From Mufasa’s death to the transformation of the evil queen in “Snow White”, a look back at some Disney sequences that made us cry or tremble when we were little.
THE QUEEN’S TRANSFORMATION (SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS)
The first female villain in the history of the Disney classics is arguably the most terrifying too! In order to go unnoticed by Snow White and bring her the poisoned apple without arousing the suspicions of the young princess, the Evil Queen decides to “disguise” herself.
Already rather disturbing naturally, she then swallows a sinister potion which makes her downright monstrous. Two protruding eyes, a hooked nose and a blood-curdling laugh. The sovereign, now become a witch, begins with this sequence a long tradition of transformations among Disney villains.
Still appalling more than 80 years later, we can imagine the effect that the scene must have produced in 1937, in front of an audience that had never before discovered an animated feature film on the big screen!
THE DEATH OF MUFASA (THE LION KING)
The betrayal of Scar, the horrified face of young Simba, the vertiginous fall of the Lion King … and a deafening silence.
If this tragic sequence still challenges us today with such force, it is because we discover it through the decomposed gaze of the lion cub. As he gradually realizes the terrible evidence, Simba desperately tries to wake his father, shakes him with all his might, calls for help, and finally lets his tears fall.
An inconsolable sorrow that only Scar’s poisonous lies will interrupt, causing her nephew to flee in despair across the desert. We can’t wait to meet Timon and Pumbaa to get back to fishing!
THE TRANSFORMATION INTO A DONKEY (PINOCCHIO)
Jiminy Cricket had however warned Pinocchio that his reckless trip to Île aux Plaisirs could possibly cause him some inconvenience.
And indeed, after a whole night of games and jubilation, after playing billiards, smoking cigars and breaking windows, the nightmare begins for the little wooden puppet. Through his horrified eyes, we are indeed witnessing the traumatic transformation of his best friend Crapule … into a donkey.
Two ears, a tail, a long muzzle, two hands that become hooves, and howls of terror that gradually turn into horrible braying. Like all the other children on the island, now changed into a canasson, the rascal is about to be sent to the salt mines.
No doubt this appalling sequence has convinced more than one child to drop his plans for stupid things …
THE MEETING WITH URSULA (THE LITTLE MERMAID)
An underwater cave in the shape of a skeleton, surrounded by geysers, seaweed with human faces and long tentacles …
Ariel should have known from the first glance that he had to go his way. The curiosity of The Little Mermaid and her desire to explore the surface, however, led her to venture straight into the lair of the octopus. Bewitched by the slow chant of the sprawling witch, she goes so far as to trust him and to entrust … her voice.
Punctuated by the memorable song by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, the sequence is no less traumatic. Particularly dark, she takes us after Ariel into the darkest depths of the ocean. What a relief, a few minutes later, when you can take a breath of fresh air by coming back to the surface!
THE DEATH OF THE MOTHER (BAMBI)
A vast icy plain, a few thin shoots of grass, a silence thick as snow, a frantic race into the thickets, and a final shot.
Bambi had come out of the forest with his mother. He returns there alone in the world. 50 years ago The Lion King, in 1942, Disney was already making dark rooms sob with this uncluttered, abrupt, unexpected scene, which still counts today among the most overwhelming in the history of animation.
Happily after winter and mourning comes spring and the return of life. As rich and complex as existence can be, the sixth feature film from Disney studios finally manages to dry our tears after making them flow.
THE ELEPHANT WALK (DUMBO)
Separated from his mother (too), Dumbo tries to get rid of his grief (and hiccups) by dipping his trunk in a large tub of water. Thinking to quench his thirst, the little elephant unwittingly gulps down a whole bottle of champagne.
One of the craziest, weirdest and most disturbing scenes in Disney history follows. A musical and colorful journey for the young elephant, bordering on grief and drunkenness, which gradually leads him into a farandole of bubbles and pink elephants.
Carried by an equally crossed score, this disconcerting and confusing sequence is arguably the most psychedelic scene ever produced by Disney studios.
(Re) discover our video dedicated to “Dumbo” …