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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE STORY OF ARTHUR BEFORE HE BECAME KING...
This 1963 adaptation of the children's classic book of the same name, which was written by Terence H. White and first published in 1938, tells the story of a young King Arthur. The plot of the book provides the underpinnings for this animated film. In the film, Arthur is a twelve year old squire to the numbskull son of his guardian. Naive and genuinely nice, he is known...
Published on June 22 2008 by Lawyeraau

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Pan and Scan
It's been reformatted folks - you don't get the full picture. There's nothing in the published specs to tell you that (as the early Disney animateds were originally 1.33:1), but you're missing 25% of the picture here. Wish I'd noticed the itty bitty print on the back before I broke the seal.
Published on March 21 2001 by K. Bowden


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE STORY OF ARTHUR BEFORE HE BECAME KING..., June 22 2008
By 
Lawyeraau (Balmoral Castle) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Sword in the Stone (45th Anniversary Edition) (DVD)
This 1963 adaptation of the children's classic book of the same name, which was written by Terence H. White and first published in 1938, tells the story of a young King Arthur. The plot of the book provides the underpinnings for this animated film. In the film, Arthur is a twelve year old squire to the numbskull son of his guardian. Naive and genuinely nice, he is known by the nickname "Wart". Merlin, the wizard of all wizards, takes him under his wing, seeking to educate young Arthur before he enters into legend. Wart has no clue what fate holds in store for him, when he goes to London to perform his duties as a squire. Little does he know about the sword in the stone and the legend that surrounds it. Is he in for a surprise!

This film is not as well known as other Disney animated films and has never had the acclaim of some of the others. Yet, it provides solid entertainment. The animation, as it is with all Disney animated films, is excellent, despite lacking the elegance of some other Disney animated classics. My favorite scene is that involving the evil sorceress, Mad Madam Mim, a scene that I simply loved. It is a scene that is totally funny, whimsical, and action packed. Having never seen this film before, I was pleasantly surprised by it. The seventy nine minutes that the film lasted passed all too quickly. Moreover, it is a film that the whole family may enjoy.

The 45th Anniversary edition comes loaded with many bonus features. My favorite feature was the inclusion of two classic cartoons. Both cartoons selected for inclusion follow the medieval theme of the film. The first cartoon, "Knight for a Day" dates back to 1946 and features "Goofy" as a medieval squire. With his master out of commission due to a mishap, Goofy takes his master's place at a joust that is to decide who will win the hand of the Princess. The second classic cartoon "Brave Little Tailor", dates back to 1938 and features "Mickey Mouse", who is deemed by his King to be the official giant killer, when Mickey overstates his fighting ability. Asides from a bucketful of money, if Mickey is successful in routing the giant, he will win the hand of Princess Minnie. I totally loved these two cartoons. To me, they turned this DVD into a must buy DVD.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Sword In The Stone (blu ray): enchanting movie with soft image, but more superior than the DVD in all aspects., Aug. 7 2013
By 
Dr. Joseph Lee (Toronto, Canada) - See all my reviews
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VIDEO:

This 50th Anniversary Edition of The Sword In The Stone was Walt Disney’s 18th animated feature and the last animated film released before Walt Disney’s death. It arrives on blu ray with MPEG-4 AVC 1080p 1.75:1 encode. This 1963 animated feature was released on DVD as Gold Collection (2003) and 45th Anniversary Edition (2008), and both had 1.33:1. For the first time, the picture finally appears as widescreen! Colours have been bolstered and black colour deepened. But unfortunately, there was excessive noise reduction, wiping off a lot of the grain and details, resulting in a very soft flat image with loss of sharpness and lack of pop in the colours. (Another prime example of excessive DNR was Unversal’s Predators). But don’t despair. After watching the HD version, I took out my 2003 Gold Collection DVD. The picture here in 1.33:1 was even worst with duller colours and softer images, immediately noticeable on the colours and sharpness of the opening credits. Although this current transfer cannot be compared to other Diamond Editions such as the Lion King, Bambi, Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, all with vibrant saturated colours that pop, nevertheless, it is much superior than the DVD version. The technique in the drawing reminded me of Winnie the Pooh era, a totally different method compared to those more modern techniques. Nevertheless the picture was still very enjoyable and enchanting, especially when you introduce this to your young children. (4/5)

AUDIO:

For the first time, this 1963 movie comes with DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio lossless track, which is a significant improvement over previous Dolby Digital 5.1 track. Voices are clean and clear on the whole, with minimal hiss, and effects are bright and well-prioritized, despite some presumably unavoidable flatness and tininess. There is minimal rear speaker or subwoofer activity. I would have preferred a lossless track of the original mono. The music score by George Bruns was nominated for an Oscar for Best Music, Score of Music – Adaptation or Treatment, in 1964, but lost to Andre Previn’s Irma La Douce. When I watched the primitive menu of the 2003 Gold edition, there was no offering of any choice for sound – I guess it just defaunted to Dolby Digital, and the sound in the DVD was much inferior than that of this lossless version. (4/5)

TRIVIA:

This is the first Disney animated feature with songs by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, who was responsible for songs from Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, Winnie the Pooh, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and the famous theme-park song “It’s A Small World (After All).

Although Walt Disney never knew it, he himself was character designer Bill Peet's model for Merlin. Peet saw them both as argumentative, cantankerous, playful and very intelligent. Peet also gave Merlin Walt's nose.

Arthur was voiced by three different boys - Rickie Sorensen, Richard Reitherman and Robert Reitherman. The changes in voice are very noticeable in the film because of the way Arthur's voice keeps going from broken to unbroken, sometimes in the same scene. One of the easiest noticed is in the last scene in the throne room when Arthur asks in his "changed voice", "Oh, Archimedes, I wish Merlin was here!" Then, the camera cuts farther back and Arthur shouts in his "unchanged voice," "Merlin! Merlin!" Pay attention to see if you also notice the above difference.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

The Sword In The Stone remains one of Disney’s lower profile animated features, even fifty years after it was released. This movie is one of my beloved favourite Disney films, and my wife’s favourite one. Unfortunately, the video suffered through unnecessarily excessive noise scrubbing, removing a lot the details and grain. The movie is still very enchanting and lovely to watch, and both video and audio are much more superior than the DVD version. For now, this is the best version of this enchanting movie available, and is still highly recommended.

One little shopping tip for blu ray discs, it is wise to scan the website on a regular basis. I have an Excel spreadsheet listing all the movies or CDs that I like to purchase, plus their prices. For major releases, the initial price is usually the highest, and as the release date draws closer, the price may drop. In this case, the original price was $30.74. But suddenly it dropped to $24.99 and I immediately ordered it. Now the price has gone back up to $29.97. Opposite is true for non-major release. Here, the initial announced price is usually the lowest. Shop wisely and you can save a few dollars. I hope this shopping tip is helpful to you.

Finally, get this blu ray version, and watch it with your young children. They will all glue to the TV and this movie will enchant a new generation of youngsters.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much better than I once thought, July 12 2008
By 
Robert Morris (Dallas, Texas) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sword in the Stone (45th Anniversary Edition) (DVD)
As other reviewers have duly noted, this film (first released in 1963) is based on the first of four parts of T.H. White's The Once and Future King (1958), focusing on Arthur's birth, childhood, and youth before he became king of England. The film has been reissued as a 45th anniversary edition. It features the well-selected voices of Sebastian Cabot (Sir Ector/Narrator), Karl Swenson (Merlin), Rickie Sorensen (Arthur/"Wart"), Junius Matthews (Archimedes), and Alan Napier (Sir Pelinore). Frankly, I was underwhelmed when I first saw it many years ago and had little patience with the antics. While seeing it again recently, I found the film much more entertaining and frequently charming.

In our family, a film's "acid test" for grandchildren is for them to want to see it again, immediately. After I watched it with several of the younger ones, they requested that but agreed, instead, to check out "Merlin's New Magical Academy Game," passing on the other bonus features. I would not rank The Sword in the Stone among the "classic" animated features produced by Disney (e.g. Bambi, Beauty and the Beast, Dumbo, Pinocchio, and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs) and Pixar (e.g. Finding Nemo, Ratatouille, Toy Story, Toy Story 2, and WALL-E) as well as DreamWorks' Antz and Shrek. However, how many animation features do?

Perhaps there are other grandparents and parents who also saw The Sword in the Stone years ago, as did I, and are not inclined to have a copy available for children to see. I urge them to reconsider because it possesses a unique "magic" of its own. I think they will also enjoy the bonus features. Hopefully this reissued version will attract the interest and gain the appreciation the film clearly deserves.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Pan and Scan, March 21 2001
By 
K. Bowden "Zodgilla" (Richmond, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
It's been reformatted folks - you don't get the full picture. There's nothing in the published specs to tell you that (as the early Disney animateds were originally 1.33:1), but you're missing 25% of the picture here. Wish I'd noticed the itty bitty print on the back before I broke the seal.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Put the sword back..., Dec 5 2003
By 
Bruce Gray "gurpsgm" (Shenandoah Valley, VA, USA) - See all my reviews
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Although not one of the shining gems in Disney's "canon" crown, this movie still has a charming quality some will appreciate.
Loosely based on White's "The Once and Future King", although "Sword in the Stone" does no justice to the original material, it is still a fun filled romp that children will love.
The Transformation bits are the best. The young Wart (the future King Arthur, believe it or not) is transformed into a bird, a fish, and a squirrel to teach Wart lessons that he will need to know once he becomes king. These are the highlights of the film.
Younger audiences will enjoy the dancing dishwashing sequence.
The final conflict between Merlin and Mim is almost anti-climatic. But we do get to see Wart withdraw the Sword from the Stone and become King Arthur. I rather liked the few references to modern technology that Merlin throws at an unknowing Wart. It gives him an aura of "I know what's going to happen" that is sorely needed by Merlin as the wizard that trains Wart.
Note that I would have given this DVD four stars if it had been presented in letterbox format (true 16X9 ratio) as well as the included pan-and-scan version.
Worth looking at for any library of children's videos, and well worth adding to a collection of Disney's classics.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Widescreen or not...that is the question., March 27 2003
By 
D. Diamond (Boston, MA United States) - See all my reviews
I remember "The Sword in the Stone" as a widescreen movie, so I was dismayed to find that Disney had released this animated favorite to DVD in a cropped/pan-and-scan format. However, on further investigation, I discovered that, to my surprise, "The Sword in the Stone" was not a widescreen motion picture... at least not originally. Apparently, like "101 Dalmations" and other films of the late 1950s and early 1960s, "The Sword in the Stone" was made to be projected in one of two formats: either widescreen or full-frame, depending on the theater where it was shown. It seems that the Disney animators designed the film with a bit of 'extra picture' at the top and bottom of each frame; that way this 'extra' could be cut off without ruining the image in theaters playing it in widescreen. In other theaters, and on television, the film could be shown in a standard full-frame (1.33:1) format. So, according to Disney, the current full-frame DVD of "TSITS" is indeed the film in it's "original format'. Admittedly, it may not be the way that most of us remember this great little movie, but it is the way the folks at Disney made it.
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3.0 out of 5 stars 3 stars for format..., Jan. 29 2002
By A Customer
4 stars for the movie, 3 for the DVD.
Love the movie. Remember it from my youth. Highly recommended for young aspiring kings and princes. It's a laughter-filled romp, and Disney at his best for great storytelling, and great character development.
However, this DVD gets only three stars from me because it is in Full Screen format, when the original was widescreen. As usual in these cases, in the tiny print at the bottom of the box, the dreaded words for any 16:9 TV owner:
"This presentation has been modified from the original. It has been formatted to fit your TV screen".
You'd think by now, the studios would get a clue, ESPECIALLY Disney, and release either the original with letterbox, or put both on the disc like so many do... Does anyone here like "Pan and Scan"?
My complaint ends there. It is otherwise a wonderful film to share with your kids... I enjoyed watching it again after so many years, this time with my four-year-old son. We laughed and marvelled together over the antics and magic of the Wizard Merlin, and the adventures of young "Wart". He was ready to see it again as soon as it ended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars "Big news from London" The Sword in the Stone is Great!, May 23 2000
By 
G. Twietmeyer (Huntington, WV USA) - See all my reviews
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The Sword in the Stone is simply the best Disney animated film of all time! It's full of wonderful and unique animation. I can't stand how cookie cutter and overdone their current stuff is. (ie. Tarzan, could his chin get any bigger?) But the film is also full of brilliant well developed characters. Merlin and Archimedes are great fun as they bicker like a couple of siblings about how to teach Wart to think for himself. Wart is great fun and even side characters like Pelinor are full of quirks. (twitching his beard when ever he speakes) You'll understand when you see the movie. Give this film a chance and you'll love it. Leonard Maltin is either writing reviews from his Critics Cliff Notes or he accidently stuck his copy of "The Lion King II" in the VCR, because "Sword.." is great. The only reason I can think why people wouldn't like it is because we have forgot how to appreciate subtlety. This movie is great fun for both young and old. I'm 24 years old and I'm still watching it!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed best when the kids were 2 to 4 years old., Aug. 11 2003
By 
JediMack (VALRICO, FL USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sword in the Stone (VHS Tape)
When one watches this movie they keep waiting for it to turn into the story they recognize, it never does and then suddenly the movie is over. We rank this 20th of 41. This is a solid, 3 star movie that has average entertainment value. This was never a movie that the children watched very much once they reached about age 4. But when they were 3 and 4 they did watch and enjoy it.
We had a lot of fun by gathering the family together to rank the 41 Disney movies we have that include some cartoon work. All the kids, ages 6 to 27, participated along with mother and dad. Lion King was selected number 1 of the 41 as the family favorite, but narrowly. Peter Pan was 2. Pete's Dragon 3, Beauty & the beast 4, Sleeping Beauty 5, Snow White 6, Robin Hood 7, 101 Dalmatians 8, Fox and the hound 9, Cinderella is 10th, Rescuers 11, Hunchback of ND 12, Aladdin 13, Aladdin King of Thieves 14, Jungle Book 15, Little Mermaid 16, Hercules 17, Winnie the Pooh 18 and Rescuers Down Under 19.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great Extra Features, Strange DVD, April 21 2001
By 
Shaun White (Ripley, Derbyshire England) - See all my reviews
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The picture quality of this Disney animated film is astounding. Even though the sound has been remastered into 5.1, only the centre speaker seems to be used, but I suppose this won't matter to people who don't have a surround sound set up. The extra features on these disney dvds seems to keep getting better all the time. There's an insightful featurette about the music of the film and lots of other little morsels to keep you amused. The only problem that I have with this dvd is that it seems to be a bit too sophisticated for my dvd player. Disney have put English, French and Spanish language tracks on this dvd. It seems they have used some sort of seemless branching for the credits of the film. Basically, if you set the spoken language to French, you get French credits, Spanish language - Spanish credits etc and my dvd player gets confused with the 3 languages and stalls. Apart from that, this is a good dvd!
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Sword in the Stone (45th Anniversary Edition)
Sword in the Stone (45th Anniversary Edition) by Wolfgang Reitherman (DVD - 2008)
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