Alice in Wonderland

  • Directors: Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske
  • Producers: Walt Disney
  • Writers: Winston Hibler, Ted Sears, Bill Peet, Erdman Penner, Joe Rinaldi, Milt Banta, William Cottrell, Dick Kelsey, Joe Grant, Dick Huemer, Del Connell, Tom Oreb, John Walbridge
  • Genres: Animation, Adventure, Family, Fantasy, Musical
  • Actors: Kathryn Beaumont, Ed Wynn, Richard Haydn, Sterling Holloway, Jerry Colonna, Verna Felton, J Pat O Malley, Bill Thompson, Heather Angel, Joseph Kearns, Larry Grey, Queenie Leonard, Dink Trout, Doris Lloyd, James MacDonald, The Mellomen, Don Barclay

On the bank of a tranquil river, Alice grows bored listening to her sister read aloud from a history book about William I of England. Alice sees a White Rabbit wearing a waistcoat and carrying a large pocket watch. She follows him and tumbles down a rabbit hole. At the bottom, she follows the Rabbit into a large chamber but he escapes through a tiny door. The Doorknob suggests Alice drink from a bottle marked “Drink me.” The contents shrink her to a tiny fraction of her original size. The door is locked, and the key appears on the table, which she can not reach. The Doorknob directs her to a cookie marked “Eat me.” The cookie makes her grow so large that her head hits the ceiling. She begins to cry; her massive tears flood the room. The Doorknob points out that the “Drink me” bottle still has some fluid left inside, so she finishes the last drop. She becomes so small that she drops inside the bottle. Both she and the bottle drift through the doorknob’s keyhole mouth and out to a sea made from Alice’s tears.

On shore, a Dodo bird leads a group of animals in a futile caucus-race to get dry. Alice meets Tweedledum and Tweedledee, two fat brothers who recite “The Walrus and the Carpenter”. Alice sneaks away to the White Rabbit’s house. The Rabbit orders Alice to fetch his gloves. Inside the house, Alice eats a cookie. She becomes so large that she gets stuck inside the house. The Dodo tries to help by sending Bill the Lizard down the chimney and then setting the house on fire. Alice eats a carrot from the garden and shrinks down to three inches high.

Coming back to the Doorknob, Alice is told by him that he is still locked, but that she is already on the other side. Looking through the keyhole, Alice sees herself asleep in the park. As the mob draws nearer, she calls, “Alice, wake up!” to her sleeping self until she gradually awakens from the dream to the sound of her sister’s voice. The two of them return home for teatime while Alice muses on her adventures in Wonderland, realizing that perhaps logic and reason exist for a purpose.

Sleeping Beauty

  • Directors: Clyde Geronimi, Les Clark, Eric Larson, Wolfgang Reitherman
  • Producers: Walt Disney
  • Writers: Erdman Penner, Joe Rinaldi, Winston Hibler, Bill Peet, Ted Sears, Ralph Wright, Milt Banta, Charles Perrault
  • Genres: Animation, Family, Fantasy, Musical, Romance
  • Actors: Mary Costa, Eleanor Audley, Verna Felton, Barbara Luddy, Barbara Jo Allen, Bill Shirley, Taylor Holmes, Bill Thompson

Set in the 14th century, the newborn Princess Aurora is named after the Roman goddess of the dawn because she fills the lives of her mother and father, King Stefan and Queen Leah, with sunshine. While still an infant, she is betrothed to the also-young Prince Phillip, son of King Hubert. At her christening, the Three Good Fairies Flora (dressed in red/pink), Fauna (in green), and Merryweather (in blue) arrive to bless her. Flora gives her the gift of beauty while Fauna gives her the gift of song. Before Merryweather can give her blessing, the Dark Fairy Maleficent appears, expressing disappointment in not being invited to Aurora’s christening ceremony and curses the princess to die when she touches a spinning wheel’s spindle before the sun sets on her sixteenth birthday. Maleficent leaves, and Merryweather is able to use her blessing to weaken the curse so that instead of death, Aurora, will fall into a deep sleep until she is awakened by true love’s kiss. Though King Stefan decrees all spinning wheels in the kingdom burned, the Three Good Fairies know Maleficent’s curse cannot be stopped that easily and devise a plan to protect her. With the king and queen’s consent, they disguise themselves as peasant women and sneak Aurora away with them to a woodland cottage until her sixteen birthday lapses, passing themselves off as her aunts and swearing off magic to conceal themselves.

In the castle, Maleficent uses her magic to lure Aurora away from her boudoir and up to a tower, where a spinning wheel awaits her. Fascinated by the wheel with Maleficent’s will enforcing it, Aurora touches the spindle, pricking her finger and completing the curse. The good fairies place Aurora on a bed and place all in the kingdom in a deep ageless sleep until the spell is broken. While falling asleep, King Hubert tries to tell Stefan of his son being in love with a peasant girl, which makes Flora realize that Prince Phillip is the man Aurora has fallen in love with, and they fly back to the cottage for him. At that time, Prince Phillip arrives at the cottage, but is captured, bound and gagged by Maleficent’s minions and taken to the dungeons of her lair, “The Forbidden Mountain”, to prevent him from kissing Aurora until he is an old man and she remains as young as the day she pricked her finger—as previewed in a magical vision which the gloating Maleficent torments him with. However, the fairies sneak into Maleficent’s stronghold and free the prince. Armed with the magical Sword of Truth and The Shield of Virtue, Phillip and the fairies escape from the Forbidden Mountain whilst being attacked by Maleficent’s minions, which the fairies succeed in blocking. When Diablo tries to warn Maleficent, Merryweather chases him and eventually kills him by turning him into a stone statue, alerting Maleficent. The prince braves all obstacles Maleficent throws at him to reach the palace, including a large bush of thorns, before battling Maleficent herself when she turns herself into a gigantic fire-breathing dragon. After a long fight in which his shield is destroyed, Phillip throws the sword, blessed by the fairies’ magic, into the dragon’s heart, causing Maleficent to fall to her death from a cliff, leaving nothing but a dark stain and turning the sword black. Phillip climbs to Aurora’s chamber, and removes the curse with a kiss. As the film ends, the prince and princess both happily learn that their betrothed and their beloved are one and the same. They arrive at the ballroom, where Aurora is happily reunited with her parents, and she and Prince Phillip dance a waltz. They do not notice that as they dance, Merryweather and Flora have resumed their disagreement over the color of her dress and continue to change it from blue to pink with their magic. As the book closes, Aurora’s gown continues to change colors.

Cinderella

  • Directors: Clyde Geronimi, Hamilton Luske, Wilfred Jackson
  • Producers: Walt Disney
  • Writers: Charles Perrault, Ken Anderson, Perce Pearce, Homer Brightman, Winston Hibler, Bill Peet, Erdman Penner, Harry Reeves, Joe Rinaldi, Ted Sears
  • Genres: Animation, Family, Fantasy, Musical, Romance
  • Actors: Ilene Woods, Eleanor Audley, Verna Felton, Rhoda Williams, James MacDonald, Luis Van Rooten, Don Barclay, Mike Douglas, Lucille Bliss

Cinderella is the much-loved only child of a widowed aristocrat. After deciding that his beloved daughter needs a mother’s care, Cinderella’s father marries a proud and haughty woman named Lady Tremaine. She too has been married before, and has two daughters by her first marriage, Anastasia and Drizella, who are just Cinderella’s age. Plain and socially awkward, these “Ugly Stepsisters” are bitterly envious of the beautiful and charming Cinderella.

The family lives in happiness for several years, until the untimely death of Cinderella’s father. After that, Lady Tremaine’s true nature is revealed, and she and her spiteful daughters take over the estate, and begin to abuse and maltreat Cinderella, envious of her beauty. She is forced into housekeeping responsibilities and made to wait upon her jealous stepsisters like a maid. As Cinderella blossoms into a beautiful young woman who is kind despite her hardships, she befriends the animals living in the barn, including Bruno the Bloodhound, Major the horse, and many of the mice and birds who live in and around the chateau. Cinderella finds a mouse inside a trap, releases him, and names him Octavius, “Gus” for short. She is also friends with a mouse named Jacques (“Jaq” for short), the leader of a mouse-pack.

At the wedding, Cinderella and the Prince descend the church’s staircase, surrounded by confetti tossed by the King and the Grand Duke. Cinderella loses a slipper and retrieves it with the aid of the King. As the film ends on a scene of the two newly-weds kissing, the narrator concludes “…and they lived happily ever after”.

The Jungle Book

  • Directors: Wolfgang Reitherman
  • Producers: Walt Disney
  • Writers: Rudyard Kipling, Larry Clemmons, Ralph Wright, Ken Anderson, Vance Gerry, Bill Peet
  • Genres: Animation, Adventure, Family, Musical
  • Actors: Phil Harris, Sebastian Cabot, Bruce Reitherman, George Sanders, Sterling Holloway, Louis Prima

Mowgli (Bruce Reitherman) is found in a basket as a baby in the deep jungles of Madhya Pradesh, India. In the Disney movie, there is no mention of what happened to his parents or how he came to be there, but the basket was in half a boat in the middle of a river; so it is most likely that his parents were washed downstream and drowned. Bagheera (Sebastian Cabot), the panther who discovers the boy, promptly takes him to a wolf who has just had cubs. She raises him along with her own cubs and Mowgli soon becomes well acquainted to jungle life.

Mowgli is shown ten years later, visiting the wolves and getting his face licked eagerly when he arrives. That night, when the wolf tribe learns that Shere Khan (George Sanders), a man-eating tiger, has returned to the jungle, they realize that Mowgli must be taken to the man village, to protect him and those around him. Bagheera volunteers to escort him back. They leave that very night, but since Mowgli is determined to stay in the jungle things go a little astray. First Kaa (Sterling Holloway), the hungry Indian Python, hypnotizes Mowgli into a deep and peaceful sleep, traps him tightly in his coils and tries to devour him, but comically fails. The next morning, Mowgli tries to join the elephant patrol led by Hathi (J. Pat O’Malley). After that Mowgli and Bagheera get in an argument and then Mowgli runs away from Bagheera. Mowgli soon meets up with the fun-loving bear Baloo (Phil Harris), who shows Mowgli the fun of having a care-free life and promises not to take him to the man village.

After noticing the boy, she “accidentally” drops her water pot, and Mowgli retrieves it for her and follows her into the man village. After Mowgli chooses to stay in the man village, Baloo and Bagheera decide to head home while singing a reprise of “The Bare Necessities”.