First released on Blu-ray in 2011, Bambi, the Disney animated classic returns to the format as part of the Signature Collection Series. Filled with both classic and new extras, the Bambi Signature Collection Edition will be available for purchase on June 6th.
Released theatrically in 1942, Bambi, Disney’s fifth animated feature is a masterpiece. Based on the book Bambi, A Life in the Woods Walt Disney and his talented animators created a simple yet affecting film about the lives of animals in the forest. Bambi is a wonderful story for children; taking the opportunity to explore the miracle of birth, the wonder of childhood and the ups and downs of coming of age without being preachy or self-indulgent.
The birth of a whitetail deer named Bambi (voiced first by Bobby Stewart, then Donnie Dunagan, Hardie Albright and John Sutherland), has the entire forest gathering to witness his first, awkward steps. Almost immediately, he finds a friend in Thumper (Peter Behn, Tim Davis, Sam Edwards), a rather outspoken bunny. Slowly, the fawn ventures out into the forest and becomes acquainted with its many creatures. He forms a friendship with a skunk he names Flower (Stan Alexander, Tim Davis, Sterling Holloway). It soon becomes clear to Bambi that all animals are his friends. When he’s old enough to go to the meadow his mother (Paula Winslowe) must always be on the lookout for the dreaded intruder known as Man. While in the meadow, Bambi meets his father (Fred Shields) a rather distant sort, who happens to be the Great Prince of the Forest. He also meets and is perplexed by the young doe Faline (Cammie King, Ann Gillis). Bambi’s first winter of life is a time of innocence and fun, but as he grows into a yearling, things begin to change.
Predating The Lion King by some fifty years, Bambi is a story about the circle of life. Bambi’s father is not a part of his formative years, gunfire is cause for great fear among all the animals in the forest, winter and starvation are constant concerns, a raging forest fire sends hundreds of animals scrambling for safety, and the death of Bambi’s mother is perhaps the single most heart-wrenching moment to ever grace an animated film. Despite all of this, Bambi retains a certain joy, innocence even, that permeates every scene. Bambi’s days as a fawn are marked by amazing discoveries, which will inform his adult life. Disney made it a pleasure to be a part of that experience.
The transfer appears to be the same one used for the 2011 Blu-ray release. Why not? That 1080p / 1.33:1 transfer was, and remains, near reference quality material. Bambi‘s pastel visual palette is simply breathtaking, offering excellent color separation and outstanding consistency in black level and detail. And the clarity of the transfer print is simply amazing. One wishes every catalog title could be restored frame by frame with the care that Disney seems to give its classics. Simply stunning stuff.
The audio offerings also mirror the 2011 Blu-ray release. As immersive as this DTS-HD 7.1 High Resolution Audio sound mix is, purists will bemoan the lack of a lossless mono presentation for Bambi. A Dolby Digital 2.0 English track is included. Bambi‘s mix is nevertheless wonderful and fairly well balanced. We don’t get much surround activity, but the 7.1 mix here provides a solid soundscape. Dialogue, music and effects all sound fine.
English SDH, Spanish, and French subtitles are included.
The following extras are available:
- Studio Stories: Bambi (HD, 4:56) Archival interviews with Walt Disney about Bambi, circa 1956 (laid over scenes and early sketches for the film as well as stock shots and photos of the studio during that era and earlier).
- Deleted Scenes with Introductions By Animator Floyd Norman (HD, 7:25) An animator on the original Jungle Book who still works at Disney, Norman introduces scenes that have storyboards and voice narration based off of Walt Disney’s notes and pitches.
- Oswald The Lucky Rabbit: “Africa Before Dark” (HD, 5:50) An old cartoon short from around the era Bambi was released.
- The Bambi Effect (HD, 3:00) A brief look at the decision to draw the animals true to life, and insert decidedly dreamy backgrounds. The decision to credit Renta Scott as the first female Disney animator, is also touched on.
- Bambi Fawn Facts (HD, 3:34) In true Disney Channel style, we’re given facts about the animals portrayed in the film.
- UV Copy of the film.
- Collectible Lithograph (dedicated to Tyrus Wong).
- Inside Walt’s Story Meetings: Extended Edition (HD, 1:35:55) This unique Picture-in-Picture track presents a recreation of the story and sweatbox sessions held between Walt Disney and his production team from 1937 to 1940. Carefully created using transcripts of the filmmakers’ original meetings, it’s as close to an in-depth commentary as Bambi will ever get. As it all unfolds, archive footage, production photographs, concept art, sketches, color tests, etc., appear on screen. Viewers who press “enter” when prompted will gain access to seamlessly transitioning Maximum Movie Mode-esque content including classic animated shorts, extended filmmaker conversations, Disney anecdotes, exclusive featurettes not available elsewhere on the disc, and things already found on the main menu.
- Classic Deleted Scenes (HD, SD 5:39) Four unfinished deleted sequences are available: two exclusive scenes presented in high definition (“Two Leaves” and “Bambi Stuck on a Reed”) and two standard definition cuts from the previously released DVD (“Winter Grass” and “Bambi’s First Snow”).
- Deleted Song (320kbps Dolby Digital Stereo, 1:52) “Twitterpated”
- The Making of Bambi: A Prince is Born (HD, 53:15) An extensive six-part documentary that delves into the film’s “Story,” “Characters,” “Actors,” “Art Design,” “Music” and “History.”
- Tricks of the Trade (HD, 7:18) Walt Disney introduces his audience to the multi-plane camera and his studio’s animation techniques in this vintage featurette.
- Inside the Disney Archives (HD, 8:39) Follow one of the studio’s animators down to the Disney Vault as he examines original artwork from the film’s production.
- The Old Mill: Animated Short (HD, 8:58) A 1937 Academy Award-winning “Silly Symphony” animated short.
- DisneyView: Fill the black bars on either side of the film with artwork by Disney artist Lisa Keene.
- The Golden Age (HD, 6:24)
- Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:12)
- DVD of the film.
- Digital Copy of the film.
Movie title: Bambi (1942)
Director(s): James Algar , Samuel Armstrong David Hand, Graham Heid, Bill Roberts , Paul Satterfield
Actor(s): Hardie Albright , Stan Alexander, Bobette Audrey , Peter Behn , Thelma Boardman , Tim Davis
Genre: Family, Animation, Adventure, Drama