Bambi


1h 10m 1942

Brief Synopsis

The animated story of Bambi, a young deer hailed as the 'Prince of the Forest' at his birth. As Bambi grows, he makes friends with the other animals of the forest, learns the skills needed to survive, and even finds love. One day, however, the hunters come, and Bambi must learn to be as brave as his father if he is to lead the other deer to safety.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
G
Genre
Family
Release Date
Aug 21, 1942
Premiere Information
World premiere in London: 9 Aug 1942; New York opening: 13 Aug 1942; Salt Lake City, UT opening: 14 Aug 1942
Production Company
Walt Disney Productions
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the book Bambi: Eine Lebensgeschichte aus dem Walde by Felix Salten (Berlin, 1923).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 10m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6,259ft (7 reels)

Synopsis

One April morning, the animal inhabitants of the forest welcome a new fawn, the son of the Great Prince of the Forest. Especially interested in Bambi, the new arrival, is young rabbit Thumper, who watches the fawn take his first awkward steps. Later, Thumper accompanies Bambi on a walk, teaching him how to say "bird" and introducing him to the beauties of the wilderness. While learning to say "flower," Bambi is confused when a young skunk emerges from a patch of blossoms and assumes he is being named, but the skunk is pleased by his new moniker. Bambi and his mother lead an idyllic life, cuddling to ward off April showers and enjoying the protection of the forest. One day, Bambi's mother takes him to the meadow to graze, but warns him that he must be careful as the meadow is without sufficient cover. Bambi and Thumper play and eat clover, although Bambi is overcome with shyness upon meeting a pretty little girl fawn named Faline. The Great Prince then walks through the meadow, and Bambi is awed by his father's majestic bearing. The Great Prince senses danger, however, and helps Bambi and his mother reach the forest as a gunshot echoes through the meadow. Bambi is mystified by the occurrence, and his mother explains that "Man was in the forest." Later, in the winter, Thumper and a clumsy Bambi ice skate on a pond covered with "stiff water." The season is harsh, however, and Bambi's mother diligently forages for food for her hungry son. Soon the grass begins to grow again, and Bambi and his mother return to the meadow to graze, but there, Bambi's mother becomes alarmed and orders him to run. Bambi races ahead as gunshots ring out, and upon reaching the thicket, is terrified to realize that he is alone. The Great Prince arrives and tells the grieving fawn that his mother cannot be with him anymore, then urges his son to follow him. Later, Spring comes again to the forest, and the adolescent Bambi, Thumper and Flower are scornful of the silly antics of the birds. Friend Owl warns them that all animals become "twitterpated" during the Spring, and soon his words are proven true as a pretty girl skunk and a lovely little bunny mesmerize Flower and Thumper. Left on his own, the disgruntled Bambi is drinking from the stream when he once again meets Faline. Faline flirtatiously licks Bambi, and the young couple chase each other and play. Bambi is challenged by another young buck but triumphs in battle, and soon is gamboling across the meadow with Faline. Later, Bambi is disturbed by the sound of hunting horns, and the Great Prince warns him that Man has returned in great numbers, and that they must retreat deep into the forest. Faline is separated from Bambi during the confusion, but when she is cornered by a pack of dogs, Bambi rushes to rescue her. Faline escapes from the dogs, but Bambi is shot as he jumps across a ravine. He falls unconscious as a fire, sparked by the hunters' campfire, begins to spread, but the Great Prince arrives and urges Bambi to flee. The animals dash through the forest as the fire races along behind them, but eventually the Great Prince and Bambi reach safety, and Bambi is reunited with Faline. More time passes as new growth appears in the burned-out areas, and one day, Flower and Thumper, who have families of their own, proudly watch as Faline introduce her twin fawns to the other forest animals. Bambi, who is standing with his father, oversees the gathering, then takes his father's place as the Prince of the Forest.

