a festival to honor Bacchus, the god of wine riding his horned donkey, Jacchus, which is disturbed by Zeus , who decides to amuse himself by throwing lightning bolts at the attendees.

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Disney originally intended to use Cydalise by Gabriel Piern as the music for the mythological section of the program. However, due to problems fitting the story to the music, the decision was made to abandon Cydalise for other music. This portion of the film was criticized for a brief yet blatant nudity on the part of the female centaurs.

Other criticisms center on the racial images of a female centaur servant named Sunflower, who is part African human, part donkey, and two attendants to Bacchus who are part African Amazons, part zebra. The servant has been excised from all prints in circulation since often by the use of pan and zoom, so the scene doesn't focus on her , although the clip has recently turned up on various blogs and internet media. The dancers of the morning are represented by Madame Upanova and her ostrich students. The dancers of the afternoon are represented by Hyacinth Hippo and her hippo servants.

For this section the piece is expanded by a modified and reorchestrated repetition of the "morning" music. The dancers of the sunset are represented by Elephanchine and her bubble-blowing elephant troupe. The dancers of the night are represented by Ben Ali Gator and his rival alligators. The finale sees the chaotic chase that ensues between all of the characters seen in the segment until they eventually decide to dance together. The Night on Bald Mountain segment is a showcase for animator Bill Tytla, who gave the demon Chernabog a power and intensity rarely seen in Disney films. The devil known as Chernabog summons from their graves, empowered restless souls.

The horror of the demons, ghosts, skeletons, vultures, ravens, firewomen, monstrous imps, witches, harpies, and other evil creatures in Night on Bald Mountain comes to an abrupt end with the sounds of church bells, which send Chernabog and his followers back into hiding, and the multiplane camera tracks away from Bald Mountain to reveal a line of faithful robed religious figures with lighted torches. The camera slowly follows them as they go through the forest and ruins of a cathedral to the sounds of Ave Maria.

The film ends with a final shot of a sunrise, shining beyond the horizon. In , Walt Disney felt that the studio's star character, Mickey Mouse , needed a boost in popularity. He decided to feature the mouse in The Sorcerer's Apprentice , a deluxe cartoon short based on the poem written by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and set to the orchestral piece by Paul Dukas, that was also inspired by the original tale.

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The concept of matching animation to classical music was used as early as in Disney's cartoon series, the Silly Symphonies , but he wanted to go beyond the usual slapstick, and produce shorts in which, as he put it, "sheer fantasy unfolds He just happened to meet Leopold Stokowski, conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra since , at a restaurant in Hollywood by chance and discussed his plans for the short.

Stokowski was happy to collaborate on the project and offered to conduct the piece at no cost. Following their meeting, Disney's New York representative ran into Stokowski on a train headed for the East. In writing to Disney, he reported that Stokowski was "really serious in his offer to do the music for nothing.

He had some very interesting ideas on instrumental coloring, which would be perfect for an animation medium. The union of Stokowski and his music, together with the best of our medium, would be the means of a success and should lead to a new style of motion picture presentation. The Sorcerer's Apprentice was to be promoted as a "special" and rented to theaters as a unique film, outside of the Mickey Mouse cartoon series.

An agreement signed by Disney and Stokowski on December 16, , allowed the conductor to "select and employ a complete symphony orchestra" for the recording. Disney hired a stage at the Culver Studios in California for the session. It began at midnight on January 9, , and lasted for three hours using eighty-five Hollywood musicians. Roy suggested keeping any additional costs to a minimum.

He said, "because of its very experimental and unprecedented nature This was the birth of a new concept, a group of separate numbers—regardless of their running time—put together in a single presentation. It turned out to be a concert—something novel and of high quality.

Ideas to produce a complete feature film were pursued in February , when inquiries were made to extend Stokowski's contract. In August, Disney asked Stokowski's representative to have him return to the studios to select material for the new film, which was initially titled The Concert Feature. The pair further thought of presenting the film with an on-screen host to introduce each number in the program. Both had heard composer and music critic Deems Taylor provide intermission commentary during radio broadcasts of the New York Philharmonic and agreed he would be most suitable for the role.

Disney did contact Taylor about the project, but by then work on Pinocchio , Bambi , and development on his new Burbank studio kept him too busy to work on the new feature. In a change of plans, Taylor was asked during a call on September 3, , leave to come to the studios as soon as possible. Taylor arrived at the studio one day after a series of meetings began to select the musical pieces for The Concert Feature. Disney made story writers Joe Grant and Dick Huemer gather a preliminary selection of music and along with Stokowski, Taylor, and the heads of various departments, discussed their ideas.

Each meeting was recorded verbatim by stenographers with participants being given a copy of the entire conversation for review. As selections were considered, a recording of the piece was located and played back at the next gathering. Disney did not contribute much to early discussions; he admitted that his knowledge of music was instinctive and untrained. In one meeting, he inquired about a piece "on which we might build something of a prehistoric theme It would be perfect for prehistoric animals.

There would be something terrific in dinosaurs, flying lizards, and prehistoric monsters.

