“Sleeping Beauty” is celebrating 50 years this fall with a new DVD release featuring an incredible restoration of this animated classic. It was unlike any Disney movie before or since. Tchaikovsky’s balletic setting of the classic fairy tale inspired the whole production. George Bruns adapted the Tchaikovsky ballet score for the film, and the popular song “Once Upon a Dream” was written to the tune of the waltz from the ballet. It’s impossible now to divorce Tchaikovsky’s music and the Disney version of Sleeping Beauty.
Filmed widescreen in 70mm, the striking, stylized images and backgrounds in “Sleeping Beauty” are among the richest and most colorful the studio ever produced. From the magnificent castle interiors to the final showdown between Prince Phillip and the evil Maleficent in her dragon form, Sleeping Beauty is a joy to experience.
The DVD is of course chock full of special features like documentaries and art galleries, but again for classical music fans, one of them stands out. “Grand Canyon” is a 35-minute long CinemaScope widescreen film that utilizes Ferde Grofe’s “Grand Canyon Suite” as its soundtrack. Never mind that the movements are played out of order. The music is a splendid accompaniment to footage of the canyon and the Colorado river below, and the various animals that inhabit the area, from big cats, to birds, snakes and spiders, but shockingly – no mules!
Sleeping Beauty is available on standard DVD, and also in high definition, on a Blu-Ray disc. If you have a Blu-Ray player, high def is the way to go. This DVD is a most welcome treat for animation fans, lovers of classical music, and kids of all ages.