5 Things You Didn’t Know About Sleeping Beauty

Revered as one of Disney’s Greatest films, Sleeping Beauty has stood the test of time. Almost 60 years later, it has become a major pop-culture icon. To honor this masterpiece, here is our list of 5 Things You May Not Know about Sleeping Beauty!

#1: Sleeping Beauty Was a Technological Triumph

Walt Disney insisted that Sleeping Beauty must be the most beautiful film the studio had ever made. He famously said that the film should look like ‘a moving illustration’. He did not care how long it took, or how much money it would cost to get it there. Walt wound up spending twice as much on Sleeping Beauty than any other Disney animated feature before. Over an arduous 8 years of production, Walt made sure the film was refined to a level of quality which stunned critics of the day. The animation was specifically altered from Disney’s typical style to make it feel more Gothic and intricate. The format which it was intended to be released in (Super Technirama 70) was specifically chosen because of its depth of sound and widescreen picture; making it one of only two animated films in history at the time to be produced in anamorphic widescreen (the first was Lady and the Tramp).

The climactic scene between Prince Phillip and Maleficent is a fantastic example of the entire film’s epic artistry and technical innovations.

#2: The Score Was Not a Disney Original

Walt Disney had always worked hard to produce the best original scores that he could muster; making his animated films famous as lavish musicals. However, Disney took a very rare approach to the scoring of Sleeping Beauty. To produce the sophisticated feeling he was looking for, Walt insisted that the score be adapted directly from Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s famous Sleeping Beauty Ballet; the lyrics of Once Upon a Dream are the only new addition to the score. The score was adapted and revised by George Bruns and the adapted score was nominated for an Academy Award, but it was turned down in favor of a completely original score.vnlLPbCazLIl

#3: Maleficent’s Voice Should Sound Very Familiar

Although Maleficent is arguably the most popular of the Disney villains, and was Eleanor Audley’s most well-known performance, it was not the first Disney villain the radio veteran portrayed…nor the last of her dark Disney roles. Nine years prior, in 1950, Eleanor had made her Disney debut by portraying Lady Tremaine, the cruel stepmother in Cinderella. Disney Parks veterans will also recognize her as the voice of Madame Leota at The Haunted Mansion! If you already knew that, then you may still be surprised to learn that Eleanor was one of the few actors in sleeping beauty who also portrayed her character for live-action reference footage. this live-action performance was studied by Angelina Jolie for her role as the same character in Maleficent (2014).

Eleanor Audley erupts in rage at her goons in this still from the live-action reference used by animators as inspiration.

#4: It Is One of the most Revered Animated Films of All Time

Today, many film critics and historians agree that Sleeping Beauty is one of the best animated films of all time. With a Rotten Tomatoes Score of 92%, and numerous praise from filmmakers and critics allike, it stands the test of time. Sleeping Beauty is also notable as the “33rd highest Grossing Film in History” with a total value of $642,456,300 in today’s currency when adjusted for inflation. The film is also the “5th Highest Grossing animated film of all time” when adjusted for inflation. In addition, The Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland is now the spiritual icon of the entire Walt Disney Studios; replacing the previous generic castle as the company’s logo (despite popular belief, it is not Walt Disney World’s Cinderella castle).

Although much more elaborate than the version at Disneyland, this logo is confirmed by the company to be an updated Sleeping Beauty castle. It was commissioned by the Walt Disney Studios from special effects house ‘WETA DIGITAL’ (known for The Lord of the Rings).

#5: It Was the Last of Its Kind

After 16 animated features, Walt Disney’s films were getting better and better, but they were also getting more and more expensive as a result. The price it was costing to improve upon their films, and make them at such a high quality, was quickly outweighing the profits the studio made. Sleeping Beauty was the last-ditch effort by the Walt Disney Studios to keep animation improving, and it is considered by many as the pinnacle of animation as a result. However, even though it was a huge hit, the film had cost so much money to make that it ended up with only a small profit; that’s how expensive it was to produce! With a sad heart Sleeping Beauty became the last film Walt Disney Produced at such a caliber. The Golden Age was over, and although Disney’s next film (101 Dalmatians-1961) was a success, the art of the animation was greatly reduced….until a certain mermaid!prince-philip-slleping-beauty-annie-leibovitz-s-disney-dream-portrait-series-disney-1361380-2000-1300Enjoy these facts? Interested in more? Like, share, and follow us on Facebook or Twitter by following the links on our menu page in order to receive updates and let us know in the comments what films you want us to cover next!

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