Sixty years ago, today, the most popular film at the box office was Sleeping Beauty.
☆ Mary Costa…….Princess Aurora
☆ Bill Shirley…….Prince Phillip
☆ Eleanor Audley…….Maleficent
☆ Verna Felton…….Flora/Queen Leah
☆ Barbara Luddy…….Merryweather
☆ Barbara Jo Allen…….Fauna
☆ Taylor Holmes…….King Stefan
☆ Bill Thompson…….King Hubert
After a beautiful princess, Aurora, is born in to royalty everyone gathers to exchange gifts. Everything is perfectly fine until an unwanted guest appears, Maleficent. Maleficent casts a spell on the young princess and announces that she will die by pricking her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel on the evening of her 16th birthday. Fortunately, one of the good fairies, Merryweather, changes the spell so Aurora will fall asleep, and that the only way to wake her from her sleep is true love’s kiss. Finally the day comes.
The Sleeping Beauty story has many variations and has deep, medieval roots. Disney’s movie was based on French author Charles Perrault’s La Belle Au Bois Dormant (German: Dornröschen or Little Briar Rose) or, in English, The Sleeping Beauty in the Woods, written in the late 1600s.
Other Perrault works include Le Petit Chaperon Rouge (Little Red Riding Hood), Cendrillon (Cinderella), Le Chat Botté (Puss in Boots) and Barbe Bleue (Bluebeard). Perrault’s literary tales predate the Brothers Grimm material by 100+ years but, The Sleeping Beauty, in particular, was based on the Sun, Moon & Talia (Sole, Luna, e Talia) piece by Italian writer Giambattista Basile, published, posthumously, in the early 1600s. This would NOT be a good children’s fairy tale.
♦ Princess Aurora’s long, thin, willowy body shape was inspired by that of Audrey Hepburn.
♦ The prince is named after Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh and husband of Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, as well as Prince Philip of Belgium (now King Philip).
♦ This is the only Disney movie with square trees.
♦ Famed Warner Bros. animation director Chuck Jones worked on the film, briefly, when Termite Terrace closed temporarily during the late 1950s. He found the atmosphere at Walt Disney Productions oppressive because everything anyone did there had to be approved by Walt Disney before, during and, after the process of production. He was more than happy when Warner’s animation department re-opened, where he stayed until it closed again in 1964.