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SLEEPING BEAUTY [1959/2014] [Diamond Edition] [Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD]
on 6 November 2014
SLEEPING BEAUTY [1959/2014] [Diamond Edition] [Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD] [US Release] Treasure Animated Classic Brought to Life like Never Before! One of Walt Disney’s Most Elaborate and Engaging Animated Features!
Fall under the glorious spell of Disney's Ultimate Princess Fairy Tale! The magic is real as you experience all the pageantry and power on Blu-ray – and for the first time ever on Digital HD – with incredible high-definition picture and thrilling, soaring sound!
Beauty, wonder and adventure spin together in a grand legend that transcends time as Maleficent, one of animation's most spectacular villains, sends the kingdom's beloved Princess Aurora into an enchanted sleep. In a majestic story that awakens all your senses, Good Fairies arm brave Prince Phillip to defeat a fearsome fire-breathing dragon and rescue Aurora. But success in battle may not be enough, for the only way to awaken the Princess is with True Love's kiss!
Create memories that will last a lifetime with Disney's illustrious ‘SLEEPING BEAUTY’ a must-own for every family's classic collection! Narrated by Marvin Miller
FILM FACT: ‘SLEEPING BEAUTY’ marked the first animated feature to be shot in Super Technirama 70mm, a technique that exposes images onto double 35mm frames, which are then processed on a 70mm print. The film was printed on special printer lenses developed for Disney by Panavision. The format, which allows the film to move horizontally through the camera instead of vertically and provides a greater range of vision, required the artists to move the characters through a large field of action via intricate mathematical calculations, and to create new colour schemes.
Voice Cast: Marvin Miller (Narrator voice) (uncredited), Mary Costa, Bill Shirley, Eleanor Audley, Verna Felton, Barbara Luddy, Barbara Jo Allen, Taylor Holmes, Bill Thompson, Bill Amsbery (uncredited), Candy Candido (uncredited), Pinto Colvig (uncredited), Rosa Crosby (uncredited), Dal McKennon (uncredited), Thurl Ravenscroft (Singer voice) (uncredited)
Directors: Clyde Geronimi (supervising director), Eric Larson, Les Clark and Wolfgang Reitherman
Producer: Walt Disney
Screenplay: Bill Peet, Joe Rinaldi, Milt Banta, Ralph Wright, Ted Sears, Winston Hibler, Erdman Penner (story adaptation) and Charles Perrault (story "Sleeping Beauty")
Composer: George Bruns (score), Jack Lawrence (score), Tom Adair (songs) and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (adaptation)
Video Resolution: 1080p [Technicolor]
Aspect Ratio: 2.55:1 [Super Technirama 70mm]
Audio: English: 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English: Original Stereo Theatrical Mix, French: 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish: 5.1 Dolby Digital, Portuguese: 5.1 Dolby Digital and Russian: 5.1 Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Russian
Running Time: 75 minutes
Region: Blu-ray: All Regions and DVD: NTSC
Number of discs: 2
Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: ‘SLEEPING BEAUTY’ was originally made available in 2008 by way of the 50th Anniversary Platinum Edition Blu-ray release, which was such grand treatment on Blu-ray is only befitting of the labour of love that ‘SLEEPING BEAUTY’ became from the Walt Disney Studio in the 1950s. The film's production spanned almost the entire decade, beginning with story concept work in 1951 and ending in 1959 with the film's theatrical release. ‘Sleeping Beauty’ was a great strain on the studio's finances, especially from its concept and of course its manpower. It cost so much, in fact over $6 million, that even though it was a box office success upon its release, the animation film still did not recoup its production costs on its initial run. Since then, however, ‘SLEEPING BEAUTY,’ has become a most profitable property for the Walt Disney Company, as its nearly 50-year legacy has touched generations of filmgoers...
I'm sure I'm not the first to make the observation that the villains of Disney's animated features are often more interesting than their heroes and heroines. Think of Cruella de Vil in '101 DALMATIONS,' the Wicked Witch of 'SNO WHITE,' or the Beast of 'Beauty and the Beast,' and it's easy to savour all of the cruel wickedness far more than the blandly-vanilla sweetness. Nowhere may this be more true than with ‘SLEEPING BEAUTY,’ a perfectly fine fable in the Disney canon, but one where its titular Princess Aurora and her romantic melodrama are overshadowed by the vividly drawn supporting characters, and particularly the delightfully-demonic Maleficent. ‘SLEEPING BEAUTY’ is one where all of the story and character elements all come together in letting us see how the Disney's technical artistry create something truly special.
