Friday, February 10, 2017

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra

Artist:Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra
Song:The Sorcerer's Apprentice
Album:Walt Disney's Fantasia: Remastered Original Soundtrack Edition

For many years, this segment from the 1940 film Fantasia was the most popular animated film in the world. Fantasia was still a popular theatrical film in the 60s. I should know. I went to see it in a theater in the late 60s. And The Sorcerer's Apprentice segment certainly stands on its own. Walt Disney had already changed the future of animation with the 1937 film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the very first animated feature film. So now he has to figure out what to do next. They were already working on the next feature Pinocchio. But the studio still produced Silly Symphony shorts. The Sorcerer's Apprentice started as a Silly Symphony comeback for Disney's most popular character Mickey Mouse. But when production costs soared, Disney decided it wouldn't be profitable as a short. He decided to turn it into a feature with animated segments set to classical music. He thought of using a famous conductor to record the score. He met Leopold Stokowski by chance at the restaurant Chasen's in Los Angeles. And Stokowski agreed to do the project right there. Other than The Sorcerer's Apprentice, Stokowski chose the music. It was also decided to make a serious film aimed at adults as opposed to kids. The Sorcerer's Apprentice was directed by James Algar who had just started with Disney. The animation supervisors were Fred Moore and Vladimir "Bill" Tytla. Tytla also supervised the Night On Bald Mountain segment. The key animator was Preston Blair who also animated the hippo alligator dance in the Dance of the Hours segment. When it came time to release Fantasia, Disney's distributor RKO thought the film was too long and too highbrow. They didn't think it could make any money. Part of the problem was Fantasia was produced in stereo and most movie houses were still mono. So Fantasia was a limited release. And though it did well, the film cost too much to make money on initial release. Fantasia wasn't profitable until the 1969 re-release. That's when I first saw it. I recall that it was promoted as a psychedelic experience. I dunno about that but Fantasia still holds up very well. You can get the soundtrack on this 2CD budget set. The film was last released on DVD in 2010 and it's on moratorium until 2019. You can find it but not at a reasonable price. Here's The Sorcerer's Apprentice by Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra from the 1940 film Fantasia.

1 comment:

  1. Have the film on Blu-Ray DVD. Love every bit of it. To me it's a classic that will stand the test of time. The sorcerer's apprentice is indeed an awesome piece of animation, and well worth seeing.