Crew

Edwin Aardal

Animation

James Algar

Seq Director

W. Richard Anthony

Backgrounds

Sam Armstrong

Seq Director

Jack Atwood

Assistant Director

Preston Blair

Animation

John Bradbury

Animation

Jerome Brown

Animation

Paul Busch

Animation

Lars Calonius

Animation

Brad Case

Animation

Frank Churchill

Music

Frank Churchill

Composer

Thomas H. Codrick

Art Director

Robert C. Cormack

Art Director

Chuck Couch

Story dev

Merle T. Cox

Backgrounds

Ugo D'orsi

Animation

Fraser Davis

Animation

Maurice Day

Research artist

Walt Disney

Presented By

Phil Duncan

Animation

Russell Dyson

Animation

Art Elliott

Animation

J. S. Escalante

Animation

Carl Fallberg

Story dev

Paul Fitzpatrick

Animation

Bernard Garbutt

Animation

Joseph Gayek

Animation

George Goepper

Animation

Franklin Grundeen

Animation

Harry Hamsel

Animation

David D. Hand

Supervisor Director

John Harbaugh

Animation

Lloyd Harting

Art Director

Graham Heid

Seq Director

Charles Henderson

Choral Arrangements

David Hilberman

Art Director

Mike Holoboff

Assistant Director

John Hubley

Art Director

Ray Huffine

Backgrounds

Kenneth Hultgren

Animation

M. James

Animation

Travis Johnson

Backgrounds

Oliver M. Johnston Jr.

Supervisor anim

Bill Justice

Animation

Milton Kahl

Supervisor anim

Lynn Karp

Animation

Dick Kelsey

Art Director

Paul B. Kossoff

Animation

Eric Larson

Supervisor anim

Ed Levitt

Backgrounds

Don Lusk

Animation

Dan Macmanus

Animation

Fred Madison

Animation

Murray Mcclellan

Animation

Robert Mcintosh

Backgrounds

John Mcmanus

Animation

Joshua Meador

Animation

James Moore

Animation

Larry Morey

Story Adapted

Larry Morey

Composer

Kenneth O'brien

Animation

Bob Ogle

Assistant Director

Art Palmer

Animation

Perce Pearce

Story Director

Curtiss D. Perkins

Layout

Edward Plumb

Music

John Reed

Animation

Art Riley

Backgrounds

Bill Roberts

Seq Director

George Rowley

Animation

Paul Satterfield

Seq Director

Louis Schmitt

Animation

Glenn Scott

Layout

Retta Scott

Animation

Hazel Sewell

Animation

Melvin Shaw

Story dev

Paul J. Smith

Orchestration

Stan Spohn

Backgrounds

Joe Stahley

Backgrounds

George Stallings

Story dev

Alexander Steinert

Conductor

Mclaren Stewart

Art Director

Sandy Strother

Animation

Franklin Thomas

Supervisor anim

Don Tobin

Animation

Harvey Toombs

Animation

Don Towsley

Animation

Noel Tucker

Animation

Karl Van Leuven

Animation

Jim Will

Animation

Vernon G. Witt

Animation

Charles Wolcott

Orchestration

Tyrus Wong

Backgrounds

Cornett Wood

Animation

Dee Worth

Secretary

Norman Wright

Seq Director

Ralph Wright

Story dev

Cy Young

Animation

Robert W. Youngquist

Animation

Vi Zimmerman

Secretary

Al Zinnen

Art Director

Film Details

MPAA Rating
G
Genre
Family
Release Date
Aug 21, 1942
Premiere Information
World premiere in London: 9 Aug 1942; New York opening: 13 Aug 1942; Salt Lake City, UT opening: 14 Aug 1942
Production Company
Walt Disney Productions
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the book Bambi: Eine Lebensgeschichte aus dem Walde by Felix Salten (Berlin, 1923).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 10m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
6,259ft (7 reels)

Award Nominations

Best Score

1942

Best Song

1942

Best Sound

1942

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

Bir-duh!
- Thumper
Bir-duh...
- Bambi
Bird!
- Bambi
No...
- Thumper
That's a butterfly!
- Thumper
What happened mother? Why did we all run?
- Bambi
Man was in the forest.
- Bambi's Mother
"Eating greens is a special treat, It makes long ears and great big feet. But it sure is awful stuff to eat." I made that last part up myself.
- Thumper
He doesn't walk very good, does he?
- Thumper
Thumper!
- Thumper's Mother
Yes, mama?
- Thumper
What did your father tell you?
- Thumper's Mother
If you can't say something nice... don't say nothing at all.
- Thumper

Trivia

Pre-production began in 1936 and was intended to be Disney's second full-length animated film after Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937). Disney's perfection and quest for realism delayed the project significantly, so that Pinocchio (1940), Fantasia (1940), Reluctant Dragon, The (1941) and Dumbo (1941) were released earlier than Bambi.

Some scenes of woodland creatures and the forest fire are unused footage from Pinocchio (1940).

