Subject: THE ONLY REAL WALT DISNEY APPROVED VERSION
This is hands down THE BEST version of Fantasia. Yes even better than the Blu-ray and DVD. Both the DVD and Blu-ray have altered the colors and pushed their tone to a lot brighter than was ever intended. The film was also DNRd like crazy to the point that a lot of detail was lost. The audio on the Blu-ray, while good, is still altered and remixed to sound nothing like the original Fantasound experience.
The 1990 Laserdisk was the best format that the Fantasound was ever released on and the picture is identical to the original film and colors as was intended by the artists. The slightly longer 1940 Deems Taylor intros are nice on the Blu-ray but without the original audio they are worse than worthless and do indeed make the film run a bit too long as most of the comments are still included on the 1946 version. The rerecorded audio also sticks out like a sore thumb to anyone that has seen and heard the original.
The 1946 version was the very first wide release of Fantasia that was fully approved of by Walt Disney himself. The first 1940 version was a very rare limited run of only 12 screens, so it was more a premier event than a real release and when RKO took over in 42 and wanted to edit it way down by cutting all of Deems Taylor out and one of the animated musical numbers, Walt couldn’t do it. So that wasn’t approved of by Walt himself. However, in 1946 for the new wide rerelease, a completed version was overseen by Walt with more reasonable length introductions by Deems Taylor and with all the animated sequences intact as Walt had originally in 1940. This version shown here is missing the actual intermission, but for those that want to reenact it, they need only pause for 15 minutes after the right of spring. That’s where it was except it had the title card seen in the intro with RKO included on it. Aside from that, and the added end credits, this is exactly as it would have been seen and heard in 1946. After the last number, it would have just ended with no credits.
Your work on obtaining the deleted sections and your friends work on restoring them and the proper audio cues is simply outstanding. Could a bit more cleanup have been done on the added sections? Perhaps, but then you run the risk of ruining the film and doing the same thing the modern company is guilty of.
Finally, at long last, the world has WALT DISNEY’S fully approved version complete and uncensored as it was shown in 1946. Would Walt himself have changed it had he lived? Perhaps, but that is doubtful as it was rereleased multiple times even up through the 60s and he hadn’t ever changed it. Roy O. Disney is not Walt Disney and never was. He should have had no right to approve an alteration to his brothers masterpiece. What he did was wrong even if it was to make it more politically correct for changing times.
Comedy and other forms of art are often controversial and sometimes come at the expense of someone or something else. Walt knew once you went down the path of changing old works, no art or work would be safe. He kept it as is, up until his death and that’s the way it should have stayed. Children were never the intended audience and I have never once seen a child that could ever make it towards the end. It is an adult experience and was always intended as such even from the very beginning.
You sir have righted a tremendous wrong in the cause of film preservation. I salute you and have absolutely no doubt if Walt Himself were here today, he would commend you as well for a job very well done!
I couldn’t agree more with the review about the importance of this release. And I am very happy to be a part of this project. But if “fantasia” is not for children, then I was never a child (exept for one thing, the release I used to watch was censored).