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When Bambi is born, he is hailed as the Prince of the Forest and welcomed by all the animals. Bambi (voices of Bobby Stewart, Donnie Dunagan, Hardie Albright, John Sutherland) makes friends with them all, including the playful rabbit Thumper (Peter Behn, Tim Davis, Sam Edwards) and the bashful skunk Flower (Stan Alexander, Sterling Holloway), with whom he frolics through the woods. Exploring his new world and guided by the wisdom of Friend Owl (Will Wright), Bambi learns valuable life lessons. When the hunters come, he has to learn to be brave like his father to lead the other deer to safety.

Review by Louise Keller:
Arguably Disney's greatest masterpiece, this sophisticated animation about the ever-revolving circle of life and Bambi the baby deer who grows up to learn about friendship, love and survival, is one that continues to delight audiences of all ages. With its haunting imagery and impressionist backdrops, the story is kept simple with minimal dialogue with the accent on the characteristics of the animal characters. A delightful music score enhances the colourful, bright and funny aspect of the film, contrasted by darker themes involving the animals' common enemy - man. This is a special film the whole family will treasure and deserves pride of place in any DVD collection.

Birds whistle, the wise old owl yawns, the squirrel stretches, a mouse washes his face with a single drop of water from a leaf and a rabbit scratches his back on the bark of a tree as we hear the lyrics of a song: Love is a song that never ends. There's a flurry of activity as the news spreads of the birth of Bambi, the Prince of the Forest who soon takes his first wobbly steps, much to the delight of the outspoken rabbit Thumper with the prominent tooth and left foot that thumps and the bashful skunk called Flower. High on a rock stands the majestic Great Prince of the Forest, watching over his little son.

The seasons change and the autumn leaves swirl with reflections of gold and red. As the last two leaves fall, Bambi wakes to a snowy wonderland, followed by happy sequences when Bambi and Thumper slide on the ice. As the shoots of spring push through the earth, it is time for another chapter in Bambi's life - the devastating loss of his mother, when man comes to the forest. But the circle of life goes on. There are wonderful sequences as Bambi experiences his first storm with raindrops echoed in the music score and there's that lovely moment when he first sees his own reflection in the river followed by that of the pretty doe-eyed Faline.

My favourite sequence is the one in the mating season when Bambi, Thumper and Flower become 'twitterpated'. Flower blushes, Thumper goes coy and Bambi prances and soars high up in the clouds, as they are touched by the power of love.

Available on Blu-ray and DVD, this Diamond Edition contains some spectacular bonus features including newly sourced deleted scenes, The Making of Bambi, Tricks of the Trade, Inside the Disney Archives, The Old Mill (animated short) and the original theatrical trailer.

I was fascinated by the feature in which the transcripts of story meetings with Walt Disney and the writers are dramatically recreated when we get a real sense of the process of how the intricate details of the film were created. The writers were keen to get away from a straight adaptation of the book and wanted the forest to be 'felt' rather than seen. It is interesting too to learn how the stylised world of impressionistic background paintings were created - a realistic style of depicting the forest was thought to be too busy and too much of a distraction from the central characters.

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(US, 1942)

VOICES: Bobby Stewart, Donie Dunagan, Hardie Albright, John Sutherland, paula Winslowe, Peter Behn, Tim Davis, Sam Edwards, Stan Alexander, Sterling Holloway, Will Wright, Cammie King, Ann Gillis, Fred Shields

PRODUCER: Walt Disney

DIRECTOR: David Hand, James Algar, Samuel Armstrong, Graham Heid, Bill Roberts, Paul Satterfield, Norman Wright

SCRIPT: Felix Salten, Perce Pearce (story direction) Larry Morey (story adaptation)



MUSIC: Frank Churchill, Edward H. Plumb

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Art direction: Tom Codrick, Robert Cormack, Lloyd Harting, David Hilberman, John Hubley, Dick Kelsey, McLaren Stewart, Al Zinnen

RUNNING TIME: 70 minutes

PRESENTATION: 1.78:1 ;Subtitle languages: English, French, Dutch, English for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired; Audio languages: 5.1 English / 5.1 French / 5.1 Dutch / 5.1 Hindi

SPECIAL FEATURES: The Making of Bambi: A Prince Is Born, Tricks of the Trade, Inside the Disney Archives, The Old Mill, Original theatrical trailer

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Walt Disney Studio Home Entertainment

DVD RELEASE: Re-release: March 30, 2011

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