By now the story of ‘SLEEPING BEAUTY’ is known by just about anyone who ever had a fairy tale read to them as a child. Based on the first section of Charles Perrault's short story "La Belle au Bois Dormant" and published as part of Perrault's 1697 book "The Tales of My Mother Goose." It's only fair to Disney to say the source material is slim at best. Culled from a mere four paragraphs from Perrault, the tale is quite straightforward and simplistic. Running a brilliant 75 minutes, and the film shows all aspects of its main human characters, which are generic at best. The villain, Maleficent, energises the film, and even the animal characters seem more, well, animated. The real beauty of ‘SLEEPING BEAUTY,’ is in the stunning details, its supporting characters, its wondrous visual acumen, its memorable songs and its beautifully-rendered animation.
‘SLEEPING BEAUTY’ is remembered as much, if not more, for its sights and sounds. 'Sleeping Beauty' was produced at a crucial period in American cinema, as television was sweeping the nation and moviegoers were rapidly abandoning the theatre seats for the comfort of their couches. Like all of the major studios at the time, Walt Disney was looking for something new to attract its dwindling audiences. ‘SLEEPING BEAUTY’ was the first Disney feature to adopt many technological advances of the time, including 70mm (Super Technirama 70) and six-track audio. The film is also a widescreen beauty, composed in 2.55:1, and produced in three-strip Technicolor. It is also the last hand-drawn Disney feature to be inked entirely by human hands.
The result is that there is much to savour and admire in ‘SLEEPING BEAUTY.’ The film is absolutely and undeniably beautiful and its animation is as splendid as any of the unquestionable classics in the Disney pantheon, including 'SNOW WHITE,' 'CINDERELLA' and 'BAMBI.' Marking a further creative departure from past Disney features; ‘SLEEPING BEAUTY’ has a more arch and defined visual style. Next to the Barbie-like Aurora and angular evil of Maleficent, the plump Snow White seems positively cherubic by comparison. The colour palette, too, is darker and more foreboding. The forest is teeming with menace, thanks to the use of rich, deep purples, green, and reds that are gorgeously realised. The contrast with the far more cheery world of Aurora is also thematically ripe, adding a suggestion of complexity to a story that is greatly in need of depth.
With its action and intensity, ‘SLEEPING BEAUTY’ is also more aggressive than some previous Disney features. The climactic battle to lift the curse that imprisons the slumbering Aurora, between Prince Philip and an awesome dragon Maleficent, is quite suspenseful and visceral, enough that I'm sure it has scared the out of many small children over the years. The reign of misery that Maleficent and her shadow self/raven Diablo cast upon the kingdom is also no child's play. There is a heft to the darkness in 'Sleeping Beauty' that further helps to off-set the clichéd and conventional aspects of its romantic confections.
‘SLEEPING BEAUTY’ may have a plain story, but its strengths are in its spectacle and its select memorable moments and characters. Maleficent is superbly designed, and brought to smooth, scheming life by the excellent voice work of Eleanor Audley. Even her raven sidekick has a pronounced personality, becoming a creature the viewer just loves to hate. Aurora and Phillip's initial meeting and courtship in a highly stylized forest setting is probably the film's most memorable sequence. If not that, then certainly the thrilling climactic battle between Phillip and Maleficent, transformed into an awesome and gorgeously evil dragon. Every turn of a head is carefully drawn and choreographed, and every corner of the screen is filled with luxuriant detail. All of it, down to the last leaf, tapestry, or rocky crag, shines through in this totally beautiful stunning in this high definition Blu-ray release. “It is truly a sight to behold."
