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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Original Production Animation Cel of Prince Phillip and His Horse Samson from "Sleeping Beauty," 1959


Original hand painted and hand inked production cel of Prince Phillip and Samson from "Sleeping Beauty," 1959; Set on a hand prepared background; Size - Prince Phillip and Samson: 3 1/4 x 4 3/4", Image 11 x 22"; Unframed.


Prince Phillip was animated by Milt Kahl and voiced Bill Shirley and Aurora was animated by Marc Davis (who was also lead animator for Maleficent) and voiced by Mary Costa. Both Bill and Mary would be live action models for Prince Phillip and Briar Rose/Princess Aurora for the animators, and their chemistry was magical on screen. In addition, their singing together was one of the many highlights of the film. As discussed by Andreas Deja, Milt Kahl did not like the job of animating Prince Phillip:

"Some of you might know that Milt absolutely despised working on the prince. During one of our get togethers I asked him, how he could do such a beautiful job on a character he loathes. To my best recollection he said: 'Well, the character needs to be in the picture, I didn't like the assignment, but you do the best you can.'"


Close up of the Prince Phillip on Samson production cel.

The animation of Prince Phillip by Milt Kahl was radically different than prior Princes in other films.  Phillip was an active character; speaking to his horse Sampson and Sampson understanding what he was saying.  Phillip was also seen as a child at the start of the film, had to be animated in more than one outfit, was the first Prince to use weapons against a Villain; and had to speak, interact, and sing with his love interest Princess Aurora/Briar Rose.


The entire 12 x 27" pan original production animation cel of Prince Phillip riding his horse Samson.

Also from Andreas Deja:
"As I mentioned before, Milt Kahl really didn't enjoy animating Prince Phillip. A handsome dude with a limited range for acting just didn't appeal to him. Of course he still gave it all he'd got to put a descent performance on the screen. (In reference to viewing some of Kahl's rough drawings)... It looks to me that this scene was somewhat based on live action reference, but the translation into drawn animation is incredible. Just dealing with the horse turning direction would be a real challenge. Assistant artist Dave Suding, who worked on the film, told me once that one clean up drawing with the prince on his horse took one full day. That means a second of final clean up footage would require a whole month! Incredible."

This is a great cel of Prince Phillip riding his horse Samson, set on a beautiful hand painted non-production forest background. Both the Prince and his stead are full figure and this is a wonderful piece of animation history.