Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Drawing of Maleficent As A Dragon Breathing Fire from "Sleeping Beauty," 1959

Original production drawing of Maleficent as the Dragon from the 1959 full length animated feature film "Sleeping Beauty" from Walt Disney Studios.  Numbered "73" lower right and center; Unframed.

“Now you shall deal with me, o prince, and all the powers of HELL!”
―Maleficent before transforming into the Dragon

Wolfgang Reitherman (known as Woolie) began working for Walt Disney in 1934, and is credited in films from Pinocchio, 1940 (Monstro the Whale) to The Fox and the Hound, 1981 (co-producer).  His masterful animation work includes the climatic dinosaur fight in Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring in Fantasia, the Headless Horseman chase in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow section in The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, the Crocodile in Peter Pan, and of course Maleficent as a dragon in Sleeping Beauty.  An interesting side note is that all three of Reitherman's sons; Bruce, Richard, and Robert  provided voices for Disney characters, Mowgli in The Jungle Book, Christopher Robin in the Winnie the Pooh films, and Wart in The Sword in the Stone.

The climatic ending of Sleeping Beauty is the transformation of The Mistress of all Evil - Maleficent into a massive black and purple Dragon capable of breathing green fire.  Children were absolutely terrified of the Dragon, with her large teeth, powerful claws, and expansive wing span.  The success of the Dragon is owed to Reitherman's remarkable drawing and animation skills.  In this very large and powerful drawing, Maleficent's left claw in perched atop one of the pillars of the bridge that Prince Phillip is attempting to cross.  Her mouth is open and she is breathing green fire that strikes Phillip's shield.  This is an absolutely beautiful drawing, from one of the best sequences in the finale of the film!

Close up of Maleficent As A Dragon.

To view the scene which this drawing was used to create, click on the short video below: