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Together again - or not, in the Headless Horseman's case!
on 20 December 2010
This review is from: The Adventures Of Ichabod And Mr Toad  [DVD] (DVD)
The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr Toad was another of Disney's features that were really a compilation of shorts, although in this case its seven reel running time is made up of just two stories boasting star narrators. Basil Rathbone makes the case for Toad of Toad Hall being one of the greatest characters in English literature, though the half hour animated version of The Wind and the Willows loses much of the charm and whimsy of the original story in favor of something simpler and more energetic. It's not bad at all taken on its own terms, and Eric Blore is perfect voice casting as Toad, but a little more attention to the story would have been welcome: Toad's prison escape dressed as a washerwoman is all but skipped over when it should have been a gift for a comic sequence. Bing Crosby takes up the narrating duties for the second half, an adaptation of Washington Irving's Legend of Sleepy Hollow complete with 40s songs not far removed from Donald Duck's theme tune. Unfortunately this does feel a bit stretched out until the Headless Horseman makes his belated appearance for an impressive and fiery finale that's not quite impressive enough to take away the feeling that it would have worked much better as a one-reel short.
Unfortunately the picture quality on Disney's DVD isn't as impressive as it could be either, with a lot of white speckles on the picture. Still, with both films released separately for so long in the past - The Wind and the Willows turning up as a short supporting `feature' on Disney theatrical reissues like Alice in Wonderland and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow more often relegated to Disney's TV series - it's good to have them back in their original format. The classic Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy cartoon Lonesome Ghosts, which almost certainly served as the inspiration for Ghosbusters, provides a welcome extra alongside kiddie-friendly singalong, interactive game and storybook features.