Doodle is home this morning – got back last night. She had a great time at camp. While she was away, we ended up being too busy to keep up with our Disney Summer Movie schedule! We’ve been doing some home improvement work – I’ll share pictures and details later. We also spent one evening hanging out with Jay Pea in Hinckley – we discovered a great little theater there and watched Monsters University! So, today, we are trying to get back on schedule – the plan is to watch Victory Through Air Power and Saludos Amigos (both made in 1943) today… of course, we also have more home improvement on the schedule too.
But, first… I have been looking forward to getting to our review of The Reluctant Dragon, Walt Disney Studio’s 4th production, released in 1941. We really liked this movie, right up to the last 20 minutes (I’ll get to that soon). I should say that we didn’t have very high expectations for this movie. For one thing, we couldn’t find an actual copy of it; we had to watch it on Netflix. LooHoo and I were surprised to find that this movie was actually primarily a live-action movie about a man “touring” Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California, before meeting with Walt Disney to pitch a movie idea for a story about… (yep, you guessed it) a reluctant dragon.
The movie started out slow with the main character, Mr. Benchley, talking to his wife about the idea for a movie that he should pitch to Walt Disney. Luckily, it quickly moves to Mr. Benchley arriving at the studio and slipping away from his guide to wander through different areas of the studio. He stumbles into an animation studio where animators are using a live elephant model to draw cartoon elephants, and then into a sound studio where sound engineers are recording train sounds for an animated circus train – it was fun to see this and to know that the next movie released by Disney Studios was Dumbo!
Mr. Benchley also meets Clarence Nash (the voice of Donald Duck) and eventually ends up in a screening studio with the studio master himself, Walt Disney! This was a high point for us as Walt is much younger in this movie than in most of the footage we’ve seen of him promoting Disneyland and Disney World. So, despite the fact that the movie ends with a 15-20 minute short about the reluctant dragon that was somewhat of a downer for us after the excitement of seeing Dumbo in production and seeing Walt Disney, we still highly recommend this movie! I’m actually looking forward to watching it again – guess I should start a list of Disney movies to watch after the Disney Summer Movie Event is over… for now, we need to forge ahead – we’ve still got 70 years of movies ahead of us!