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A few words about...™ The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad et al -- in Blu-ray

Blu-ray Disney A Few Words About

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#1 of 14 Robert Harris

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Posted August 16 2014 - 05:25 AM

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Disney has just released a great Blu-ray, bringing together three films originally released in the '40s, and each a compendium in its own right.

 

While I saw Ichabod in it's original release as a child, I don't recall ever seeing any of these films in high quality.  Last time I saw Ichabod was an ancient Technicolor 16mm print with a cyan track, and soft resolution.

 

The short story here, is that each of these films is breathtakingly beautiful, as represented on this Blu-ray disc.

 

Some specifics.

 

The earliest, known as The Reluctant Dragon, is actually so much more.  It's a 74 minute film, following the great humorist Robert Benchley, on a veritable tour of the Disney studio, inclusive of great views of not only how normal animated films were created, but with wonderful footage of the huge multi-plane camera.

 

The Reluctant Dragon will become a very special film for any cinephile.

 

This is a film with a surprise inside, and is beautifully crafted from original elements.

 

The second offering is Fun and Fancy Free, another omnibus film, released in 1947, inclusive of Mickey and the Beanstalk and Bongo, about a performing bear.

 

My favorite of the bunch is The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, yet another pairing of two tales, The Wind in the Willows (1908), by Kenneth Grahame (who also penned The Reluctant Dragon in 1898) and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1820) by Washington Irving.

 

There is some question as to precisely what was the first film that I saw in a theatre -- Ichabod and Mr. Toad, or a re-issue of Bambi.

 

This was the last in a series of anthology programs created by the Disney studio, the others being Saludos Amigos (1942), The Three Caballeros (1944), Make Mine Music (1946), Fun and Fancy Free (1947) and Melody Time (1948).  Hopefully, the others will be coming on Blu-ray in due time.

 

All three of these film are magnificently presented, albeit with a bit less grain in some areas than one might have originally seen in theaters.  Colors are beautifully rendered, although I cannot speak to original accuracy -- above my pay grade.

 

If one visits the Amazon site, where the disc is currently offered at $34, the details are a bit muddled.  While they correctly note that there are three discs (one BD and two DVDs), the running time seems short for the price point.

 

The 68 minutes noted represents Ichabod, while the other two come in at 70 and 74, yielding a total package of 212 minutes.  To my mind, a bargain, and a great release from Disney.

 

Image - 4.5

 

Audio - 5

 

Very Highly Recommended.

 

RAH


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#2 of 14 Dick

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Posted August 16 2014 - 06:20 AM

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I was truly impressed by this release. For these 65-year-old eyes, FUN AND FANCY FREE had more DNR applied than the other two, but the detail remains. And the inclusion of THE RELUCTANT DRAGON makes me want to weep with joy, so unexpected was it -- as a bonus, yet -- and looking gorgeous (both the black and white and the Technicolor footage) in 1080p. When I see this kind of quality being applied to three somewhat below A-list titles, I wonder even more why the studio isn't willing to re-do SWORD IN THE STONE, which is their blu-ray nadir.

 

So, I won't shoot this gift horse in the mouth. Thanks, Disney. Hope it sells monstrously well.


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#3 of 14 Ethan Riley

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Posted August 16 2014 - 06:39 AM

Haven't seen it in the stores as of yet...I'm bargain hunting. Good to hear that these three titles weren't ruined on blu as have so many others. Maybe Disney has turned things around for this wave.
 

 


#4 of 14 Craig Beam

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Posted August 16 2014 - 09:03 PM

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Picked this up for $22.99 today at Best Buy. I would've paid that for The Reluctant Dragon alone. Score!  :D


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#5 of 14 Reagan

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Posted August 18 2014 - 03:10 PM

Thanks for the review, Mr. Harris.

 

-R


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#6 of 14 Jason_V

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Posted August 19 2014 - 06:38 AM

I got to watch Ichabod and Mr. Toad last week. It's a fun throwback to my childhood and the Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday nights. I hadn't realized some of the characters were reused in Mickey's Christmas Carol; I figured Rat and Mole were new characters specifically designed for that program.

 

It was strange watching Ichabod immediately after Mr. Toad. They're both for slightly older audiences than typical Disney fare, but Ichabod is decidedly much more adult in the long run. Part of me expected a different ending for the story, considering this is Disney.

 

The run time listed on Amazon is not correct. Ichabod and Mr. Toad runs over an hour by itself. Wikipedia says Fun and Fancy Free runs another 70ish minutes, and The Reluctant Dragon is about the same. So there's easily over 3 hours of material here for the price point. I got mine on release day from Best Buy for $22.99; the price now on BB.com is higher, and the price on Amazon is absurdly high.



#7 of 14 Randy Korstick

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Posted August 19 2014 - 06:42 AM

I agree this is a great set. I never thought these films could look this good. I hope to see a double feature of Make Mine Music and Melody Time soon in the same quality and with the cut footage in Melody Time restored.


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#8 of 14 Craig Beam

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Posted August 19 2014 - 11:13 AM

I hope to see a double feature of Make Mine Music and Melody Time soon in the same quality and with the cut footage in Melody Time restored.

 

Yes! Those are my two most-wanted Disney-on-Blu titles.



#9 of 14 ThadK

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Posted August 19 2014 - 03:16 PM

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Got this today heavily discounted. It's not a particularly good job, but it isn't horrible. A bit too dark, and there's DNR scrubbing on all three of the movies, probably worst on RELUCTANT DRAGON. Amazingly though, they left in quite a bit of film grain!


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#10 of 14 BRAD1963

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Posted August 19 2014 - 04:13 PM

The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad and Toy Story of Terror! are the Disney DVD/Blu ray club's Monthly Selection for $29.99, I went ahead and ordered them.   In addition I was able to get the club Blu Ray exclusives of The Apple Dumpling Gang and The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes for $14.99 each.  



#11 of 14 Brian Kidd

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Posted August 19 2014 - 05:22 PM

Brad, just realize that the Disney Movie Club disc is just Ichabod and Mister Toad and not the other two films. 


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#12 of 14 siuling337

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Posted August 20 2014 - 01:05 AM

WOW! Thanks for the information. My kids love Disney Movie so much!!!!



#13 of 14 Sam Favate

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Posted August 20 2014 - 02:45 PM

Sadly, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride is no longer part of Walt Disney World. That was my intro to this movie, which I eventually saw on broadcast TV in the 70s. Glad to hear the blu-ray is what it should be.



#14 of 14 Reagan

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Posted August 25 2014 - 12:39 PM

Sadly, Mr. Toad's Wild Ride is no longer part of Walt Disney World. That was my intro to this movie, which I eventually saw on broadcast TV in the 70s. Glad to hear the blu-ray is what it should be.

 

There's always Disneyland. It's still a great ride out West.


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