The Disney Silver Age/Bronze Age

This next age is sometimes viewed as one era or two but there is no distinction on where one age begins and ends. So I am joining them together and we will call this era the Disney Silver Era. This is the era was the era that the rest of the Disney animated movies that came out during Walt Disney’s life. From Cinderella to Jungle Book, though some argue that the Aristocats should be included in this era while others don’t. But more on the Aristocats later. So without further adieu here are the Disney animated movies that came out during the Disney Silver Era.

 

Cinderella

 

It is 1948 and Disney is in tremendous debt and facing bankruptcy. After the many box office bombs, the war and having to produce low budget packaged films, Walt Disney is not doing to well. He needs his next movie to be the movie of his dreams that will put his company on the map and keep it alive. He decided to return to a full length feature and this was going to be the first movie that all of the Nine Old Men would work on together. And this movie had to be a hit or it would be the end of Disney. Two years go by and it is 1950 and this movie opens in theaters and it is a massive hit. This movie was Cinderella. This movie was a dream come true for Disney. This movie became the biggest hit since Snow White. The music is awesome as well as the story. You know the story and it is a simple tale of a girl is abused and forced to work in her own house as a servant girl. She is forced to live in the attic and must serve these selfish brats and their evil mother. Cinderella remains kind and hopes that one day her dreams will come true. This movie is one of Disney’s best. We love the mice and hate to see Cinderella treated so horribly. We cry with her when the stepsisters tear her mother’s dress to shreds and jump for joy when she finally succeeds in having her dreams come true. Lady Tremaine is one of Disney’s best villains too. She doesn’t want magic or want to rule a kingdom, although she wouldn’t mind that. But what she does have is complete control of one person’s life. And she makes it her life goal to make sure that Cinderella remain a scullery maid serving them for the rest of Cinderella’s life. And she has a wicked cat who just loves to torment Cinderella and her mice friends just for his own evil pleasure. We love A Dream is Wish your Heart Makes and Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo. This movie is a classic and Cinderella is a wonderful addition to the Disney library. This movie gives us the Disney castle that is in Disney World and Cinderella and most of the cast appear in some manor in the parks. For the mice they can be meet and greet characters and they might be on parade floats as decorations, but they do have a presence. Cinderella can be met in the Princess Fairytale hall.  In other media Cinderella and her friend have been in Kingdom Hearts, House of Mouse and will be in Ralph Breaks the Internet. So than you Cinderella for helping Walt keep his company alive and keep making dreams come true.

 

Alice in Wonderland

 

After the success of Cinderella, Disney returned to making full length animated features. He had always wanted to make Alice in Wonderland but had never been able to do it until now. In Pinocchio, the books Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan can be seen by Jiminy Cricket in the beginning of the movie. Alice went down the rabbit hole on July 28, 1951. It did not do well at first but as with most Disney movies, through re-releases it became more popular. Alice in Wonderland is featured in the parks through rides such as the famous Tea Cups and the dark ride in Disneyland. Alice in Wonderland is a Disney classic and deserves a watch every now and then.

Peter Pan

 