The movie was set for a world premiere at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on 30 July 1942, but was delayed due to the extended run of Mrs. Miniver (1942).

The world premiere of this film was scheduled to be in the tiny Lincoln Theater in Damariscotta, Maine, USA. Maurice Day, an animator with Disney, brought Felix Salten's book to the attention of Walt Disney, and when Walt decided to make the movie he thanked Maurice by planning to hold the premiere in Maurice's home town. However, the State of Maine objected, fearing that hunters would be offended by the film, and the actual world premiere was elsewhere.

The movie lost money at the box office for the first run, but began to recoup its considerable cost (over $2,000,000) during the 1947 re-release.

Notes

Felix Salten's novel first appeared as a serial in Die Neve Freie Presse in 1922. After the opening credits of this film, an onscreen dedication reads: "To Sidney A. Franklin, our sincere appreciation for his inspiring collaboration." According to the Hollywood Reporter review, producer Franklin originally bought the rights to Felix Salten's novel in the mid-1930s, and although he "planned to make it himself, [Franklin] surrendered the rights to Disney in the belief his medium would do greater justice to the yarn." A July 19, 1942 New York Times article reported that Disney had purchased the rights from Franklin in April 1937, and modern sources assert that Franklin also agreed to serve as an artistic consultant on the picture. Several contemporary sources report that Bambi began pre-production in 1936 and was intended to be the studio's second feature-length animated release after Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1938). Producer Walt Disney's desire to make the film look as realistic as possible, as well as intermittent labor problems at the studio and economic difficulties, however, prolonged production significantly, and Pinocchio became the second release. According to an August 1938 New York Times article, the Maine Development Commission sent two fawns, named Bambi and Faline, to the studio, where the animals were kept as pets while artists studied their movements, growth and behavior. The article noted that as the film was not due to be completed for two more years, the artists could photograph the animals "in all their phases." Other animals, such as skunks Herman and Petunia, squirrels, birds and chipmunks, were kept at the little zoo established at the Disney Studio in Burbank for use by the artists. When Bambi and Faline were fully grown, they were released into nearby Griffith Park, according to a May 17, 1942 New York Herald Tribune article. Numerous contemporary sources discuss the contributions made by Maurice Day, an artist sent by Disney, in mid-1938, on a lengthy trip to Maine to photograph, sketch and paint scenes of the forest and its inhabitants. Day returned to Maine to study the winter landscape, and his extensive works were used as a reference for the animators. According to the July 1942 New York Times article, while Day was gone, the studio assigned its "top animators-Frank Thomas, Milt Kahl, Oliver Johnston and Eric Larson-to the forest fable." The article also noted that Disney believed that Bambi "was going to be the toughest animation anybody had ever attempted." One of the problems plaguing the production was how to make the animals look natural while they talked. Modern sources state that the "look" of Bambi was most heavily influenced by the watercolor drawings of background artist Tyrus Wong. According to the film's pressbook, well-known animal artist Rico Lebrun conducted a series of classes for the animators about animal anatomy and motion. More lectures on anatomy and life drawing were conducted by art instructor Don Graham, according to publicity materials for one of the picture's re-issues. In a 1991 article in Funnyworld, animator Jack Kinney stated that he worked on the opening sequence of Bambi early in the film's production but asked to be removed from the project due to friction with story director Perce Pearce. According to the film's pressbook, the models for "Bambi's" and "Thumper's" ice skating were actress Jane Randolph, who had never skated before, and Ice-Capades star Donna Atwood. While the animators were working on various facets of Bambi, the studio finished and released three more features: Fantasia, The Reluctant Dragon and Dumbo (see entries below). [Brief animation of the character Bambi is seen in The Reluctant Dragon, although that clip does not appear in Bambi itself.] The lengthy production of Bambi presented a unique problem, according to the July 1942 New York Times article, when retakes were needed from young Peter Behn, who provided the voice of "Thumper" as a young rabbit. According to the article, retakes were required several years after the initial recordings by Behn were done, and the sound department was worried that Behn's voice had changed, but "Peter just got in under the wire" and completed the retakes successfully. Modern sources credit the following actors with supplying the voices of the animal characters: Bobby Stewart, Donnie Donagan, and John Sutherland (Bambi); Paula Winslowe (Bambi's mother); Cammie King (Faline); Mary Lansing (Aunt Ena/Mrs. Possum); Fred Shields (The Great Prince of the Forest); Stanley Alexander (Flower); Tim Davis (Thumper/Flower); Thelma Boardman (Mrs. Quail); Margaret Lee (Mrs. Rabbit); Otis Harlan, Jeanne Christy, Janet Chapman, Bobette Audrey, Jack Horner, Francesca Santoro, Babs Nelson, Sandra Lee Richards, Dolyn Bramston Cook and Elouise Wohlwend. A April 30, 1942 Los Angeles Daily News article on the film reported that Disney previewed a rough cut of the picture for friends and "because it was too long, eliminated 1,000 feet of it." According to a 1990 Los Angeles magazine interview with supervising animator Oliver "Ollie" M. Johnston, Jr., Bambi was trimmed from 9,000 feet to 6,200 feet because of "the initial lack of success on Fantasia, which the studio had put into limited release in 1940. According to Hollywood Reporter news items, the picture was scheduled to have its world premiere at New York City's Radio City Music Hall on July 30, 1942, but the premiere was delayed due to the lengthy run of the M-G-M film Mrs. Miniver. The film's advertising campaign included the promotion of a song entitled "Twitterpated," composed by Helen Bliss, Robert Sour and Henry Manners, which was based on the lecture "Friend Owl" delivers about the amorous effects of Spring. The trio also wrote "Thumper Song" for publicity of the picture. Modern sources report that the film, which cost over $2,000,000 to produce, did not turn a profit during its initial release, largely because the European market was inaccessible during World War II. It was not until the picture's first theatrical re-release, in 1947, that it began to recoup its production costs. The film proved to be a great success in each of its subsequent theatrical re-issues and its releases on home video. In a 1996 "making of" documentary that accompanied one of the picture's releases on home video, animator Johnston asserts that Bambi was Disney's favorite feature among the studio's output, largely because of its realism. Bambi was one of the last films to feature new songs composed by longtime Disney collaborator Frank Churchill, who committed suicide in May 1942. The picture received Academy Award nominations for Best Song for Churchill and Larry Morey's "Love Is a Song," Best Sound Recording and Best Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture. In 1947, the film won a Golden Globe special award for "Furthering the Influence of the Screen" for its ground-breaking Hindustani version. The film also was to be dubbed into Russian, according to a December 1943 Hollywood Reporter news item, with "new lyrics, the narration and dialogue" prepared by Russian-born character actor Leonid Kinskey. Hollywood Reporter news items noted that the film was dubbed into French, Spanish, Swedish, Portuguese and Italian, with plans to do additional dubbing into Dutch, Urdu, Japanese, Chinese, Malaysian and Slovak. According to an April 1981 Los Angeles Times article, the Spanish-language version of Bambi was scheduled for a theatrical re-release. A November 1994 Hollywood Reporter news item noted that the picture had been dubbed into Arapaho to help encourage "Arapaho children to learn and preserve their language." The picture remains somewhat controversial due to the death of Bambi's mother, which some critics claim is too traumatic for young viewers, and due to objections from hunters, who assert that the film presents an unfair and biased view of hunting. An August 1942 Hollywood Reporter news item noted that while most critics praised the film, a "big blast" had come from "the professioanl hunters who are attacking Bambi for casting reflections on their sport." The Motion Picture Herald Prod Digest review also raised the issue, commenting, "some fathers are going to have a hard time explaining their yearly hunting trips." According to a modern source, early screenplay drafts included the shooting of "Friend Hare," the prototype of "Thumper," by hunters, and the discovery by "Bambi" and his father of a hunter's dead body after the forest fire. In a June 15, 1948 Hollywood Reporter news item, German author Eugion Prandi announced his intention to file suit against the Disney Studio, which, he claimed, had based Bambi on his 1932 novel The Hind rather than on Salten's book. The outcome of Prandi's claim is not known. Although several contemporary sources reported that Disney intended to produce a sequel to the film, based on Salten's book Bambi's Children, that picture was not made.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States on Video September 28, 1989

Re-released in United States 1947

Re-released in United States 1957

Re-released in United States 1966

Re-released in United States 1975

Re-released in United States 1982

Re-released in United States July 15, 1988

Re-released in United States on Video February 4, 1997

Re-released in United States 1947

Re-released in United States 1957

Re-released in United States 1966

Re-released in United States 1975

Re-released in United States 1982

Re-released in United States on Video February 4, 1997

Re-released in United States July 15, 1988

Released in United States on Video September 28, 1989