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There could be beauty in the settings. On September 29, , around sixty of Disney's artists gathered for a two-and-a-half hour piano concert while he provided a running commentary about the new musical feature.

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A rough version of The Sorcerer's Apprentice was also shown that, according to one attendee, had the crowd applauding and cheering "until their hands were red. Disney had already begun working out the details for the segments and showed greater enthusiasm and eagerness as opposed to his skepticism while starting Pinocchio. Clair de Lune was soon removed from the Fantasia program, but Disney and his writers encountered problems of setting a concrete story to Cydalise.

Its opening march, "The Entry of the Little Fauns", attracted Disney to the piece which at first provided suitable depictions of fans he wanted. On January 5, , following a search for a stronger piece to fit the mythological theme, the piece was replaced with sections of Beethoven's sixth symphony.

Stokowski disagreed with the switch, believing that Disney's "idea of mythology Taylor, on the other hand, welcomed the change, describing it as "a stunning one", and saw "no possible objection to it. Stuart Buchanan then held a contest at the studio for a title that produced almost 1, suggestions including Bach to Stravinsky and Bach and Highbrowski by Stokowski.

Still, the favorite among the film's supervisors was Fantasia , an early working title that had even grown on Horne, "It isn't the word alone but the meaning we read into it. Animation on The Sorcerer's Apprentice began on January 21, , when James Algar , the director of the segment, assigned animator Preston Blair to work on the scene when Mickey Mouse wakes from his dream.

Each of the seven hundred members of staff at the time received a synopsis of the Goethe tale and were encouraged to complete a twenty-question form that requested their ideas on what action might take place. Layout artist Tom Codrick created what Dick Huemer described as "brilliantly colored thumbnails" from preliminary storyboard sketches using gouache paints, which featured the bolder use of color and lighting than any previous Disney short.

Mickey was redesigned by animator Fred Moore who added pupils for the first time to achieve greater ranges of expression. Most of the segment was shot in live action, including a scene where a UCLA athlete was asked to run and jump across one of the studio's sound stages with barrels in the way, which was used for reference when Mickey traverses through the water. Disney had been interested in producing abstract animation since he saw A Color Box by Len Lye from He explained the work done in the Toccata and Fugue was "no sudden idea Preliminary designs included those from effects animator Cy Young , who produced drawings influenced by the patterns on the edge of a piece of sound film.

In late Disney hired Oskar Fischinger, a German artist who had produced numerous abstract animated films, including some with classical music, to work with Young. Upon review of three leica reels produced by the two, Disney rejected all three. According to Huemer all Fishinger "did was little triangles and designs Too dinky, Walt said. Feeling his designs were too abstract for a mass audience, Fishinger left the studio in frustration, before the segment was completed, in October Disney had plans to make the Toccata and Fugue an experimental three-dimensional film, with audiences being given cardboard stereoscopic frames with their souvenir programs, but this idea was abandoned.

He drew with a music score pinned to his desk to work out the choreography so he could relate the action to the melody and the counterpoint, "those nasty little notes underneath The studio filmed professional dancers Joyce Coles and Marjorie Belcher wearing ballet skirts that resembled shapes of blossoms that were to sit above water for Dance of the Flutes. An Arabian dancer was also brought in to study the movements for the goldfish in Arab Dance.

An early concept for The Rite of Spring was to extend the story to the age of mammals and the first humans and the discovery of fire and man's triumph. John Hubley, the segment's art director, explained that it was later curtailed by Disney to avoid controversy from creationists, who promised to make trouble should he connect evolution with humans.

To gain a better understanding of the history of the planet the studio received guidance from Roy Chapman Andrews, the director of the American Museum of Natural History, English biologist Julian Huxley, paleontologist Barnum Brown, and astronomer Edwin Hubble. Animators studied comets and nebulae at the Mount Wilson Observatory and observed a herd of iguanas and a baby alligator that were brought into the studio.

The camera was kept at a low position throughout the segment to heighten the immensity of the dinosaurs. For inspiration on the routines in Dance of the Hours , animators studied real life ballet performers including Marge Champion and Irina Baronova. Animator John Hench was assigned to work on the segment but resisted as he knew little about ballet.

Disney then gave Hench season tickets to the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo with backstage access so he could learn more about it. As animator Bill Tytla disliked the results, he used his colleague Wilfred Jackson to pose shirtless which gave him the images he needed. There were ideas of releasing scents throughout the theater during Fantasia , including the smell of incense during Ave Maria. Over one thousand artists and technicians were used in the making of Fantasia , which features over characters. Segments were color-keyed scene by scene so the colors in a single shot would harmonize between proceeding and following ones.

Before a segment's narrative pattern was complete, an overall color scheme was designed to the general mood of the music and patterned to correspond with the development of the subject matter. The studio's character model department would also sculpt three-dimensional clay models so the animators could view their subject from all angles. Disney wanted to experiment with more sophisticated sound recording and reproduction techniques for Fantasia.