Today is a very special day, I get to talk about one of my favorite Disney movies.   65 years ago, on February 5, 1953 the boy who never grew up flew into our lives. This was during the heart of the Silver Era and Peter Pan did very well. It was more popular than Alice in Wonderland and it was the highest grossing film of 1953. When I was growing up, Peter Pan was my movie and we have been together for a long time. Before there was Lion King there was Peter Pan. I loved playing Captain Hook and Wendy with my cousin. In our story Peter Pan was the bad guy and Hook was the hero and guess who was Hook? Me! I can remember being in my aunt’s wedding and singing follow the leader. Yes, now that Lion King has arrived Peter Pan has moved to my second favorite Disney movie, but I still love Peter Pan a lot. The Story. The story is about this boy who never grows up and the children who believe in him. These children are like me, who love Peter Pan and make him the hero of their nursery games. Peter Pan is this boy who can fly, fight pirates and hang out with pixies and mermaids and never grow up. Who wouldn’t want to hang out with Peter Pan. So, when Peter Pan arrives at these children’s home in search of his shadow, he takes the children on the adventure of a life time. The story is awesome, full of fighting and songs and Captain Hook. The characters. I love almost all the characters in Peter Pan, but the one I love the most is Captain Hook. I loved everything about this guy, his long black hair, his red coat, his sword and of course his hook. He is a clever villain who loves loop holes in contracts and will blow you up if you make him mad. He lost his hand to the crocodile and now is out for revenge for that. He will stop at nothing to capture Peter Pan and kill him. He is also a master swordsman. I love Captain Hook. Other characters are cool as well. I think I like Michael out of all the children. The Lost Boys can be annoying, and I hate the crocodile since all he wants to do is eat Captain Hook. The songs. The songs are wonderful and memorable You Can Fly is probably my favorite, followed by The Second Star to the Right. Peter Pan is heavily featured in the Disney Parks, appearing in most parades and has his own ride Peter Pan’s Flight which is my favorite ride. Peter Pan is a wonderful Disney movie and Captain Hook is an awesome villain. Peter Pan is one of those movies that when you watch it, you know it is a Disney movie. With all of the pixie dust and having dreams come true. It just screams Disney. And I wouldn’t want it any other way. Peter Pan is awesome. So, go watch Peter Pan tonight you won’t regret it.

 

Lady and the Tramp

It is one of Disney’s greatest love story and it is about dogs. Lady and the Tramp is another movie that not many people liked at first but now it has become an icon and has one of the most famous scenes of all. I love Lady and the Tramp. I love that since this is a dog movie, we see things from the dog’s point of view not their owners.  I love how Lady doesn’t understand what a baby is and how she loves and cares for her owners and will do anything to keep them safe. Tramp is a dog that loves the carefree life and  uses humans to get what he needs out of life, but he would never want to be put on a leash. It’s a sweet story that has heart and love and also one of Disney’s memorable songs in Bella Notte. The way that Jim Dear gives Lady to Darling in the beginning is similar to the way that Walt gave his wife a puppy in a hat box. For some reason critics didn’t like this movie and they didn’t like the new technology that was used to film this movie. CinemaScope was a widescreen format and it made everything look bigger. For more info on CinemaScope I recommend you wiki it. Despite all that I think Lady and the Tramp is a great Disney movie and it should be watched and loved. Lady and the Tramp appear in small references in the Disney parks. They have a restaurant named after Tony’s Restaurant in the Magic Kingdom that unfortunately is not very good. Other things like Fantasmic and Happily Ever After feature Lady and the Tramp.

Sleeping Beauty

After the success of Cinderella, Walt began production of another fairy tale Sleeping Beauty. This movie was very expensive to make and once again used a widescreen format. Unfortunately like most of these movies in the Silver Era it did not well at all. It was so bad that Disney never made another fairy tale movie during his lifetime. But also with most of these movies during the Silver Era it became considered a classic and one of Disney’s best.  I think that what maybe hurt this movie was that the focus was not on the princess and her prince but rather side characters and an awesome villain who try to steal the show. This movie is supposed to be about Princess Aurora but we know more about her fairy guardians than we do Aurora. This is the first time that a Disney prince as a name and an actual role in the movie. So it does get points for that. But in the last half of the movie, neither Aurora or Prince Philip say a word. Now Aurora has an excuse because she is under a curse but why couldn’t Philip talk after the first half?That being said there are some great things about this movie. Mainly the villain. Maleficent is one of the most iconic Disney villains and is scary and powerful and is a forced to be reckoned with. She is one of the few villains to actually succeed in her goal. And when she faces Philip and becomes the powerful dragon, they give us one of the best Disney battles ever. The songs are nice and Once Upon A Dream is a wonderful song to sing along with A Dream is A Wish Your Heart Makes. So despite it’s shortcomings it is a good movie and definitely a Disney Classic. It is also one of the castles in Disney parks. The Sleeping Beauty and castle was the first Disney castle in Disneyland. I just wish Aurora was more involved in her own movie. I would tell you to see but I am sure you already have.

