Continuing with my attempt to watch every Disney film ever – where they’re available on Disney+ anyway – today we hit the 50s, and some really familiar names for those who love Disney. I’ve been a Disney fan for as long as I can remember, but there are many films of theirs I haven’t seen, especially outside the animated classics. We started by using the Through the Decades collection, which was then removed from the platform, so we use the D23 list now instead.
A classic film, a classic princess, one I know pretty much all the words too. This film is as entertaining now as it was when I was a kid. How can you not love this rags to riches story? And it’s iconic, of course. Like Snow White, it blends the darker moments in with the lighter ones really well.
1950: Treasure Island
This one I hadn’t seen – one of the only Treasure Island films I’ve seen and loved was The Muppets’ version, but I was excited to dig into this. I read the book a long, long time ago, and though some of it was entertaining, a lot of it kind of dragged? Definitely a boys’ adventure story from another age. This film was, however, enjoyable. Really silly at parts, especially looking at it with a modern eye, and the background to the filming is interesting – Walt Disney had money tied up in England, so decided to film there, but switched to live action as he was unable to find animators in the country. There were four live-action films made in England in the next few years. Long John Silver is as iconic as always, and it felt like this version skewed more towards the book than The Muppets’ one.
1951: Alice in Wonderland
Another animated classic, another beloved children’s book adapted for the big screen. Alice in Wonderland follows Alice as she follows a White Rabbit into Wonderland, and comes across many strange and wonderful things. It’s still a delightful film, and gets 10/10 for nostalgia.
1952: The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men
Another British classic, though this one more based on legend. It is, of course, not the most famous Disney Robin Hood adaptation, and like Treasure Island it’s very silly in parts. It’s another live-action filmed in England thanks to those pesky blocked funds, and it’s fun to watch now having seen quite a handful of these, and great to see where some inspiration was drawn for things like the animated film and parodies like Men in Tights (a particular favourite of mine).
1953: Peter Pan
And lastly on this fairly British run of Disney movies, we have another classic created by another British – in this case Scottish – writer, J.M. Barrie. Peter Pan is the endearing story of a boy who refused to grow up, and the Darling children who travel to Neverland. My favourite thing about Peter Pan are the various interpretations and reimagining’s that have emerged, especially in the last few years. The film is lovely in parts, but there are problematic elements, especially in the treatment of Native Americans. It’s partly why I think I prefer other interpretations, and especially ones that make Hook a little more sympathetic while Peter is portrayed as more on the darker side. Peter is an incredibly selfish, self-centred character, but the Lost Boys are delightful. And now I’m thinking it’s time I rewatched Hook.
We’re now up to 1953, with only a handful more films until I’ve caught up with where we are in the rewatch. Hopefully as we get further along more of the films will be available, and I’m really enjoying rewatching old favourites. So tell me – what’s your favourite Disney film?