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The Sword In The Stone
45h Anniversary Edition
review by Zach B.
MPAA Rating: G
Running Time: 79 Minutes
Starring the voices of: Sebastian
Cabot, Karl Swenson, Rickie Sorensen, Junius Matthews, Ginny Tyler,
Martha Wentwroth, Norman Alden, Alan Napier, Richard Reitherman, Robert
Story by: Bill Peet
Based on the book by: T.H. White
Directed by: Wolfgang Reitherman
Features: Music Magic: The Sherman
Brothers, Song Selection, Merlin's Magical Academy, "All About Magic"
Excerpt, Scrapbook, Film Facts, Bonus Shorts
Specs: 1.33:1 Full Screen,
English Dolby Digital 5.1, English DTS 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, English
Subtitles, French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, English Closed
Captions, Scene Selection
Released: June 17th, 2008
"The Sword In The Stone" is presented in its original aspect
ratio of 1.33:1 full screen, and the transfer is pretty good
(especially given its age). The animation, thankfully, looks remarkably
rich still - with bold colors and very fine detail. The print used is
also very clean with not much in the way of dirt and specks (some do
pop up here and there, though), and grain is kept to a minimum. Edge
halos are apparent and is noise, but my biggest gripe with the transfer
is the shimmering: there is a fair amount of it, and it can be pretty
distracting. The transfer is also a little on the soft side, but that
may have to do with the age. Despite its flaws, "The Sword In The
Stone" still makes a pretty strong showing in this new DVD
Who knows why, but Disney has failed to include the original
mono track of the movie. Instead, we get an English Dolby Digital 5.1
mix... which sounds like the mono track stretched out across the
channels, with a few enhanced effects. It's not terrible, but certainly
the purists would have liked the mono option. The dialogue is clear and
firm in the center channel, while the musical score and songs are
spread through the speakers - sometimes more thinly than others, but it
ultimately doesn't make too much of an impression. Sound effects also
come in clearly, but I couldn't help but feel that some surrounds were
spruced up with modern technologies, and thus sounding a little
artificial. Dynamic range and subwoofer use are pretty limited, but
fidelity is pretty high. It's an adequate 5.1 mix in all.
included are Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks in French and Spanish, English
closed captions, and subtitles in English, French and Spanish.
Disney has packed in a few supplements for the 45th anniversary edition of the movie. In Music & More, other than the Song Selection feature, there's Music Magic: The Sherman Brothers.
This eight minute piece takes a look at the legendary Disney
songwriting duo. Interviewed are the actual brothers, who discuss their
writing process: interestingly enough, the song is approached more
through story and characters before any melodies or lyrics are written.
The brothers perform some verses of songs from the movie, and discuss
what inspired certain lyrics. The two also talk how this was their
first Disney feature, and what they learned. Highlighting it all are
clips from the movie, storyboards and photographs. Well done.
For younger viewers of this DVD is the game Merlin's Magical Academy. It's a typical set-top trivia game, but should be engaging enough for the movie's core audience.
the Backstage Disney section, there are some nifty supplements. First
up there is an excerpt from the classic Walt Disney Presents TV show,
as Uncle Walt presents a segment entitled "All About Magic." Walt shows
us some magic tricks, plus shows us a few magic props. Definitely a
nice complement to the movie. Also in the section is a Scrapbook with concept art, and a few pages of Film Facts that are quite informative.
And rounding it all out are two Bonus Shorts, which also complement the movie: "A Knight For A Day" and "The Brave Little Tailor." Enjoy!
"The Sword In The Stone" is an animated classic, and for that alone
the DVD is worth picking up. The supplements are decent enough for the
family, and the transfer is pretty good when you take the movie's age into account. While it's
unfortunate Disney did not include the original mono track, the 5.1 mix
is serviceable. Recommended.