101 Dalmatians

Another great Disney movie that came out during the Silver Era was a movie that did very well right from the beginning was 101 Dalmatians. It was the highest grossing movie of 1961 and everyone loved it. And to this day it remains one of Disney’s best. A story about a mad woman who wants to wear puppies and 2 dogs who risk everything to bring them  home. Pongo and Perdita are awesome and so is Cruella. She is one of the few villains that I do not like but that does not mean she is a bad villain. She is another force to be reckoned with. But while Prince Philip could fight back, it seems that the only way to get away from Cruella is to run. It starts out slow with Pongo looking for a mate.  Then just builds when the thought of puppies are coming and then Cruella enters the movie and it just explodes as this race against time to get these puppies home for Christmas. The dogs have a lesser presence in the parks but if there is something to do with villains, Cruella is right there. Dodie Smith wrote the novel a year earlier and hoped that Walt would make a movie out of it. In the novel Cruella had a husband and a cat and there were other characters. But they were removed from the movie. Dodie Smith said that the changes Walt made, improved her story and she was very proud that her novel had become a Disney movie. 101 Dalmatians also has one of the best Disney dads. I love Pongo and the lengths he goes through to bring not only his 15 puppies home but 84 extra puppies and adopt them with no questions asked. Pongo is awesome and so is 101 Dalmatians.

Sword in the Stone

The next movie to me is the weakest of the Silver/Bronze age which is now nearing the end. Though this movie did do well and I love the opening song, there is just not much content with this story. It is a story about an orphan boy who is mistreated by his adopted family. He meets Merlin a powerful wizard who wants to teach Wart about how to use his head over brawn. Eventually Wart pulls the sword from the stone ans becomes king. There are some memorable moments such as the pulling of the sword but also the wizards duel against Merlin and Madam Mim, an evil witch who only appears once but makes an impact on how to use brain over brawn. This was the last movie to be released in Walt’s lifetime. I don’t hate this movie, I just wish there was something more than what we got. Merlin is the most famous character of the movie and he is the only one who can be seen in the Disney parks. The Sword in the Stone is worth a watch if you have never seen it.

The Jungle Book

And now we come to the last movie that Walt Disney himself produced. The Jungle Book is an awesome story about a boy named Mowgli and his adventures in the jungles of India. This movie is one of my favorite Disney movies. I love Baloo, Bagheera and Shere Khan. They are awesome characters that helped make this movie amazing. I also love the songs and used to dance to Bare Necessitates as a kid. Jungle Book is not a true retelling of the novel the Jungle Book. Disney found some of the stories too dark for a his film and a one point walked into his the room of animators tossed them the book and said don’t read it. So much of the story is sort of Disney’s version of the Jungle Book. I like it as I have already stated. And I am not the only one. It did very well at the box office and is often considered one of Disney’s best. Baloo and King Louie can be met for meet and greets and Jungle Book is featured in a lot of shows and parades. So go watch the Jungle Book and dance and sing along with Baloo.

The Aristocats

And now we come to the final movie of the Silver/Bronze age. The Aristocats is the last movie that Disney green-lit himself before his death. This movie tells the story of a cat who loves her owner and always wants to be there for her. Duchess wants her kittens to do the same and grow up to be charming ladies and gentlemen. But her kittens are known for fighting and often times not being very nice. But deep down the kittens  are cute kids who just love to have fun. And they all love music. So when their butler Edgar tries to get rid of them to inherit Duchess’s owners millions, Duchess must find her way home. Along the way she meets an alley cat that teaches her how to be a swinger and enjoy a new kind of music. Thomas O’Malley is a cool cat who loves the kittens and Duchess and does all he can to help Duchess and her kittens get home and stop the butler. This movie is fun and energetic and funny and is a very good movie. And it did very well which is why it doesn’t belong in our next era the Dark Age of Disney.

 

So there we have it, Those are the movies that came out during Disney’s Silver/Bronze era. A recurring theme with these movies is that some were instant hits while others eventually became classics. But overall these movies helped shaped Disney to what it is today. Walt Disney is dead and the company begins to spiral downward into what is known as the Dark Age of Disney. So come back to learn about this era in Disney history.

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