Review: ‘The Sword in the Stone’

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.

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.

The Sword in the Stone

Production

Walt Disney. Director Wolfgang Reitherman; Screenplay Bill Peet; Editor Donald Halliday; Music George Bruns

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1963. Running time: 75 MIN.

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