Bill Peet, artist-writer and longtime member of the Walt Disney production company, has chosen a highly appropriate fable, the 1938 T.H. White book of the same title, for screen adaptation for the youngsters. It emerges as a tasty confection.
The feature-length cartoon demonstrates anew the magic of the Disney animators and imagination in character creation. But one might wish for a script which stayed more with the basic story line rather than taking so many twists and turns which have little bearing on the tale about King Arthur as a lad.
Key figures are the boy who is to become king of England because he alone has the strength to remove the sword embedded in a stone in a London churchyard (he goes by the name of Wart), and Merlin, a magician and prophet, who’s alternately wise and somewhat nutty. Others include the villainess Mad Madam Mim, who turns out to be a nice old dame, an English nobleman, a kind-hearted owl, flora & fauna, etc.
The songs by Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman are in the familiar Disney cartoon groove with such titles as ‘Higitus-Figitus,’ ‘Mad Madam Mim’ and ‘The Legend of the Sword in the Stone.’ They’re agreeable tunes and go along nicely with the animated action.