Books and Movies Reviews

The Sword in the Stone vs. The Once and Future King

The 1963 Disney film, the Sword in the Stone(2) was thefirst Disney film to give sole directorial credit to anyone involved in the film process (3).In the case of this movie that credit went to Wolfgang Reitherman.The movie was adapted from T. H. White's Once and Future King,(1) and was understandably a very large undertaking, necessitating the use of a sole director.The change of medium used to depict this story resulted in the changing of parts of the story.The restrictions and conventions of movie making, namely, time span, and target audience, had the largest part in shaping the direction the movie took with the adaptation of White's classic.The work of the writer and director of the film in the changing of the medium will be examined in thefirst few scenes of the movie, where Wart meets Merlin for thefirst time.This will be compared against the depiction of the tale in White's book, and the shaping forces of movie convention pointed out.
In Disney's Sword and the Stone, Wart meets Merlin in the following way:
Wart and Kay are spending part of their afternoon hunting deer in a clear, sunny field. Wart poises and steadies himself on the branch of an old dead tree, waiting quietly for Kay to release an arrow at a deer.As fate would have it the branch snaps, Wart falls onto Kay, and subsequently causes the arrow to shoot far off its original planned trajectory into the deep, dark regions of the woods.Kay vows to "whoop Wart good", if you will, so Wart runs into the forest in search of the arrow, furthermore ignoring Kay's remark about the multitude of wolves lurking there.A nasty wolf does, indeed, begin stalking the Wart, unbeknownst to him, but fails to ever be noticed or accomplish the task of eating the boy.
Merlin, of course, is already aware that Wart is on his way to "drop in", and busies himself drawing water from a well with a chain and bucket, a…

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