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The Reluctant Dragon (1941) | A Look Behind the Scenes

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If you are wanting to see a piece of what old-time Disney animation looked like along with a great story, The Reluctant Dragon is a must-see! Here are some great Disney fun and interesting facts about the movie!

The Reluctant Dragon 1941

My husband and I are still on our journey to watch every Disney film. Last year we tackled all the animated films. This year we are tackling live-action films from the 1940s to the 80s. I just discovered The Reluctant Dragon (1941)  and it is an amazing film. I think it is a hidden gem!

Here is a quick summary of the movie. The Reluctant Dragon is about a man who wants Walt Disney to see his children’s book and turn it into a movie. On his way to see Walt, he is shown around all the various departments in the Animation Studios. We get a peek into the painting department, sound, storyboard department, and more. What I think is even cooler is that Walt Disney, himself was in the movie. He played himself.

It is definitely a movie to put on your Disney movie must-see list.

 The Reluctant Dragon Trivia (1941)

A Movie Prop that Stayed. The Mickey Avenue/Dopey Drive signpost was built specifically for the movie and was supposed to be removed afterward. It wasn’t, and it still stands at the Disney studio.

Sneak Peeks of Upcoming Movies. In the sound effects department, the workers are creating sound effects for a piece of film with the train Casey Junior. Casey would pop up in Disney’s next film, Dumbo (1941). Likewise in the art department, the animators are making sketches for “Dumbo”. Bambi also makes a minor appearance in this film, a year before Bambi (1942) was released.

Animators were Actors, Real Ones Were on Strike. Most of the ‘animators’ shown in the film were actually actors hired to portray animators. And this film, showing the Disney animation studios as a happy, coherent family, was released at the worst possible moment when half of the actual animators went out on strike. The strikers frequently picketed theaters showing the film, sometimes holding up a large cardboard sign depicting Walt Disney as a dragon, labeled ‘The Reluctant Disney.’

Backward Animation. When Robert Benchley visits the art department one of the sculptors quickly makes a clay bust caricature of Benchley. In reality, the bust was made in advance and then gradually destroyed while being filmed. The film was simply shown backward to make it appear as though the artist was making the bust from scratch. (Source:IMBD)

A Real Book. Though the movie is a bit of fiction, the book is real. The Reluctant Dragon book is a fun read. There is a Disney version and then there is also a regular version.

Have you seen The Reluctant Dragon? If so, what did you like or not like about it?

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Kung Phoo

Wednesday 16th of July 2014

That is a pretty different adventure to go on.. Enjoy all those wonderfully made films! This one seemed very cute!

Kelly Kimmell

Wednesday 16th of July 2014

Looks like a cute little film, thanks for sharing.