Sleeping Beauty (partially found live action reference material for Disney film; 1959)
The lobby card for Sleeping Beauty, featuring a colourised shot of the live-action reference footage.
Status: Partially Found
Sleeping Beauty, Disney's 1959 feature animated film based on the Charles Perrault story of the same name wherein the evil fairy Maleficent curses Princess Aurora to sleep for a hundred years unless she receives true love's kiss, is acclaimed for the fluid and realistic motion of the characters within. This was achieved by filming live-action reference material with a full cast of characters.
During the creation of Sleeping Beauty, Walt Disney had a strict idea of how he wanted it to look. He was insistent that every independent frame be a work of art, to the point that a single sequence took four years to complete and cost more than $10,000 (over $88,000 after being adjusted for inflation in 2020) to create. To help achieve the best possible quality, despite the objections of certain animators, had a live-action version of the film produced for reference material, complete with accurate costume design and, where needed, set dressing.
The following actors are known to have been used:
- Helene Stanley (who was also the live-action model for Cinderella) as Princess Aurora
- Ed Kemmer as Prince Philip
- Eleanor Audley (also her voice actress) as Maleficent (dancer Jane Fowler was used as a stand-in]
- Hans Conried in his final film role as King Stefan
- Spring Byington, Madge Blake and Frances Bavier as Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather (who was who is unknown).
A short clip of Princess Aurora dancing was aired as part of Walt Disney's Disneyland, a television series created to fund the development of the eponymous theme park. It was likely staged to have the animators drawing sketches of Aurora while Helene Stanley danced, though it is likely that if not that take then a different one was used in the actual reference materials. There also exists a clip of unknown origin that depicts Ed Kemmer enacting the final battle with Maleficent's dragon form.
- "Sleeping Beauty: The Film That Woke Up Disney" from Newsarama. Retrieved 08 Feb '20
- "Moments with Marc" from Deja View. Retrieved 08 Feb '20
- "Meet Eleanor Audley, the Original Maleficent" from The Atlantic. Retrieved 08 Feb '20
- Discovering The Magic Kingdom blogpost on Frances Bavier used as a reference model in the film. Retrieved 08 Feb '20
- Classic Movie Hub page on Sleeping Beauty. Retrieved 08 Feb '20