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7 Things You Didn’t Know About Sleeping Beauty

Oct 07, 2014

By: Jenna Busch

The Sleeping Beauty Diamond Edition DVD and Blu-ray hits stores today and we at Kidzworld were lucky enough to be a part of something really cool. We got to check out Walt Disney’s house in Los Angeles and chat with Doug Engalla, Disney Animation Research Library Representative. While we were there, we learned some really cool stuff about Sleeping Beauty. Here is what we found out!

The Disney Archives is where they keep all sorts of art history from their 90+ years of animated films, like sketches, cells, concept art and more! Everything from Oswald pics (the little bunny-like creature that predated Mickey Mouse) to the upcoming Big Hero 6.

Sleeping Beauty originally came out in June 1959 and the press release said they’d been working on it since 1953. However, they found out that they were writing the story back in 1951! That’s a long time to work on a single film!

1. You have to have a bad guy

In the original story, there wasn’t much conflict. In fact, the Princess slept for 100 years before she was found by the Prince. Disney had to come up with a villain like Maleficent to give the Prince something to fight for. The Princess ends up sleeping for a single day in the film “to keep the romance age appropriate!”

An early version of Princess AuroraAn early version of Princess AuroraCourtesy of Disney

2. Ivan Earle is the reason the film looks as unique as it does

Disney was happy with the success of Cinderella and wanted to keep going with fairy tales. However, he wanted it to have a different look. He had a staff artist named Ivan Earle who was painting backgrounds for them. He had a really bold, graphic style that Disney loved. All the other artists had to copy his style.

Ivan Earle, Disney’s staff artist, created the look of the filmIvan Earle, Disney’s staff artist, created the look of the filmCourtesy of Disney

3. The artists didn’t like the look at first

The animators complained about the backgrounds being busy. “How can our characters be seen?”  They made it work, however. Check out piece of concept art for Princess Aurora.

A typical character study for Disney animationA typical character study for Disney animationCourtesy of Disney

4. Maleficent was based on a Medieval painting

Marc Davis was inspired by Medieval art when he did the character design for Maleficent. However, his original design had her wearing red and black robes rather than the famous purple and black. In fact, the design comes from a religious painting that showed a character with fire coming out of her, which became a part of Maleficent’s sleeves.

Artist Marc Davis’ original character design for MaleficentArtist Marc Davis’ original character design for MaleficentCourtesy of Disney

5. Those horns are heavy!

Elanor Audley, who was the character model and voice actor for Maleficent walked around and posed wearing the head dress, which Davis designed to give a sense of evil.

The actress who was the real-life reference for Maleficent wore the horns all dayThe actress who was the real-life reference for Maleficent wore the horns all dayCourtesy of Disney

6. Maleficent originally had antenna and a falcon named Diablo

Originally Maleficent was a fairy with antenna! “And she also had a falcon as a cohort. A falcon that was named Diablo. Although the raven was never officially named Diablo in the 1959 film, it has been verified by a lot of the animators that they referred to the raven as Diablo.”

Maleficent’s original sidekick was a falcon and named DiabloMaleficent’s original sidekick was a falcon and named DiabloCourtesy of Disney

7. The new film pays tribute to the original Sleeping Beauty

Marc Davis, though he designed Maleficent in the 1950s, was credited in the film Maleficent’s credits. Hey, he’s the reason we’ve been scared of evil fairies for decades!

Angelina Jolie owes her Maleficent look to artist Marc DavisAngelina Jolie owes her Maleficent look to artist Marc DavisCourtesy of Disney

Have Your Say

Will you purchase the Diamond Edition of Sleeping Beauty on Blu-ray & DVD? Comment below and let us know!

Sleeping Beauty: Diamond Edition Blu-ray CoverSleeping Beauty: Diamond Edition Blu-ray CoverCourtesy of Disney

Sleeping Beauty Diamond Edition is now available on Blu-ray + DVD!