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We wanted to reproduce such beautiful masterpieces The stage was altered acoustically with double plywood semi-circular partitions that separated the orchestra into five sections to increase reverberation. Though as the production of Fantasia developed, the setup used for The Sorcerer's Apprentice was abandoned for different multi-channel recording arrangements.

On January 18, , Stokowski signed an eighteen-month contract with Disney to conduct the remaining pieces with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Recording began that April and lasted for seven weeks at the Academy of Music, the orchestra's home which was chosen for its excellent acoustics. In the recording sessions, thirty-three microphones were placed around the orchestra that captured the music onto eight optical sound recording machines placed in the hall's basement. Each one represented an audio channel that focused on a different section of instruments: cellos and basses, violins, brass, violas, and woodwinds and timpani.

The seventh channel was a combination of the first six while the eighth provided an overall sound of the orchestra at a distance. A ninth was later added to provide a click track function for the animators to time their drawings to the music. In the forty-two days of recording, , feet of film was used. When the finished recordings arrived at the studio, a meeting was held on July 14, , to allow the artists working on each segment to listen to Stokowski's arrangements, and suggest alterations in the sound to work more effectively with their designs.

The Disney brothers contacted David Sarnoff of RCA regarding the manufacture of a new system that would "create the illusion that the actual symphony orchestra is playing in the theater". Sarnoff backed out at first due to financial reasons but agreed in July to make the equipment so long as the Disneys could hold down the estimated , dollars in costs. Though it was not exactly known how to achieve their goal, engineers at Disney and RCA investigated many ideas and tests made with various equipment setups.

The collaboration led to the development of Fantasound , a pioneering stereophonic surround sound system which innovated some processes widely used today, including simultaneous multi-track recording, overdubbing, and noise reduction. Fantasound employed two projectors running at the same time.

With one containing the picture film with a mono soundtrack for backup purposes, the other ran a sound film that was mixed from the eight tracks recorded at the Academy to four: three of which contained the audio for the left, center, and right stage speakers respectively, while the fourth became a control track with amplitude and frequency tones that drove variable-gain amplifiers to control the volume of the three audio tracks. In addition were three "house" speakers placed on the left, right, and center of the auditorium that derived from the left and right stage channels which acted as surround channels.

As the original recording was captured at almost peak modulation to increase the signal-to-noise ratio, the control track was used to restore the dynamics to where Stokowski thought they should be. For this, a tone-operated gain-adjusting device was built to control the levels of each of the three audio tracks through the amplifiers.

The illusion of sound traveling across the speakers was achieved with a device named the "pan pot", which directed the predetermined movement of each audio channel with the control track. Mixing of the soundtrack required six people to operate the various pan pots in real time, while Stokowski directed each level and pan change which was marked on his musical score. To monitor the recording levels at lower frequencies, Disney ordered eight three-color oscillators from the newly-established Hewlett-Packard company, a predecessor from VU meters used today.

Between the individual takes, prints, and remakes, approximately three million feet of sound film was used in the production of Fantasia. Almost a fifth of the film's budget was spent on its recording techniques. RKO balked at the idea of distributing Fantasia , which it described as a "longhair musical", and believed its duration of two hours and five minutes plus intermission was too long for a general release.

It relaxed its exclusive distribution contract with Disney, who wanted a more prestigious exhibit in the form of a limited-run roadshow attraction. A total of thirteen roadshows were held across the United States; each involving two daily screenings with seat reservations booked in advance at higher prices and a fifteen-minute intermission.

Disney hired film salesman Irving Ludwig to manage the first eleven engagements, who was given specific instructions regarding each aspect of the film's presentation, including the setup of outside theater marquees and curtain and lighting cues. Technical Specs. Plot Summary. Plot Keywords. Parents Guide. External Sites. User Reviews. User Ratings. External Reviews. Metacritic Reviews. Photo Gallery. Trailers and Videos.

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Crazy Credits. Alternate Versions. Rate This. A collection of animated interpretations of great works of Western classical music. From metacritic. Top-Rated Movies for a Solar Eclipse. Favorite Movies of All Time. All Time Favorites. Films Seen: F. Share this Rating Title: Fantasia 7. Use the HTML below.

You must be a registered user to use the IMDb rating plugin. Learn more More Like This. Fantasia Animation Comedy Family. An update of the original film with new interpretations of great works of classical music. Pinocchio Directors: Norman Ferguson, T. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Animation Family Fantasy. Bambi Animation Drama Family. Alice in Wonderland Animation Adventure Family. The Jungle Book Peter Pan Sleeping Beauty Cinderella Lady and the Tramp Animation Adventure Comedy.

The romantic tale of a sheltered uptown Cocker Spaniel dog and a streetwise downtown Mutt. Dumbo One Hundred and One Dalmatians Pat O'Malley. Edit Cast Complete credited cast: Leopold Stokowski Taglines: The ultimate in sight and sound. Now, re-recorded in new digital stereo. Edit Details Official Sites: Official site.

Country: USA. Language: English. Runtime: min roadshow restoration min original roadshow release 80 min cut min VHS release min cut. Color: Color Technicolor. Edit Did You Know? Trivia Disney's third animated feature.