Saturday, July 2, 2016

Original Matching Production Animation Drawings of Briar Rose and the Mock Prince from "Sleeping Beauty," 1959

Original matching production animation drawings of Briar Rose and the Mock Prince in graphite and blue pencils numbered 65 and 265 lower right from "Sleeping Beauty," 1959, Walt Disney Studios; Size - Briar Rose & Mock Prince: 7 1/4 x 3 3/4", Owl & Squirrel: 4 1/4 x 2 1/2", Sheets 12 1/2 x 15 1/2"; Unframed.

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"Sleeping Beauty," the 1959 Walt Disney full length motion picture, introduced two characters that would become universal favorites; Maleficent and Princess Aurora. Aurora, along with Snow White and Cinderella would be forever immortalized in the public's view as the three greatest Disney Princesses. The original design for Aurora and her peasant disguise Briar Rose was developed by Tom Oreb, who based the character on the famed Hollywood actress Audrey Hepburn; known for her thin frame and a very graceful demeanor. Marc Davis, the head animator, would continue the development process by morphing her general appearance and the clothing of the heroine. The fine tuning of the character continued so that she could be combined with the very angular forms present in the Eyvind Earle hand painted backgrounds.

Original production animation drawing of Briar Rose.

Close up of the original production animation drawing of Briar Rose.

As with other Disney films, an actress was hired as a live-action model (as a guide for the animators) for Princess Aurora/Briar Rose. Helene Stanley, who was also the model for Cinderella in 1950, became the model for the heroine. It is interesting to note that prior to marrying Marc Davis in 1956, Alice (Davis) designed some of costumes worn by Stanley in her acting role in "Sleeping Beauty."

Close up of the production number on the Briar Rose drawing.

In 1952, the professional opera singer Mary Costa, after meeting people at a party with her future husband director Frank Tashlin, auditioned for the part of Disney's Princess Aurora/Briar Rose. Walt Disney called her personally within hours of the audition to inform her that the part was hers. The success of the film "Sleeping Beauty," owes a chuck of those accolades to the voice of Mary Costa. Her songs were some of the most beautiful ever sung by a Disney Princess. In November 1999 Mary Costa received the Disney Legends Award, and her handprints are now a permanent part of the Disney Legends Plaza at the entrance to Walt Disney Studios.

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.

Original production animation drawing of the Mock Prince.

Close up of the original production animation drawing of the Mock Prince.

This drawing is from the section in the film when Prince Phillip is riding his horse in the forest when he suddenly hears a young girl's voice singing, and orders his horse Samson to take him there. But on the way, Samson goes too fast and accidentally knocks Phillip into a puddle of water. Phillip hangs his wet cape, hat, and boots on nearby tree limbs to dry. He suddenly turns around and notices that some of the forest animals have taken off with his clothes. The Mock Prince is a name given to the cape, hat, and boots that were taken and animated by the forest animals. There is rabbit in each boot, the owl is the head in the cape (that is supported by a bird at each of the ends of the caplet), and a squirrel animates the hat. Briar Rose begins to move and dance with the Mock Prince, all the while singing the song "Once Upon a Dream." The animated sequence is one of the most beautiful and memorable in the entire film.

Close up of the production number on the drawing of the Mock Prince.

This is wonderful matching pair of original production animation drawings of Briar Rose and the Mock Prince dancing in the forest. Briar Rose is eyes open and holding the ends of the caplet around her. The matching Mock Prince drawing has the owl poking his head out of the top of Prince Phillip's cape and a squirrel is holding up the hat. A beautiful matched set of drawings of Briar Rose and the Mock Prince from the last of the vintage Walt Disney feature films.