Release Date: December 12th, 1963 (London premiere)
Directed by: Wolfgang Reitherman
Written by: Bill Peet
Based on: The Sword and the Stone by T. H. White
Music by: George Bruns
Cast: Rickie Sorensen, Karl Swenson, Junius Matthews, Sebastian Cabot, Norman Alden, Martha Wentworth
Walt Disney Animation Studios, Walt Disney Productions, 79 Minutes
“Sounds like someone’s sick. How lovely. I do hope it’s serious. Something dreadful.” – Madame Mim
This was one of my favorite animated Disney films to watch growing up. Although, I wouldn’t consider it to be one that’s near the top.
This tells the story of a young King Arthur, called Wart in this, as he meets Merlin the wizard and learns many lessons from him. Although, the film plays more like an anthology of comedy skits with a very thin overall narrative.
However, in the end, it all comes together nicely and we see Wart pull the legendary sword from the stone and thus, become the first king in a new lineage of royalty.
I do like the humor in this and the sequences are still enjoyable. It would be really hard not to like Wart and Merlin and their adventures.
The animation is also good and it kind of shows a change in what was the typical, standard Disney style. This visual change started with One Hundred and One Dalmatians but then again, Disney really experimented with the visual style of Sleeping Beauty, a few years before that. But I like the ’60s style, as well as how they started to color their films a little more vividly.
The Sword In the Stone is an amusing picture but I can also see why it hasn’t stuck in people’s minds historically like Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Pinocchio and others. But it’s also unique in that it treads similar territory to Disney’s “princess” movies but from a boy’s perspective.