Back in 1959, when I was ten years old, I went to our local cinema and saw Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. I was utterly mesmerised by it. Two things gripped me, and never let me go: the look of the film, and the music. Well, the music was by Tchaikovsky, after all, and it merely confirmed to me that classical music was worth listening to.
The look of the film was extraordinary. The backgrounds were styled after the illustrations in medieval Books of Hours. For Sleeping Beauty, although Disney’s regular production designer was in charge of the film’s overall look, the film’s colour stylist and chief background designer was Eyvind Earle. His work was detailed, heavily stylised, and brought a real sense of landscape into the film.
There was a terrific villainess as well – the bad fairy, and in Disney’s version, she had a name: Maleficent. And now, she’s back – there’s a new Disney live-action film coming out in May this year, with Angelina Jolie as the eponymous villainess. I must admit that the film’s trailer looks as though it may actually give the old film a run for its money.