Bambi Part One
Bambi is a 1942 American animated film directed by David Hand (supervising a team of sequence directors), produced by Walt Disney and based on the book Bambi, a Life in the Woods by Austrian author Felix Salten. The film was released by RKO Radio Pictures on August 13, 1942, and is the fifth Disney animated feature film.
Original theatrical release poster
Bambi, a Life in the Woods
by Felix Salten
Edward H. Plumb
Walt Disney Productions
RKO Radio Pictures
* August 9, 1942 (World Premiere-London)
* August 13, 1942 (Premiere-New York City)
* August 21, 1942 (U.S.)
The main characters are Bambi, a white-tailed deer; his parents (the Great Prince of the forest and his unnamed mother); his friends Thumper (a pink-nosed rabbit); and Flower (a skunk); and his childhood friend and future mate, Faline. For the movie, Disney took the liberty of changing Bambi’s species into a white-tailed deer from his original species of roe deer, since roe deer are not native to North America, and the white-tailed deer is more widespread in the United States. The film received three Academy Award nominations: Best Sound (Sam Slyfield), Best Song (for “Love Is a Song” sung by Donald Novis) and Original Music Score.
In June 2008, the American Film Institute presented a list of its “10 Top 10″—the best ten films in each of ten classic American film genres—after polling over 1,500 people from the creative community. Bambi placed third in animation. In December 2011, the film was added to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress.
A doe gives birth to a fawn named Bambi, who will one day take over the position of Great Prince of the Forest, a title currently held by Bambi’s father, who guards the woodland creatures from the dangers of hunters. The fawn is quickly befriended by an eager, energetic rabbit named Thumper, who helps to teach him to walk and speak. Bambi grows up very attached to his mother, with whom he spends most of his time. He soon makes other friends, including a young skunk named Flower and a female fawn named Faline. Curious and inquisitive, Bambi frequently asks about the world around him and is cautioned about the dangers of life as a forest creature by his loving mother. One day out in a meadow, Bambi briefly sees The Great Prince but does not realize that he is his father. As the great prince wanders uphill, he discovers the human hunter named “Man” by all the animals is coming and rushes down to the meadow to get everyone to safety. Bambi is briefly separated from his mother during that scene but is escorted to her by the Great Prince as the three of them make it back in the forest just as Man fires his gun.
During Bambi’s first winter, he and Thumper play in the snow while Flower hibernates. One day his mother takes him along to find food, when Man shows up again. As they escape his mother is shot and killed by the hunter, leaving the little fawn mournful and alone. Taking pity on his abandoned son, the Great Prince leads Bambi home as he reveals to him that he is his father. Years later, Bambi has matured into a young stag, and his childhood friends have entered young adulthood as well. They are warned of “twitterpation” by Friend Owl and that they will eventually fall in love, although the trio view the concept of romance with scorn. However, Thumper and Flower soon both encounter their beautiful romantic counterparts and abandon their former thoughts on love. Bambi himself encounters Faline as a beautiful doe. However, their courtship is quickly interrupted and challenged by a belligerent older stag named Ronno, who attempts to force Faline away from Bambi. Bambi successfully manages to defeat Ronno in battle and earn the rights to the doe’s affections.
Bambi is awakened shortly afterward by the smell of smoke, he follows it and discovers it leads to a hunter camp. Bambi is warned by his father that Man has returned with more hunters. The two flee to safety, although Bambi is separated from Faline in the turmoil and searches for her along the way. He soon finds her cornered by Man’s vicious hunting dogs, which he manages to ward off. Bambi, his father, Faline, and the forest animals manage to reach shelter on a riverbank. The following spring, Faline gives birth to twins under Bambi’s watchful eye as the new Great Prince of the Forest.
* Bambi, the film’s title character and protagonist:
* Bobby Stewart as Baby Bambi
* Donnie Dunagan as Young Bambi
* Hardie Albright as Adolescent Bambi
* John Sutherland as Young Adult Bambi
* Thumper, a friend of Bambi’s:
* Peter Behn as Young Thumper
* Tim Davis as Adolescent Thumper
* Sam Edwards as Young Adult Thumper
* Paula Winslowe as Bambi’s Mother and the Pheasant
* Flower, a striped skunk and another friend of Bambi’s:
* Stan Alexander as Young Flower
* Tim Davis as Adolescent Flower
* Sterling Holloway as Young Adult Flower
* Will Wright as Friend Owl
* Faline, a female deer whom Bambi eventually falls in love with:
* Cammie King as Young Faline
* Ann Gillis as Young Adult Faline
* Fred Shields as Great Prince of the Forest
* Margaret Lee as Mrs. Rabbit
* Mary Lansing as Aunt Ena and Mrs. Possum
* Otis Harlan as Mr. Mole
^ Sources differ on whether Sutherland actually voiced Young Adult Bambi.
^ This was Otis Harlan’s final film role: He died two years prior to the film’s release.
In 1933, Sidney Franklin, a producer and director at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, purchased the film rights to Felix Salten’s novel Bambi, A Life in the Woods, intending to adapt it as a live-action film. After years of experimentation, he eventually decided that it would be too difficult to make such a film and he sold the film rights to Walt Disney in April 1937. Disney began work on crafting an animated adaptation immediately, intending it to be the company’s second feature-length animated film and their first to be based on a specific, recent work. However, the original novel was written for an adult audience, and was considered too “grim” and “somber” for a regular light-hearted Disney film. The artists also discovered that it would be challenging to animate deer realistically. These difficulties resulted in Disney putting production on hold while the studio worked on several other projects. In 1938, Disney assigned Perce Pearce and Carl Fallberg to work on the film’s storyboards, but attention was soon drawn away as the studio began working on Fantasia. Finally, on August 17, 1939, production on Bambi began in earnest, but progressed slowly owing to changes in the studio personnel, location, and methodology of handling animation at the time.