The Sword In The Stone (1963 Walt Disney)

A wonderful classic story, told in typical Disney style while Walt was still alive, and filled with great songs and beautiful animation, how could anyone not fall in love with The Sword in the Stone? The 18th animated Disney outing is a very relaxing movie to watch. In any animation, you want humour and emotion, and this film has plenty of both. Most of the humour comes from Sir Ektor (voice of Sebastian Cabot) and Archimedes (voice of Junius Matthews), but Merlin (voice of Karl Swenson) had some truly delicious lines. I just love Archimedes, he is absolutely hilarious, and still manages to be likable, despite being very grumpy.ย 

The titular objects appear in London, with an inscription proclaiming that “Who So Pulleth Out This Sword Of This Stone and Anvil, is Rightwise King Born of England.” None succeed in removing the sword, which is soon forgotten, leaving England in a Dark Age. Some years later we first see Arthur aka “Wart”: a 12-year-old orphan training to be a squire. While accompanying his older foster brother Kay on a hunting trip. He falls into Merlin’s cottage, Merlin declares himself Wart’s tutor and the two return to Wart’s home, a castle run by Sir Ector, Arthur’s foster father. There Merlin stays with Arthur to teach him the ways of the world and the magic as well as the intelligence and strength he will need for his true destiny.

I think my favourite moment of this film is definitely the battle between Merlin and Mim, since this is one of the rare Disney movies that doesn’t have a definitive villain, but I think Mim was a close as you could get. Their battle was epic and absolutely amazing to watch. Plus I love the classic sound effects with good old slap stick humour. I also loved the story when Merlin turned Arthur and himself into squirrels and they were attacked by the lady squirrels. This was just too cute for words. I know the animation isn’t up to par with today’s standards, but this is the exact animation that I loved growing up with because the animators seemed to have a love for what they were making. Character development is excellent in this one.

It was fun to watch Merlin’s character and listen to him talk of events in the future. Design wise, it’s not One Hundred and One Dalmations but it’s still loaded with some great stylized visuals and colours. Milt Kahl gets to do some straight cartooning with Merlin, and succeeds quite spectacularly, particularly in his use of hands (animators take note…Kahl was a master of that hard-to-draw limb). There’s another great example of slapstick in Brian Sibley’s wolf character, who is completely useless and might as well have been taken out altogether but is so inventively utilized that I don’t mind him at all. Its a well directed debut by Wolfgang Reitherman, who would go on to direct other classics like The Aristocats and Jungle Book. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Comments

  1. Hit the nail right on the head with this review! I’m a massive fan of The Sword In The Stone and agree that it’s a classic. It is still an absorbing movie to this day, I swear I can never watch the squirrels scene without shedding a tear at the end for that poor li’l girl squirrel ha ha! ๐Ÿ˜›

    Liked by 1 person

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