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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Original Production Animation Drawing of Bambi and his Mother from "Bambi," 1942

 
Original production animation drawing in red and graphite pencils of Bambi and his Mother from "Bambi," 1942, Walt Disney Studios; Numbered 79 in pencil lower right; Size - Bambi & Mother: 4 3/4 x 3", Sheet: 10 x 12"; Unframed.

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"Bambi," 1942 is a full length animated film by Walt Disney Studios and based on the book "Bambi, A Life in the Woods" by Austrian author Felix Salten. The film was released by RKO Radio Pictures on August 13, 1942. "Bambi" received three Academy Award nominations: Best Sound (Sam Slyfield), Best Song (for "Love Is a Song" sung by Donald Novis), and Best Original Music Score. In June 2008, the American Film Institute presented a list of its "10 Top 10" (the best ten films in each of ten classic American film genres) and "Bambi" placed third in the animation category. In December 2011, "Bambi" was added to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress.


Close up of the Bambi and his Mother original production animation drawing.

The story centers on Bambi, a white-tailed deer, his parents (the Great Prince of the forest and his unnamed mother), his animal friends Thumper (a pink-nosed rabbit), Flower (a skunk), and his childhood friend and future mate, a doe named Faline. Walt Disney wanted all of the animals to be more realistic and expressive than those in "Snow White". He had Rico LeBrun, a wildlife animal painter, come into the Disney Studios to lecture to the animators on the structure and movement of animals. The animators went on excursions to the Los Angeles Zoo and Walt Disney set up a small zoo at the Disney Animation Studio with animals such as rabbits, ducks, owls, skunks, and a pair of fawns aptly named Bambi and Faline; so that the artists could see first-hand animal movement. Animator Marc Davis created the final design of Bambi by incorporating LeBurn's realistic study of deer anatomy but exaggerating the character's face by making his proportions baby-like; including a short snout and big expressive eyes.

"Bambi" was Walt Disney's favorite film he ever made, and it is not too surprising given his love of nature films. The special effects, particularly the water, and the lush hand painted backgrounds create a wonderful environment that allows the viewer to be totally immersed into the film. Combined with a great story of friendship and complete success in the creation of characters; the film is able to provide amazing feelings of both happiness and sadness, as the viewer watches Bambi grows up from fawn to deer.


Close up of the production number.

Although the character of Bambi was designed by Marc Davis; animation was accomplished by Frank Thomas, Milt Kahl, Eric Larson, Ollie Johnson, and Preston Blair. The voice of Bambi was provided by four different actors, corresponding to the different ages of Bambi as he grew older: Bobby Stewart (baby), Donnie Dunagan (young), Hardie Albright (adolescent), and John Sutherland (young adult). Donnie Dunagan was also the performance model for the character, with the animators integrating his facial expressions onto the face of Bambi.

This is a wonderful original production animation drawing of Bambi nuzzling with his Mother. Drawings from "Bambi" are much rarer than cels, and this is a great work that shows one of the main themes of the film; the love and protection of a Mother for her child. This would be a great addition to any animation collection!