Blu-ray Video Quality – ‘SLEEPING BEAUTY’ has received a wonderful and stunning 1080p encoded offering of a beautiful transfer restoration, with at last framed at 2.55:1, showing more area at the top/bottom and sides of the picture than ever seen before). According to a provided Disney's press materials, 'Sleeping Beauty' has undergone a meticulous frame-by-frame clean-up, culled from the original nitrate negative and requiring years to complete. The result is clearly superior to any video or theatrical, for that matter, presentation seen before. If this is indicative of Disney's future Platinum Series presentations, fans are in for a treat. The source is just about impeccable, with no traces of dirt or blemishes. Blacks are pure, with little of the print fluctuations that usually plague material of this vintage. Contrast is vibrant but retains a film-like look, and there is no faux-digitisation of the image. The originally, already-brilliant Technicolor palette is superior and, in some cases, greatly improved over the previous DVD version. Darker scenes, such as night-time forest scenes and those with Maleficent boast much cleaner and deeper purples, reds and blues. And thanks to the wonders of digital technology, the often disastrous misalignment of three-plate Technicolor is absent here, so the image is always uniform. Detail and sharpness also receive a noticeable boost. The image is three-dimensional, with appreciable depth and excellent clarity even in the most detailed shots. Shadow delineation sees a jump over the inferior DVD release, such as fine textures of Aurora's clothing or minor details in background plates which are now clearly visible rather than vague mush. It's also no surprise that this is a rock-solid encode, with no apparent edge enhancement or motion artefacts.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – Going above and beyond the audio usually offered on re-masters of classic titles, Disney offers a stunning awesome 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track for 'Sleeping Beauty.' It's an excellent beautiful remix, with the studio utilizing newly-discovered 35mm 3-track recordings. Certainly, ‘SLEEPING BEAUTY’ has never sounded better. It also offers the Original Stereo Theatrical Mix. ‘SLEEPING BEAUTY’ has been expanded nicely to 7.1. The rear soundstage is nice and full, with the original sound stems utilized to create truly discrete effects that pan smoothly between channels. I did not notice any great exploitation of the two extra surround channels, but certainly the surrounds are full and alive with sound. Minor ambiance is also nicely sustained, particularly during the outdoor and action-y moments. Clarity and depth to dynamic range is full-bodied, with the elements betraying their nearly 50-year age. Low bass is also deep and tight, but not overpowering. The score is also technically impeccable, with a richness I wasn't expecting from the original older title release. All spoken words are very clean and very nicely pronounced. As with this Blu-ray release, Disney has more than earned the Platinum designation with this 7.1 DTS HD Master Audio upgrade.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Special Feature: 3 Deleted Scenes (Never Before Seen Deleted Scenes) [1080p] [13:00] Here we have three new, never before seen deleted scenes like:
“The Fair” (with deleted character The Vulture) In this version of the story, the fairies do not take the Princess to live with them in the forest. Convinced that King Stefan’s order to burn all the spinning wheels in the kingdom will not prevent Maleficent’s curse, the good fairies put a magic circle around the castle and cast a spell: ‘No evil thing that walks or flies or creeps or crawls can ever pass these castle walls.’
“The Curse is Fulfilled” The three good fairies have just returned Aurora to the castle and give her a crown. They leave the room to give Aurora some time alone…but Maleficent pays her a visit.
“Arrival of Maleficent” (Alternate Scene) Maleficent arrives uninvited to the christening of the Princess Aurora.
All three items are presented by way of original storyboards, narration and newly recorded voice work.
Special Feature: Once Upon a Parade  [1080p] [9:00] Modern Family's Sarah Hyland shares the fairy tale "history" of Walt Disney World's new “Festival of Fantasy” Parade with a small group of young Disney tourists and how the “Festival of Fantasy” Parade was saved by a quick-thinking peasant girl, whom she plays in the story. “Once Upon a Parade” stars the amazing Sarah Hyland from ABC’s “Modern Family”, and we had a fantastic time working on the project. I’m not certain I know a bigger fan of the Disney Parks than Sarah? Check out this video, where Sarah talks about the project, her passion for all things Disney!
Special Feature: The Art of Evil: Generations of Disney Villains [1080p] [10:00] Animators Lino DiSalvo [‘FROZEN’] and Andreas Deja [‘ALADDIN’ and ‘The Lion King’] share memories of their favourite Disney villains and discuss the keys to creating memorable antagonists, all while looking back at the career, contributions and iconic characters of classic Disney animator, Marc Davis [‘SLEEPING BEAUTY’], among many others, who appears via vintage interview snippets.
Special Feature: @DisneyAnimation: Artists in Motion (Extended Edition) [1080p] [4:00] Join Walt Disney Animation Visual Development artist Brittney Lee as she goes through the process of creating a three dimensional sculpture of Maleficent, completely out of paper. In this extended edition, we go deeper into Britney Lee’s process. I thought this particular item was a complete load of old rubbish and a total waste of time!
