on December 14, 2003
This fine feature film, made from two featurettes, is a real gem to add to your collection of family Halloween favorites, or a joy to behold at any time of year.
This 11th addition to the Disney feature film canon is worth watching over and over again.
In the first featurette, we are treated to a retelling of one story from Kenneth Grahame's "The Wind in the Willows" - the story of what happens when Mr. Toad decides to go for a wild ride in his new motorcar. I can't even imagine any other version of the vision of Toad Hall and its inhabitants than this one anymore. I thought it was fairly true to the original source material. Basil Rathbone provides the narration, but other characters have their own voices. The only problem with this is that I thought Rathbone's horror talents would have lent themselves better to "Sleepy Hollow".
In the second, and far better, story, we are treated to a Disney version of Washington Irving's "Legend of Sleepy Hollow". While not as scary as the original story, nor anywhere near as scary as Tim Burton's movie based on the same story, it's still chilling enough to make a great Halloween party event without scaring the young ones silly. The Disney style lends itself fairly well to this story, too, especially in the characterization of Ichabod Crane and other characters. The story is told by Bing Crosby - who also supplies all of the character voices and songs. Crosby does a great job on characters who I thought would have been better voiced by Rathbone.
The DVD also features a karaoke segment - a standard feature of almost all newer Disney DVDs, as well as a storybook adventure and a gallery of collectibles.
A stellar addition to the Disney collection, and a good investment for anyone planning a Halloween get together for children.
on March 8, 2004
Though I've enjoyed the Mr. Toad characters for many years, not a little because of the Disney ride, I finally settled down recently to enjoy the DVD and see the actual film for the first time. After having the image emblazened in my head of Mr. Toad grasping his steering wheel and blowing in the wind as his motorcar careens here or there (thanks to the ride and a lot of Disney merchandising art and collectibles), I was stunned and very disappointed to see...no scenes of Toad in his car!! I couldn't help but feel a letdown, but the story is still fun and the Ichabod story remains a favorite. I also highly recommend the new-to-DVD Terry Jones version.
on May 11, 2014
Well, let's be honest here: For a pairing of stories into a single feature, this one should feel the most awkward. One is chipper, fable-like and heart-warming, while the second is far more frightening, even for a seasoned movie watcher like myself. It is, nonetheless, a successful pairing, and only Disney could have achieved such a success. Even so, because the two shorts are so diverse, I shall review them separately.
1. The Wind in the Willows
In this tale, we are introduced to J. Thaddeus Toad, the fun-loving, mania-minded wealthy owner and resident of Toad Hall, an estate that is the pride of all the animals. His frequent manias, however, have put his finances into a time of peril, and it is up to Angus MacBadger, a cranky old codger of an accountant, to help sus the money problems, while Ratty and Mole, Toad's closest friends, try to keep Toad out of any further trouble. Need I say that they are unsuccessful? Toad makes good his escape and chases after yet another mania: "the motorcar!" He buys one on the spot, and that action causes him to lose the deed to Toad Hall. It is then the task of MacBadger, Ratty and Mole to help Toad regain the deed and save his estate, culminating in a classic cat-and-mouse, cloak-and-dagger, knock-down, drag-out chase scene. Look for reprises of all four characters, plus Cyril J. Proudbottom (the horse), among others in Disney's "Mickey's Christmas Carol" (1983).
2. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
Having read the original story by Washington Irving, I can say both honestly and enthusiastically, that, as fine a story as the original is for its time, it would deservedly be entirely forgotten by now had Disney not come along and up-scaled the story. Yes, the story has endured some minor changes, but all for the better. For instance, there is no threat in the original, of the Headless Horseman seeking a new head to replace his Jack-o-lantern stand in. In Irving's time, such an idea would be well over the top. Nope. In the original, the scariest thing that the spectre does is ride along side Mr. Crane as he rides toward the famed covered bridge. I doubt such a thing would have been scary at all even in the 1950's, but Disney's version, even in this new century, still sends chills into the hearts of viewers. While the ending may feel a bit perfunctory, as did the original ending, we are still left catching our breath for a very thrilling ride.
The 1958 award-winning duo of animated features has a running time of 68 minutes, and comes from an era when Walt Disney and his team of "nine old men" were at their peak in skill and technique as artists and animators. This is a marvelous work and is fully deserving of accolades even today. Even so, I tend to enjoy "The Wind in the Willows" only every spring, and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" every fall.
on March 5, 2004
The last of Disney's package features is probably the best one. Bringing together "The Wind in the Willows" and "The Leyend of Sleepy Hollow", this is one of the best set of shorts yet, they are both great. The first one is the story of the wild and free Mr. Toad being accused of selling a stolen motorcar, after trading it for the Deed to Toad Hall. The second one, tells the story of a quiet town named Sleepy Hollow, and an odd-looking man named Ichabod who is told a horrendous story about a Headless Horseman, and then finding out that the leyend is true. The two features are incredible amazing, I never thought I would like this when I first saw it, but now I absolutely love it. Both shorts are greatly animated too.
The DVD brings little on bonus features, just a little classic Disney short and a trivia game, although this trivia game gives you a special treat when you complete it, so that's fun to know. The picture quality isn't too good in the first short, "The Wind in the Willows", but the DVD is pretty much recomendable.
on October 15, 2003
Disney's THE ADVENTURES OF ICHABOD AND MR. TOAD is one of the best Halloween DVDs available, especially if you are looking for something to entertain--and spook!--the entire family.
There are actually two stories on this film, the first segment being a "telling" of Kenneth Grahame's THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS. The animation is well done--as are most Disney cartoons from this era (c. 1949)--and the narration by Basil Rathbone is wonderfully literate. Voice characterizations are done by other actors, however, which detracts from the film's premise that the story is being "told" by the venerable Mr. Rathbone. While this segment is certainly entertaining enough, it is NOT the highlight of the DVD. That honor goes to the other segment....
The remainder of the film is a "telling" of Washington Irving's THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW, and it is sheer delight. This classic American ghost story is narrated by Bing Crosby, who also sings all of the songs and voices nearly all of the characterizations. The script is very loyal to the source material, even including--though a little less subtly than Mr. Irving--the same wry sense of humor. The depiction of the Headless Hessian himself is really spooky, too, though still gentle enough so as not to scare the little ones too much. Lots of fun for old and young alike, this, and a great film for the family to watch on Halloween night!
Also included on the DVD is the classic Disney animated short LONESOME GHOSTS. This one has Mickey, Donald, and Goofy working as ghost exterminators, and one could easily make the argument that it was the inspiration for 1984's live-action GHOSTBUSTERS. (Indeed, one of our animated heroes even utters the line "I ain't afraid of no ghosts!") A real hoot, and another great film to include in the family's Halloween celebration.
If you're already a fan of the animated THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW, you'll definitely want to include this DVD in your collection. The colors are much richer than on the VHS release, and the details are understandably crisper. You'll see Ichabod, Bram Bones, that little coquette Katrina, and the infamous Headless Horseman like you've never seen 'em before!
on September 19, 2002
This is my all-time favorite of the Disney animated classics; I have seen it countless times, and enjoy it as much as the first time I saw it, way back when I was 7 years old. It is a Halloween fixture for me still, although I watch it all year 'round. Bing Crosby had a wonderful speaking voice, as well as a singing one, and he does great things with the character of Ichabod and his tuneful telling of this timeless tale, set in Sleepy Hollow; I believe that were Washington Irving alive today, he would love this version of his terrific novel, based on old folk tales and legends of that part of New York. I also love Toad; J. Thaddeus Toad, Esquire, the Master of Toad Hall, with his loyal friends, Mole, Angus McBadger and Ratty. I have never seen this favorite classic in such splendor before my DVD version arrived...the colors, the crisp picture, the overall beauty of it took my breath away, and I was 7 years old again, watching it on the big screen. Now I can watch it anytime, and have the same quality as I enjoyed as a child, what a treat! Even if you have a VHS copy, buy the DVD, you won't believe the difference!
on June 2, 2002
The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr.Toad is my favourite Halloween collection of all time. I, personally, bought this DVD mainly for "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" story, of which Ichabod Crane is the main character. I remember my mother taking me to the Library on Halloween when I was about 5 or so to see this show. The story is narrated by Bing Crosby(Perfect voice for the part). He narrates the story and also sings and speaks the lines of various characters. The story builds up to a truly scary climax involving the Headless Horseman. Nobody who orders this DVD will be dissapointed.
As for "The Wind in the Willows", starring Mr.Toad, it is also a great feat of Disney animation. A lot of British(English, more specifically) culture comes thru in this story. The accents are a little thick, but they lend themselves well to the setting of the story. This story, too, bulids up to a climax with a clever conclusion.
The bonus material included with this DVD is also impressive. It includes: An interactive trivia game with a classic cartoon as your reward, another great Halloween-ish cartoon called "Lonesome Ghosts". Spanish, and French soundtracks are also included.
One of the other reviewers mentioned that she couldn't just skip to the Ichabod cartoon and had to watch all of Mr. Toad first. This is simply not true. You just go to the chapter selection menu and choose Ichabod from there. Not too difficult at all!!
Overall this Disney DVD is the epitome of what classic animation should be. Its a shame that Disney has migrated away from the more rounded drawings of years past. But these DVD's ensure that they will always be remembered and accessible.
on November 15, 2001
Walt Disney's 11th animated film combines two stories that are so different in content, that it's hard to believe that they work so hood together to make this film.
The first of the package feature is The Wind in the Willows, a story chronicling the high-risk life of Mr. Toad. The story is mostly comedic, but the attempts to prove Mr. Toad's innocence when accused of a crime provides a lot of excitment.
"The Legend Of Sleeping Hollow", is the best of the two. It has fun songs, and good characters. At first this retelling starts off a little comical, but around the time of the Holloween party it makes a sharp turn into a dark, intense tale. This all leads up to the final confrontation with the Headless Horseman, that is brilliantly brought to life by Disney's animators.
This was the last of Walt's package features, before returning to full length stories ("Cinderella" was his next film). And this was an excellent film to end his package feature run.
The Gold Collection DVD includes the Mickey Mouse cartoon, "Lonesome Ghosts".
on May 9, 2001
...as one can clearly see when viewing this delightful and very exciting animated "double feature" released by the studio in 1949.
"The Adventures of Ichabod & Mr. Toad" is truly Disney's greatest animated effort right after the incomparable "Alice in Wonderland". The stories "Wind in the Willows" and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" have become not just American literary classics, but also American classics...period.
Certainly any child over the age of 5 (possibly even younger than that) knows the story of Mr. Toad, his woodland companions Ratty, Moley & MacBadger, and their many adventures together. And who could ever forget Ichabod Crane's midnight ride through the haunted forest and his fateful encounter with the Headless Horseman.
Both stories are brought to vivid life in this wonderful and timeless film, particularly Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow". This version of Irving's classic tale is so much better than Tim Burton's recent remake, mainly because this one is actually based on the original story, and not simply inspired by it. That's the big problem I have with Burton's version, it doesn't even begin to resemble Irving's original story. Sure Burton got the setting and a few of the character's names right, but that's it! Trust me, you'll only be doing yourself a favor by watching this "true to the story" adaption.
The narrations of both these stories, done by Basil Rathbone and the late great Bing Crosby, only help to strengthen the ties that bind this animated classic together. The songs are highly enjoyable, too. Wish Disney would put out a soundtrack to this film, as they've now done with many of their other animated classics.
Anyway, if you haven't already seen this true Disney classic, you need to do so sometime in the near future. After watching it, you'll realize exactly what I mean when I say that the studio has forgotten its roots, what with all the crap they're putting out today. "Di$ney" certainly isn't Walt anymore, and it's not very magical now either.
on April 10, 2001
This dvd is fantastic! It contains two of my favorite Disney movies of all-time. Not Mr. Toad, but The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and the bonus short of Lonesome Ghosts. Don't get me wrong, Mr. Toad is a great little story, but the two Halloween themed shorts are Disney at it's best.
Sleepy Hollow was my favorite as a kid. I remember watching it every year with my cousin on the Wonderful World of Disney. What a great movie. Bing Crosby is great as the narrator. Pay particular attention to the scenes just before Ichabod runs into the headless horsemen. The "sounds" of the forest come to life. The frog calls out to Ichabod, the birds yell "Beware" and there are other great little "hidden" treats for you to discover. Listen closely.
Lonesome Ghosts is also a true Disney classic. I remember having this little movie on a Fisher Price movie viewer as a kid. You could play it backwards and forwards on the viewer and it always fascinated me. Especially Mickey opening the door to the closet as water comes pouring out. This one was made in 1937 and stars Mickey, Donald and Goofy as Ghost Exterminators. They are called on the phone by the ghosts themselves because the ghosts are bored in their "haunted house". Lots of great images and these characters truly shine.
These are Disney classics! The holiday themed cartoons always seemed to turn out the best. "Trick or Treat" is another classic starring Donald Duck and his nephews. This was available on vhs with some other cartoons years ago, but I don't think it's availabe at this time. Keep an eye out for it. One more I'll mention is the PRINCE AND THE PAUPER. This one was available on Laserdisc and VHS a couple years back as well and I'm sure it will be available again soon. Another great, more modern, classic that not too many people have seen