Sleeping Beauty: The classic animated movie was a Disney triumph (1959)

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Sleeping Beauty with the prince

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When the now-classic Disney film Sleeping Beauty came out at the end of the 1950s, moviegoers around the world were enthralled by the technicolor wonder, created by hundreds of artists over the course of six years. Find out more here!
Sleeping Beauty a top Disney triumph

“Sleeping Beauty,” Walt Disney’s $6,000,000 spectacular film presentation of the beloved old fairytale, is declared the supreme achievement in the wondrous art of animation and the Disney method of cinematic storytelling.

It is, by all means, the greatest undertaking in Disney entertainment history. Some 300 artists worked on it through six years.

For this prodigious task, Walt and his corps of veteran artists had at their command new and challenging implements of fantasy.

These mechanisms — the big Technirama screen, revised color techniques, the fidelities of improved sound for the Tchaikovsky Sleeping Beauty Ballet music — promise breathtaking elegance for the picture.

Walt Disney's Sleeping Beauty - Lobby promo card from 1959

ALSO SEE: Walt Disney thrills the world with the classic movie ‘Cinderella’ (1950)

But the entertainment quality of the 75-minute feature rises more from the treatment of the medieval tale than from its sense-stirring splendors.

Walt has packed into “Sleeping Beauty” all the know-how acquired from previous productions of classic fairytales, from the days of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” through the making of “Peter Pan.”

Sleeping Beauty - Aurora alseep

The retelling of a classic fairytale

The origin of the old legend of the sleeping beauty is dim in European mythology.

The Disney romantic miracle play follows the rather thin original only in its main outline, the story adaptation having been made from Charles Perrault’s, version. Enormous research provided the authentic background and dressing.

The courtship of young Princess Aurora, who believes herself a peasant maid, by the valiant Phillip brings poetic beauty to animation with a boy-and-girl quality so modern it is sure to endear the picture to the teenagers.

Sleeping Beauty with the prince

The animated person of Princess Aurora becomes the loveliest of all the fair ladies of legend. And Prince Phillip — he who gives the restoring kiss to lift the dreadful curse — is the most gallant in Disney’s gallery of heroes.

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The baddie Maleficent in Disney's Sleeping Beauty movie - 1959

Original theatrical trailer video: “Sleeping Beauty”

Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty movie poster

Wondrous to see… glorious to hear… a magnificent new motion picture!

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Princess Aurora in Disney's Sleeping Beauty movie - 1959

Disney movie review in brief: “Sleeping Beauty”

Six years and $6 million went into this latest feature-length Walt Disney animated fairy tale, with its score “expanded” from the Tchaikovsky ballet.

Scene from Disney's Sleeping Beauty movie - 1959

It’s a must for a Disney fan — and who isn’t? His genius for atmospheric background and imaginative animation hits a new high; and the Disney family of lovable characters is enriched by the three fussbudget good fairies — Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather.

Most unforgettable character: The witch Maleficent. Compared to her, Dracula’s daughter was a social worker.

“Sleeping Beauty” — In Technicolor and Technirama

Sleeping Beauty 1959 - Dragon

ALSO SEE: Classic Walt Disney Home Video VHS movies & short collections from the ’80s & ’90s

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