Thumper’s observation about the frozen lake is one of my favorite lines from any movie, and the great 1942 Disney film from which it comes, Bambi, freshly digitally restored, is now available on DVD and will be given a special theatrical showing by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Wednesday, June 15, at 8 p.m., in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Hollywood.
Bambi still stands among the greatest of Walt Disney’s achievements in animation. The fawn who loses his mother to a hunter’s bullet but ultimately matures into a leader of his fellow deer — and his forest friends Thumper and Flower — are among Disney’s most memorable characters.
The Academy presentation, produced under the supervision of The Walt Disney Studios’ Preservation and Restoration Team, is the result of months of exhaustive research and restoration. The process included shooting surviving artwork housed at the Studio’s Animation Research Library, utilizing the same techniques as employed during the original photography. Final color also was referenced by screening an original IB Technicolor print. The original nitrate negative was pulled from the Library of Congress archives and digitally scanned at 4K resolution so that each frame could be scrutinized and cleaned to fully realize the drawings.
The final restored picture was then re-color-corrected for digital cinema and high-definition video. The soundtrack was digitally cleaned up and then remastered in 5.1 audio from the studio’s archived magnetic masters, which were transferred from the original nitrate soundtrack negatives, under the supervision of Academy Award-nominated sound mixer Terry Porter.
The final result is reputed to be a truly pristine presentation that brings the artists’ original vision back to the screen without dirt, scratches or dust.
Zowie, and I’ll be in Cleveland.
Author and film critic Leonard Maltin will moderate a panel discussion following the screening, during which animator Ollie Johnston will be joined on stage by voice talents Donnie Dunagan (young Bambi), Peter Behn (young Thumper) and Cammie King (young Faline).
The Academy’s current exhibition, “Toon In: Animated Movie Posters from the Cudequest Family Collection,” will be open for viewing in the Academy Galleries after the screening of Bambi.