HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Last Moment of Clarity
Fukushima 50
Dreams on Fire
Sing as We Go!
Burnt Orange Heresy, The
Craft Legacy, The
Eye of the Storm
Inflatable Sex Doll of the Wastelands
Where No Vultures Fly
Come True
Kagemusha
Justine
Poly Styrene: I Am a Cliché
Madchen in Uniform
Fire Will Come
Suspect
Jailbreak Pact
News of the World
Dementer
Beyond Clueless
Stylist, The
Sky is On Fire, The
Wrong Turn
In a Year with 13 Moons
Blush
Strange Affair of Uncle Harry, The
Sinners, The
Tammy and the T-Rex
Archenemy
Zappa
Mindwarp
State Secret
Mogul Mowgli
Owners, The
Twentieth Century, The
Story of Gilbert and Sullivan, The
What Lies Below
Greenland
Broil
Dead Pigs
   
 
Newest Articles
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
   
 
  Sword in the Stone, The Do You Like Merlin?  I Don't Know, I've Never Merled
Year: 1963
Director: Wolfgang Reitherman
Stars: Rickie Sorensen, Karl Swenson, Junius Matthews, Sebastian Cabot, Norman Alden, Martha Wentworth, Richard Reitherman, Robert Reitherman, Alan Napier, Ginny Tyler
Genre: Comedy, Animated, FantasyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 3 votes)
Review: Merlin the wizard (voiced by Karl Swenson) has been to the future and laments that the medieval times he hails from, and now makes his home in, do not have electricity and plumbing which would make his life far easier, especially when he has to draw water from the well by his forest cottage. He needs the water for his teapot, which in turn is to be used by his guest only Merlin has no idea of who he might be, simply that he has had a vision that today, in half an hour, he will be visited by someone significant. Meanwhile, on the edge of the forest, young Arthur (Rickie Sorenson, Richard Reitherman and Robert Reitherman) is trailing after his knight in training stepbrother...

The notion of Walt Disney tackling the King Arthur myth was a promising one, but as adapted from the novel by T.H. White, The Sword in the Stone did not concern itself too heavily with the elements of the venerable tale. Instead, the plotline attempts to place the value of learning into its audience's heads with lengthy sequences where little Arthur is taught about life and the world by wise but bumbling Merlin, here as the father figure, or grandfather figure, that the boy never really had. As far as that goes it is fine, but the lack of a gripping narrative means it's never anything more than pleasant, in spite of the efforts towards slapstick that punctuate every scene.

All that slapstick is more reminsicent of a Tom and Jerry cartoon rather than something like Disney's classic Sorcerer's Apprentice section of Fantasia, only not the classic cat and mouse adventures, more the later, contemporary to this sixties ones where Chuck Jones was ruining the characters with tone deaf approaches. Therefore there's not much to have you rolling about when Merlin bungles for the hundredth time, or his huffy pet owl Archimedes is drenched yet again. There is, however, one classic sequence, but it turns up too late in the production to look like anything other than a little oasis of creativity in the otherwise worthy but uninspired.

After he literally drops in on Merlin - through his roof - the wizard tells him that under his tutelage the boy is destined for great things, and the notion that this is the future most famous King of all British legend we're dealing with doesn't appear to have inspired director Wolfgang Reitherman or his writers as they keep things steadily juvenile throughout. In a way it's a relief that their Arthur doesn't act noble and composed throughout in a Kingly, or even Princely, fashion, because that would have worn out its welcome long before the halfway mark, but on the other hand you never get the impression that the hero has the character necessary to fill his regal role.

Arthur is naturally undervalued by his foster family, who are lining him up to be the squire to his stepbrother Kay, and they call him Wart and foist the menial tasks upon him, to make sure we know that when he does ascend the throne he understands some level of humility. It's only Merlin who has faith in him, and puts him the through his paces as he uses magic to turn him into a fish, a squirrel and a bird to allow him to grasp the significance of the world. Oddly, when Arthur becomes a squirrel a girl squirrel falls for him, which ends on a note of heartbreak when the boy is returned to human shape: the girl squirrel collapses in tears, out of keeping with the lighter tone of the rest of the film. If the Sword in the Stone is recalled for anything, of course, it's nothing to do with the title weapon, it's the duel between Meriln and wily witch Madame Mim, an irrelevant but truly marvelous bit of whimsy with the duelists transforming into various animals to outwit each other - good for clip shows, that bit. Music by George Bruns.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 3264 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
   

 

Last Updated: