PINOCCHIO – A Blu-ray Review by John Strange

PINOCCHIO – A Blu-ray Review by John Strange
Walt Disney started in 1937 a film based on the Italian children's novel The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi as the project to follow up on Snow White and the Seven Dwarves enormous success.  The project took two years and about 750 artists and technicians!
In order to bring us the story of the wood carver’s puppet and his transition from marionette to live boy, Walt and his team had to do more that figure out new ways to draw the story, they developed whole new technologies and methods, some of which are still used today.
Some of the techniques involved shooting live action portrayals of what the animators were attempting so that they could make the movements as life-like as possible.  They developed a technique for shooting scenes using huge glass plates that the cameras shot through to give a 3-d-like effect of depth to the scenes.  To zoom in on the action, the cameras were on a dolly (a camera platform on tracks) that allowed them to move toward the drawings.  As the camera approached each level of the drawing the plate glass was rolled aside which also enhanced the feeling of movement.
These are but a small portion of what I learned watching the extra’s on the Blu-ray of the film.  The Walt Disney Signature Collection releases are my favorite way to purchase these classic films.  The films always look amazing in the blu-ray format but the extras are where the true film lover will find themselves lost for hours!  If you look above this review at the list of extras you will see they run the gamut from music videos and trailers to stories of how Walt and his team worked out the best ways to make the film enjoyable!
I find the stories relating to Walt Disney and his team are the pieces I love the best.  I always play these extras first thing, even before watching the film.  Some of these stories are interviews with the men who worked with Walt all of those years ago.  Some are stories told by historians who have researched the project using the notes and film that Walt left us in his archives.
The stories that surprised me on this disk talked about the sound track and the songs from the movie.  I had always loved them but had never really thought about how historically important they are.  The formats of the music in this film flow so dynamically with the story that they are truly as much a part of the story as the words spoken by the characters.
Speaking of characters, the extras spent time talking about how they were selected, what their backgrounds were and, just as important for me as a history buff, they talk about what they went  on to do afterwards and why their additions to the story were so important to the final product.
I realize I haven’t spent any time on the story itself.  That is because this film and the story of Pinocchio ahs been such a strong institution in our lives that few people need to know much about it.
For those who have never seen the film, the story is about Geppetto, a wood carver who lives alone with only a cat and a goldfish for companionship.  He creates a beautiful marionette which he names Pinocchio, paying careful attention to make it the best puppet he could.   A good man, he wishes he had a son.  As he is about to fall asleep he sees a star through the window and wishes for that son.
During the night, the Blue Fairy comes and grants life to Pinocchio but admonishes him that he must prove that he deserves to be turned fully into a little boy.  She appoints Jiminy Cricket to be the young one’s conscience.
The story of Pinocchio and his destiny to be a real boy is full of characters who want to benefit from this marvel, the boy made of wood!  We see boys who prove themselves undeserving to be men, monstrous whales and underwater scenes unlike anything the world had seen before in an animated film.  These scenes and so much more are there on the screen before us as we follow Pinocchio’s journey to find his destiny.  Disney and his team have given us a front seat to watch this magnificent classic.  If you are one of those very few who haven’t experienced this film, by all means, get this film (on blu-ray for the best selection of extras) and treat yourself!  You’ll be glad you did!
Directed By:
  • Walt Disney, Norman Ferguson (sequence director), T. Hee (sequence director), Wilfred Jackson (sequence director), Jack Kinney (sequence director), Hamilton Luske (supervising director), Bill Roberts (sequence director), Ben Sharpsteen (supervising director)
  • Mel Blanc (Figaro / Donkeys / Gideon (hiccup) / Marionette Soldiers (voice)) (uncredited)
  • Don Brodie (Carnival Barkers (voice)) (uncredited)
  • Walter Catlett (J. Worthington Foulfellow (voice)) (uncredited)
  • Marion Darlington (Birds (voice)) (uncredited)
  • Frankie Darro (Lampwick (voice)) (uncredited)
  • Cliff Edwards (Jiminy Cricket (voice)) (uncredited)
  • Dickie Jones (Pinocchio / Alexander (voice)) (uncredited)
  • Charles Judels (Stromboli / The Coachman (voice)) (uncredited)
  • Clarence Nash (Roughhouse Statue / Donkeys (voice)) (uncredited)
  • Patricia Page (Marionettes (voice)) (uncredited)
  • Christian Rub (Geppetto (voice)) (uncredited)
  • Evelyn Venable (The Blue Fairy (voice)) (uncredited)
Bonus Extras:
  • The Pinocchio Project: When You Wish Upon A Star
  • The Project
  • The Video
  • Walt’s Story Meetings: Pleasure Island
  • In Walt's Words – Pinocchio
  • Oswald The Lucky Rabbit in “Poor Papa”
  • Classic Bonus Features:
    • No Strings Attached: The Making of Pinocchio
    • Deleted Scenes
    • The Sweatbox
    • Geppettos Then and Now
    • Live-Action Reference Footage
    • Publicity:
      • Original Theatrical Trailer (1940)
      • Theatrical Trailer (1984)
      • Theatrical Trailer (1992)
    • When You Wish Upon A Star Music Video by Meaghan Jette Martin
    • A Wish Come True: The Making of Pinocchio
    • Storyboard to Film Final Comparison
  • Song Selection
  • Audio Commentary
  • Info (Legal Statement)
  • 88 Minutes
  • Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
  • An R.K.O. Radio Release (1940)
Release Date:
  • 01/31/2017
Theatrical Release Date:
  • 02/23/1940
  • 1 (U.S. and Canada only)
MPAA Rating:
  • G
Selig Rating:
Selig Rating Scale:
BRAND NEW: Should add to your DVD collection at any cost
SALE ITEM: Worth owning, but try to catch it a sale
SECOND HAND: Plan to get it, but wait to buy it used
RENTAL: Worth taking a look at, but not owning
COASTER: Pick it up at a garage sale and use it for drinks
PULL!: Makes a great Trap Shooting target
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