All I could remember about Bambi was that his mother died. And that Thumper came along. Beyond that, there were no childhood memories to conjure when considering the importance of the little fawn in the pantheon of Walt Disney’s creations. But on the release of the seventy-fifth anniversary of this famous deer, I revisited the story that is fifth (out of fifty-six) in the history of epic Disney productions.
While Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinnochio, Fantasia, and Dumbo came before it, the next eight years (until Cinderella) were not as kind to Disney. For some reason, the adaptation of Felix Salten’s Bambi, A Life in the Woods, capped a good run by the animation company, followed by a lull. Maybe it’s the way that Walt Disney diverted from the path – to Saludos Amigos and Three Caballeros – or maybe it’s that the story of a little fawn destined to be Great Prince of the Forest resonated with people so strongly. But that’s looking backward – because initially, the film lost money.
Here, we see a story about a fawn who loses his closest friend (his mother), is raised by a rabbit who teaches him to speak and walk, and slowly figures his way around the forest. Thanks to his willing heart and kindness to others, he is befriended by most of the creatures around him, except for the villain always on the periphery – Man. Fighting Man and his hunting dogs, Bambi ultimately proves heroic – proving himself in the Disney storyline.
Special features on the Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD combo pack available today include a view of Walt Disney’s recordings in “Studio Stories,” while the way that animated films have been impacted by a film seventy-five years ago is explored in “The Bambi Effect.” Audiences of various ages will appreciate the look at Bambi Fawn Facts, and look in on Walt’s story development meetings. Two deleted scenes – one of a grasshopper and one of Bambi playing in the snow with his friends – are included, as well as the short about Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. And all of those are the NEW features added!
Previous extras included here as well include more deleted scenes – Two Leaves, Bambi Stuck on a Reed, Winter Grass, and Twitterpated, as well as several looks at the making of Bambi. The story, the characters, actors, appearance, music, and history are all laid out here as well.