The Sword in the Stone


1h 15m 1963

Brief Synopsis

Arthur (aka Wart) is a young boy who aspires to be a knight's squire. On a hunting trip he falls in on Merlin, a powerful but amnesiac wizard who has plans for Wart beyond mere squiredom. He starts by trying to give Wart an education (whatever that is), believing that once one has an education, one can go anywhere. Needless to say, it doesn't quite work out that way.

Film Details

Release Date
Jan 1963
Premiere Information
New York opening: 25 Dec 1963
Production Company
Walt Disney Productions
Distribution Company
Buena Vista Distribution Co., Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The Sword in the Stone by T. H. White (London, 1938).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 15m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1, 1.75 : 1

Synopsis

In the Dark Ages England is without a king and will be without one until a great sword, stuck through an anvil and buried deep in a stone, is pulled out. One day Wart, a young boy learning to be the squire of his loutish foster brother Kay, enters the forest in search of an arrow and falls through the roof of the cottage where the wizard Merlin lives with his talking owl, Archimedes. Though Sir Ector, Wart's foster father, seems pessimistic, Merlin sets out to supervise the lad's education. In the process Merlin turns him successively into a fish, a squirrel, and a sparrow. In each guise the boy experiences great difficulties but learns a valuable lesson of life. After saving him in the nick of time from the evil witch Mad Madam Mim, Merlin bests the witch in a duel of magic. Meanwhile, Kay has been training for a great tournament that will determine who shall be the new king. For the event Wart journeys to London as Kay's squire, but, having forgotten Kay's sword, he returns to the inn and finds it locked. He finds a sword in a stone in a nearby churchyard and easily pulls it out to give to Kay. No one believes that he has performed the feat, but he repeats the miraculous deed and is immediately acclaimed the rightful heir to the throne and crowned King Arthur.

Film Details

Release Date
Jan 1963
Premiere Information
New York opening: 25 Dec 1963
Production Company
Walt Disney Productions
Distribution Company
Buena Vista Distribution Co., Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel The Sword in the Stone by T. H. White (London, 1938).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 15m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1, 1.75 : 1

Award Nominations

Best Score

1963

Articles

Frank Thomas (1912-2004)


Legendary Disney animator Frank Thomas, whose work ranged from such '30s classics like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to equally acclaimed modern hits like The Rescuers, died on September 8 in his home in Flintridge, California. He had been in declining health since suffering a brain hemorrhage several months ago. He was 92.

He was born on September 5, 1912 in Santa Monica, California. He showed an interest in art and drawing at a very young age, so it came as no surprise when he graduated from Stanford University in 1934 with a degree in art. Soon after, he began work for Walt Disney Studios and did his first animation for the short Mickey's Elephant in 1936, and was one of the key animators for the studios' first, feature-length animated picture, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937). His memorable creations of the seven dwarfs offered an emotional sweep and humorous detail to animated characters that audiences had never experienced before, and his career was set.

Thomas' work from this point on would be nothing short of the high watermarks in Disney animation that is justly cherished the world over: the title character in Pinocchio, (1940); Thumper teaching Bambi to skate in Bambi (1941); the wicked stepmother in Cinderella (1950), the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland (1951), the terrific fight sequence between Captain Hook and Peter Pan in Peter Pan (1953); the Lady and Rover falling in love over a dish of spaghetti and meatballs in Lady and the Tramp (1955); the three good fairies in Sleeping Beauty (1959); Baloo, Mowgli and Kaa in The Jungle Book (1967); and his final work of Bernard and Bianca in the underrated The Rescuers (1977).

Thomas retired from Disney in early 1978, ending a near 44-year relationship with the studio. With longtime friend, and fellow Disney collaborator Ollie Johnston, they went on to author many fine books about the art of animation, most notably Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life (Hyperian Press, 1978) and The Disney Villain (Hyperion Press, 1993). He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Jeanette; sons Thomas, Doug and Gregg; daughter Ann Ayers; and three grandchildren.

by Michael T. Toole
Frank Thomas (1912-2004)

Frank Thomas (1912-2004)

Legendary Disney animator Frank Thomas, whose work ranged from such '30s classics like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to equally acclaimed modern hits like The Rescuers, died on September 8 in his home in Flintridge, California. He had been in declining health since suffering a brain hemorrhage several months ago. He was 92. He was born on September 5, 1912 in Santa Monica, California. He showed an interest in art and drawing at a very young age, so it came as no surprise when he graduated from Stanford University in 1934 with a degree in art. Soon after, he began work for Walt Disney Studios and did his first animation for the short Mickey's Elephant in 1936, and was one of the key animators for the studios' first, feature-length animated picture, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937). His memorable creations of the seven dwarfs offered an emotional sweep and humorous detail to animated characters that audiences had never experienced before, and his career was set. Thomas' work from this point on would be nothing short of the high watermarks in Disney animation that is justly cherished the world over: the title character in Pinocchio, (1940); Thumper teaching Bambi to skate in Bambi (1941); the wicked stepmother in Cinderella (1950), the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland (1951), the terrific fight sequence between Captain Hook and Peter Pan in Peter Pan (1953); the Lady and Rover falling in love over a dish of spaghetti and meatballs in Lady and the Tramp (1955); the three good fairies in Sleeping Beauty (1959); Baloo, Mowgli and Kaa in The Jungle Book (1967); and his final work of Bernard and Bianca in the underrated The Rescuers (1977). Thomas retired from Disney in early 1978, ending a near 44-year relationship with the studio. With longtime friend, and fellow Disney collaborator Ollie Johnston, they went on to author many fine books about the art of animation, most notably Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life (Hyperian Press, 1978) and The Disney Villain (Hyperion Press, 1993). He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Jeanette; sons Thomas, Doug and Gregg; daughter Ann Ayers; and three grandchildren. by Michael T. Toole

Quotes

Sounds like someone's sick. How very marvelous. I do hope that it's serious. Something dreadful.
- Madame Mim
Why, they'll even make a motion picture about you.
- Merlin
What's a motion picture?
- Wart
Uhhh... that's something like television - without commercials.
- Merlin
Insolent piece of crockery.
- Merlin
Blow me to Bermuda.
- Merlin
Now, first of all, if you don't mind, I'll make the rules.
- Madame Mim
Rules, indeed. Why, she only wants rules so she can break them.
- Archimedes
I'll take care of you later, featherbrain.
- Madame Mim
Rule One: No mineral or vegetable, only animals. Rule Two: No make-believe things like, ooh, pink dragons and stuff. Now, Rule Three: No disappearing.
- Madame Mim
Rule Four: No cheating.
- Merlin

Trivia

Two songs written for the film but scrapped before production began were "The Blue Oak Tree" and "The Magic Key". The latter was to be Merlin's lecture to Arthur about the value of an education. It was replaced with the more amusing "Higitus Figitus".

The first Disney animated feature with songs by Richard and Robert Sherman.

Notes

Copyright length: 79 min.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1963

Re-released in Paris March 28, 1990.

Released in United States 1963