Friday, January 23, 2015

Drawing of Maleficent from "Sleeping Beauty," 1959 - "Well - this is a pleasant surprise..."

Original production drawing of Maleficent in graphite pencil from "Sleeping Beauty," 1959; Numbered "79" lower right and with animation ladder lower right; Size - Maleficent 9 3/4 x 7 3/4", Sheet 12 1/2 x 15 1/2"

If you ask people to name their favorite Disney Villain, chances are you will one of three answers; The Evil Queen/Witch from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," Cruella DeVil from "101 Dalmatians," or Maleficent from "Sleeping Beauty."  Two of the three, Cruella and Maleficent, were created/drawn by the great animator Marc Davis.  Davis was part of what has been dubbed Disney's Nine Old Men; the core group of animators, some becoming directors, that created the finest animated films ranging from "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", 1937 to "The Rescuers", 1977.

The voice of Maleficent was performed by Eleanor Audley.  She had worked for Disney prior by also being the voice for the cold and calculating Lady Tremaine (The Stepmother) in "Cinderella."  If is known that Frank Thomas for Lady Tremaine and Marc Davis for Maleficent, incorporated facials features of Eleanor into both characters.  

Close up of Maleficent.

This drawing is from the very famous scene when Maleficent, along with her Goons, has just captured Prince Phillip in the Forest Cottage and she says, "Well - this is a pleasant surprise. I set my trap for a peasant and LO! - I catch a prince!."  The torch she is holding in this drawing was later changed to a candle for the final film version.

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