Release Year: 1940
Directors: Hamilton Luske (supervising director), Ben Sharpsteen (supervising director), Norman Ferguson (sequence director), T. Hee (sequence director), Wilfred Jackson (sequence director), Jack Kinney (sequence director), Bill Roberts (sequence director)
Writers: Ted Sears, Otto Englander, Webb Smith, William Cottrell, Joseph Sabo, Erdman Penner, Aurelius Battaglia, Bill Peet (uncredited), Carlo Collodi (based on his 1883 children’s novel Le avventure di Pinocchio)
Starring (voices): Dickie Jones, Cliff Edwards, Christian Rub, Evelyn Venable, Mel Blanc, Walter Catlett, Frankie Darro, Charles Judels
Rating: Won 2 Oscars: Best Score. Best Original Song (“When You Wish Upon a Star”)
Moviegeek Sunday Classic #196, week 12 2018
The classic story of Pinocchio, a living puppet who, with the help of his conscience Jiminy Cricket, must prove himself worthy to become a real boy.
Disney’s first feature length animation film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, was a tremendous groundbreaker and a huge succes and so their follow-up is often overshadowed by it. It did not help that Pinocchio went way over budget (5 times the original budget) and that it made no money outside the US at first due to the outbreak of WWII. However, Pinocchio does not decide to stand neglected in the shadows, far from it. As one of Disney’s first 5 greats, the attention not only to detail, but also to story and characters, is great. There are no corner cut, no easy solutions, from the detailed and enchanting workshop of Gepetto to the groundbreaking underwater scenes. There is not a dull frame in Pinocchio and you can feel the care and attention for every single characters, several of whom are among the most beloved Disney characters, be it the amusing Jiminy Cricket who is given the ungrateful task of being Pinocchio’s conscience, or the stunning blue fairy, or indeed Gepetto’s two pets, the bi-colour cat Figaro and the goldfish Cleo. While its villains (there are several, including the despicable Stromboli) are not as compelling as the evil queen of Snow White, Pinocchio is a great cautionary tale with a message that never goes out of date. Beautifully animated and wonderfully told, Pinocchio is one of Disney’s greatest features and a worthy follow-up to Snow White that stands completely on it own two feet both visually and in terms of story. An unmissable classic!
Gepetto’s cat was Figaro was Walt Disney’s favourite character. He pushed for the cat to appear as much as possible in the film and afterwards he replaced Minnie Mouse’s cocker spaniels with Figaro.
During a musical number “When You Wish Upon a Star” a spotlight shines on Jiminy Cricket and the title of two of the books can be read. They are Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland. Disney had begun developing adaptation of both around the time of Pinocchio’s release and they were released on 1953 and 1951 respectively.
Pinocchio was the first animated film to win in an competitive category (it won for Best Score and Best Original Song). Disney’s first animated feature Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) had only received Special Academy Awards.
Picture Copyright: Disney