Walt Disney’s “Technicolor feature triumph” Fantasia has been released eight times, received two special academy awards, and was selected for preservation by the Library of Congress for being “cultural, historical, and aesthetical significance”. Fantasia was groundbreaking as it was the first major film released in “fantasound”, an early form of surround sound.  Walt Disney originally released the film at traveling road shows. Disney’s reason for this was that theatres across the country were not fitted with the proper “fantasound” equipment, which Walt Disney thought was essential to the film. Later Disney allowed a shortened version of the film without the “fantasound” to be released in theatres nation wide.

Interestingly Fantasia initially failed to generate any profit and was somewhat of a flop. Some blame this failure on the “fantasound” itself, which made showing the film to mass audiences almost impossible. However it has gone on to be one of the most popular films of all time and is now considered a classic.


7 responses to “Fantasia

  1. Fantasia ended up gaining its popularity in the end I believe because the music was matched whatever colorful scene was going on. For example, whenever a volcano had erupted with lava, it was always with the sound of a bass drum or something of the sort. Also, it was a good strategy by the moviemakers to pick very popular classical music that struck the audience right away with a “Hey, I recognize this song!”. This movie with no dialogue and only music just makes the film that much better.

  2. Fantasia’s initial success was indeed delayed and inhibited by the inferior sound technology at the time. Since hardly any theaters could support the film, it obviously had a hard time succeeding. However as technology improved over time, the public could begin to respect the innovative fantasound technology at a larger scale. Today, we take surround sound for granted. For example, if Fantasia didn’t use this technology, we would not be able to fully feel the frightening and subliminal representation of the “prehistoric times on Earth” scene. Furthermore, the lack of surround sound would be a novel experience to our ears.

  3. I think one of the reasons why Fantasia went from such a dud to a classic that is still known today could be because at the time, it was so different from everything else. Many people probably didn’t consider seeing it because they had never heard of anything like it, and didn’t know what to expect.

  4. Why did Disney see this movie as a chance to express sound? How/Where did he get his inspiration? It doesn’t seem like a classic Disney movie choice.

  5. As you said, Disney seemed to really stress the sound of this production and not just the visuals. Does anyone else think that this focus boosted Fantasia in the rankings of popular films?

    • I definitely think that has some influence in it, but it seems like because of the stress on the sounds was why it originally flopped. It seems like people weren’t ‘ready’ for that kind of movie at the time. Now though, since we are able to watch it with much better sound systems, I think the music and the correlation of the sounds with the pictures are a big reason why it eventually did go on to do well; for example as we saw today, the fairies turned the dull looking flowers into much prettier visuals in correlation to when the music went up to a higher pitch.

    • I definitely think that the sound played a big part in helping the film gain popularity. Because there are no dialogue, it had to depend everything on the audio to tell the story, show emotions, and communicate with the audience. In the segments we watched today, a part that stood out was the appearance of the T-Rex. The music immediately added another dimension to the story.

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