The Reluctant Dragon

1941

Action / Animation / Comedy / Family

34
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 70%
IMDb Rating 7 10 1964

Synopsis


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Director

Cast

Walt Disney as Walt Disney
John Dehner as Tall Baby Weems Storyboard Artist with Mustache
Alan Ladd as Al - Baby Weems Storyboard Artist
Frank Faylen as Frank - Orchestra Leader
1080p.BLU
1.23 GB
1920*1080
English
NR
23.976 fps
1hr 14 min
P/S 2 / 13

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by jonconnormustlive-46298 9 / 10

Sadly forgotten but very fun!

The Reluctant Dragon is about a childlike children's book author who goes to Walt Disney Studios to see about having his book adapted into a cartoon, his adventure through the studio gives a look at how they created cartoons back in the 40's.

Seeing cartoons in process is very interesting in itself, it features a cast of many known Disney talents including the original voice of Donald Duck, it's a treat seeing how these Disney Legends did what they did.

Then you add in the animated bits, shorts like Baby Weems, How to Ride a horse Starring Goofy, and of course The Reluctant Dragon. These shorts are very funny, they each deserve a viewing on their own.

It's a shame how few people have even heard of this Disney film. If you can get your hands on the Adventures of Ichabod & Mr. Toad with Fun & Fancy Free Blu-ray this film is included as well.

All around I give it two thumbs up!

Reviewed by MisterWhiplash 7 / 10

the classic Disney animated movie that's... a documentary for animation buffs!

This is a curious picture in that it's the one feature made during the "classic" Disney animated period (before/during/just after WW2) that might not be that appealing to children. I say 'might' since I can't say for certain for all kids; I think if I saw this when I was younger, it would be a delight, but then it's a movie made for people who may want to know all of THIS that Disney did was possible. It's a hybrid of documentary, ridiculous narrative with a man named Robert Benchley, and actual cartoons.

It's actually a treat to watch for a number of reasons, the first being that it shows the process of a Disney animated movie, a short or feature or whatever. You get to see here the voice actors - as soon as Clarence Nash came on doing Donald Duck my face lit up - and then on to how all of the synchronized sound is out together for the audio effects (hint: there are a LOT of them), and then down to things that most of us take for granted like how paints are made and how the camera works (the multi-plane one that was in heavy use at the time). There's also some character demonstrations and even a clip for the sync-sound portion where we see a portion of Dumbo with the Casey Jr train, only it's much longer and may be its own short which is very charming on its own.

The whole narrative thrust of the movie is so slight that I'm sure the director and whoever was behind this movie barely paid attention to it, where Benchley has an idea to give to Disney for The Reluctant Dragon, gets on to the Disney lot and tries to find good ol' Walt and then gets distracted by every single department. Any time the movie stops to give heed to Benchley it's unfunny and stops dead in its tracks. It might just be because I don't know about Benchley (was he popular at the time, probably, I see he has a list of acting credits), but it doesn't really matter and it kills the real momentum of the piece. I suppose the thought was if it was a straight documentary instead of this man as a 'travel guide' it would be more dry. I'm not sure it would've been since everything to do with how a cartoon gets made - including the storyboard segment on Baby Weens which is pure delight - is fascinating.

Ironically by the time the movie gets to the full Reluctant Dragon cartoon (surprise/spoiler: Disney's one appearance is in the projection room about to screen the finished short, wop-wop), it's slightly a let-down. It's charming enough and has its moments, but it's too long at 20 minutes and as a short it starts to drag in the middle. I think if you're a kid coming to this today you should know the whole feature isn't a cartoon (oddly enough on the DVD release it just comes with the cartoon and a few other shorts so I guess that was forward thinking on Disney's part), but if you love the old process of animation, from drawing to paints to inking to character work (look at how they use that baby for inspiration!) it's a treat. I mean, where else will you get to see Donald Duck show us all how he walks!

The notable thing about this short cartoon directed by Wolfgang "Woolie" Reitherman (who would go to direct many of the notable Disney movies of the 60's and 70's and was part of the "9 Old Men"), is that it features a few pieces of key animation from The Jungle Book several years before the film while *also* featuring some shots which are clearly taken from older Disney movies (I counted Dumbo and Peter Pan, though I'm sure there are bits from others I missed).

It may be that I notice such things after a lifetime of seeing these things, but I think even if you're only somewhat familiar with the animation it will come up as 'hey, wait a minute, that's Dumbo and his mom, isn't it?' All the same it's a cute short - not much more, but the story, about a tiny elephant who is looked on as a pain in the butt for the other larger elephants and gets into mishaps with a tiger (only to later save them all by, again the Dumbo connection, fighting a mouse that they adults are all scared of), is a charming and substantive story of standing up for yourself against odds even if you're smaller or weaker or whatnot.

It is slight, it is silly, and it feels like an early trial run for The Jungle Book long before Balloo and Bagheera and when Khan looked like a rag-doll version of a tiger. It's fine, it's just not anything highly memorable, aside from its cribbing of shots from other Disney movies (perhaps, no, surely, as a way of cutting corners costwise).

Reviewed by SnoopyStyle 6 / 10

dressed up Disney studio tour

Humorist Robert Benchley is at home. His wife convinces him to sell the rights for his story 'The Reluctant Dragon' to Walt Disney. She drags him to the studio and leaves him there. He wanders around the studio and discovers the animation process along the way. Finally he meets Walt Disney himself.

This starts as a black and white live action fictional drama. The fact that it's not animation made it less than successful originally. However it's fascinating to see where Disney began and what it looked like. It's a studio tour dressed up as a little story. This is terrific as a time capsule and a fun way to see how it was made. This is probably a good movie to show new hires at the time. After 25 minutes, the movie turns into technicolor with some animation. Goofy has a cartoon about how to ride a horse. The final section has the Reluctant Dragon cartoon. This movie has a bit of historical values but as a story, this is rather bland.

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