Special Feature: Beauty-Oke: Once Upon a Dream [1080p] [3:00] A dynamic sing-along for "Once Upon a Dream."
Classic Bonus Features:
Special Feature: The Sound Of Beauty: Restoring A Classic [1080p] [11:00] Presented in 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, this stunning feature, where we sit down with Randy Thornton and Terry Porter, the sound restoration technicians that worked on the film's [2008 50th Anniversary Edition] sound mix. As the men point out with "before and after" comparisons, the lack of compression has yielded hidden intricacies of the soundtrack that have been lost for decades. As Walt Disney Music President Chris Montan makes clear, the difference is quite audible, and it makes the luscious experience of the film that much better, with sound and music to match the picture.
Special Feature: Picture Perfect: The Making of Sleeping Beauty  [1080p] [44:00] The centrepiece of this making-of special fresh documentary, mixes newly-discovered production footage, vintage interview material with Walt Disney, and new chats with Disney historians, animators and industry luminaries, especially among them is PIXAR's John Lasseter. It nicely encapsulates the production troubles that befell 'SLEEPING BEAUTY,' which at the time represented a considerable cost investment for Disney, as well as a shift in the studio's animation techniques, among them being the fact that this was their last hand-inked feature. Kudos to Disney for not whitewashing the story and details of wild cost overruns and internal politics are not discarded, which makes for really fascinating viewing.
Special Feature: Eyvind Earle: A Man and His Art [1080p] [8:00] Focuses squarely on the life and career of Sleeping Beauty's most talented art director Eyvind Earle who directly painted or at least supervised the production of every single background seen in the film, with incredible amounts of detail crammed into every angle.
Audio Commentary: Commentary is with PIXAR guru John Lasseter, film critic and historian Leonard Maltin, and Disney animator Andreas Deja: The trio offers a nice balance of perspective. Deja illustrates the technical aspects and changes in animation styles that 'SLEEPING BEAUTY' ushered in, as well as some behind-the-scenes Disney politics; Maltin gives his typical lavish spin on the film's legacy within the Disney canon, while John Lasseter is the most persuasive in detailing the lasting influence the film has had on the medium. Before the audio commentary starts, you get to actually see Andreas Deja, John Lasseter and Leonard Maltin in the studio with a short introduction before the start of their very nice and interesting audio commentary in conjunction with the film. You also get other original audio snippets from Walt Disney and some of the original cartoonist.
Blu-ray Sneak Previews: Disney 101 Dalmatians [Diamond Edition]; Maleficent; Disney FROZEN Sing-Along Edition; Disney PLANES: Fire & Rescue and Disney Legend of The Neverbeast.
Finally, this ‘SLEEPING BEAUTY’ 2014 Diamond Edition release is filled with endless features and bonus footage taken right from the Disney Vault that’s sure to excite viewers of all ages; the ‘SLEEPING BEAUTY’ set includes an all new making-of documentary. Plus, it takes you further inside the pre and post-production process, serving up an alternate opening, and it is a beautiful celebration of Tchaikovsky as well as the Disney artists, along with countless other snippets that have never before been seen. This 50th Anniversary Diamond Edition is a veritable set that is a definite “once upon a dream” for lovers of all things Disney and especially their magical animation feature films and the treasure trove. Although, this new 2014 Diamond Edition has the same brilliant digital presentation as the 2008 Blu-ray edition, the biggest flaw is the bonus content, which sadly the Disney people have decided to drop some of the special extras from this 2014 Blu-ray release. So if you happen to own the 2008 edition, hold on to that. But if you aren't a fan of supplements or feel this will be a better upgrade, fell free to indulge in this new edition of a delightful Disney animation classic. Watching the film again, I was also struck by its script. Much of the dialogue is extremely poetic, which simply adds to the film’s overall mystique. Most animated films do not have particularly outstanding dialogue, but are just well-plotted. Sleeping Beauty not only has wonderful dialogue, but also improves on the overall plotting of the original piece, by reworking the original story and having Aurora and Phillip meet and fall in love before Aurora is put to sleep my Maleficent’s curse. There is simply so much here to appreciate, from the great script, outstanding voice talent, brilliant animation, the wonderful song “Once Upon a Dream” that always stays with you, and the Tchaikovsky score that is perfectly fitted to the film, despite having been composed decades before the animation film’s conception. ‘SLEEPING BEAUTY’ is truly a masterpiece and one of the best of the Disney classics. Very Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom