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Author Topic: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
Steve Klare
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From: Long Island, NY, USA
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 - posted July 23, 2007 05:53 PM      Profile for Steve Klare   Email Steve Klare   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
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“The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” (1x200’, Walt Disney Home Movies, Extract from “Fantasia”)

“Fantasia” has always been kind of special for me. Dad was a big fan of Classical Music, and when I was a little kid, he took my sister and me to see it at the local theater. I suppose he was trying to plant a seed in our minds that really good music could exist even without blaring electric guitars and lyrics bemoaning teenage horniness (…or “could only exist without”, if you’d asked him.). Today I enjoy Classical Music along with many other kinds, so just maybe it worked.

In the late 1930s, Walt Disney decided to take animated motion pictures out of the domain of strictly “kids stuff” and more into the realm of “legitimate art”. The idea he came up with was to use animation as the visual backdrop for what was basically an orchestral concert. Several pieces were chosen and the animators came up with sequences that showed where their imaginations went when they listened. The Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Leopold Stokowski provided the music, and Deems Taylor provided the narration. The initial idea was that there would be periodic revisions of the film to replace entire sections, so that it would be an evolving program which would re-appear every few years, but unfortunately in Walt Disney’s lifetime that never panned out.

Like many a bold step, “Fantasia” was controversial. Some people couldn’t process almost two hours of classical music. Orthodox classical music fans objected to changes in the original scores, or the visuals the animators chose or the idea of “serious” music being shown during a “cartoon” in the first place. “Fantasia” briefly caught on a few decades later when hallucinogenic drugs were big…., but that’s another story altogether. At the time of its release it was pretty much a box office flop, and it was not approached again by Disney until “Fantasia 2000” almost 60 years later. To this day it tends to be a film that many people either love or hate, much more often than any other animated feature I can think of.

Part of Fantasia’s troubles when it was first released were technological. The fact that it was the first stereo sound track ever released meant it got very limited engagements since few theaters were equipped for it, and didn’t get broad release for years afterwards.

I guess in ways both technical and artistic, the world just wasn’t ready for this one yet. These days visuals over music are of course called music videos, and are pumped into many households 24/7. (-although music videos still aren’t typically classical.)

Among the various segments of “Fantasia”, “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” is kind of a cornerstone. It was the first part, created as a short. The rest of the feature was eventually created using this initial concept. It is the only segment to re-appear in “Fantasia 2000”. If you say “Fantasia” and any image pops into people’s brains at all, it will probably be Mickey Mouse in a wizard’s hat and robe with an army of brooms carrying buckets. The fact that the music involved is easily the most obscure of all the pieces in the film never enters the equation at all.

The central idea that you shouldn’t mess around with things you don’t really understand is a really good one. We’d probably all be much happier if everyone took it to heart (…although spectacular scientific and technological discoveries are often made through uninformed goofs, you probably don’t want to be living next door at that "Eureka!" moment.). When I watch it with my son, I sometimes try to make that point as well, yet I’m sure my dad was thinking the exact same thing.

Disney’s 200 footer of this is quite a treat. Since it was originally meant to be an independent short, it doesn’t feel like an extract. There is a beginning and an end, and there is nothing missing in the middle. It is visually stunning, colorful, and action filled: there is something about Mickey riding that book through a whirlpool that really works on a big screen. The soundtrack is monaural, yet very, very good.

Mine arrived on a very full 200 foot reel: so full that if I don’t stay on top of it I may achieve a spectacular rewind spillover (…for about half a second it looks a little like the whirlpool mentioned above, but it’s made of film!). Normally I’d grab a Gepe 300 footer and put the problem to bed, but the box art on this one is too nice to set aside. This comes in a printed box featuring scenes from the film, which slips inside a nice plastic sleeve. I’m not usually a big fan of box art, but this is a little special.

“The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” pops up on the used lists quite often, usually accompanied by the dreaded “Slight Colour Fade” disclaimer. If you look at the head of my print it’s kind of a deep burgundy where I’d expect to see black film, but the projected colors are still beautiful and vibrant, and haven’t changed noticeably in the five years I’ve had my print. If this title intrigues you, don’t let this warning stop you from buying one.

A long time ago, my Dad took me to “Fantasia”. Because of Super-8, I was eventually able to bring it back to him while there was still time to share it.

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All I ask is a wide screen and a projector to light her by...

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Osi Osgood
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 - posted July 23, 2007 07:20 PM      Profile for Osi Osgood   Author's Homepage   Email Osi Osgood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Nice little review Steve, just the right balance of nolstalgia and info.

I always thought that this was the best box Disney released for it's releases back in the early 80's, as well as cute little titles at the beginning and end. My copy also doesn't have perfect blacks, but the colour is still very good on this print!

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"All these moments will be lost in time, just like ... tears, in the rain. "

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Graham Ritchie
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 - posted July 24, 2007 05:02 AM      Profile for Graham Ritchie   Email Graham Ritchie   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Steve
Excellent review, of all the Super8 films during the 70s this is the one that many collectors were eagerly waiting for Disney to release onto Super8. I cant remember the actual date when it came out but the wait was well worth it, my own copy is showing slight fade but doesen't appear to have got worse over the years. I was thinking that if any collector was looking at getting a copy of "The Sorcerers Apprentice" they might consider buying reel three of the feature "which is available from Derann" of Fantasia 2000 which includes "The Sorcerers Apprentice" reels can be bought separately.

Graham. [Smile]

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Winbert Hutahaean
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From: Nouméa, New Caledonia
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 - posted July 24, 2007 06:25 AM      Profile for Winbert Hutahaean   Email Winbert Hutahaean   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
What I knew that the same ttile from Germany has a perfect colour. And this come and go quite often too at ebay.de

cheers,

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Winbert

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Andrew Wilson
Jedi Master Film Handler

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From: dundonald,belfast,co.antrim,northern ireland.
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 - posted July 24, 2007 09:27 AM      Profile for Andrew Wilson   Author's Homepage   Email Andrew Wilson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Graham.It was 1981 that disney finally released this extract.Andy.

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Kevin Faulkner
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From: Essex UK
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 - posted July 24, 2007 11:08 AM      Profile for Kevin Faulkner         Edit/Delete Post 
Winbert, How do you tell a German release? is the box different?

Kev.

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Joerg Polzfusz
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 - posted July 24, 2007 11:46 AM      Profile for Joerg Polzfusz   Author's Homepage   Email Joerg Polzfusz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Hi Kevin,

German releases are from globus, piccolo or revue (=different logos) and do have German texts all over the box: E.g. it's "Micky Maus" in German.
And in most cases the artwork differs, too.
Nevertheless I can't remember seeing the "Zauberlehrling" as a German extract on Super8?! And the other German extracts of "Fantasia" that have been released as "Fantasia" only show other scenes AFAIK.

Jörg

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Winbert Hutahaean
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 - posted July 25, 2007 03:25 AM      Profile for Winbert Hutahaean   Email Winbert Hutahaean   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
And in some cases they released 300 feet instead of 200 for some Disney titles. I don't know if that include the Fantasias'

cheers,

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Winbert

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Graham Ritchie
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 - posted July 25, 2007 03:40 AM      Profile for Graham Ritchie   Email Graham Ritchie   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks Andy
1981, would that be close to the time Disney stopped there general releases due to video, or was that later? [Roll Eyes] the 1980s were a bit of a blank period for me regarding collecting Super8.

Graham [Smile]

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Panayotis A. Carayannis
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 - posted December 12, 2008 03:18 PM      Profile for Panayotis A. Carayannis   Email Panayotis A. Carayannis   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
When it was originally released,THE SORCERER'S APPRENTICE, beside the super luxury box,it offered,if you asked,a 20 page booklet of the film,which was actually,the 1977 theatrical rerelease souvenir program which, as I found out recently,was a scaled down version of the original 1940 souvenir program !

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Osi Osgood
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 - posted December 12, 2008 05:34 PM      Profile for Osi Osgood   Author's Homepage   Email Osi Osgood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Wow! That would be an awesome find! My copy, while it has that excellent box, (one of the best that the classic Disney studio released) does not have the booklet. Most cool!

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"All these moments will be lost in time, just like ... tears, in the rain. "

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Panayotis A. Carayannis
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 - posted December 13, 2008 04:22 PM      Profile for Panayotis A. Carayannis   Email Panayotis A. Carayannis   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The booklet,the souvenir booklet for the 1977 rerelease of FANTASIA, did not come with the film,and most probably it was being offered for a limited time in the States.I don't remember the
exact details but,anyway, I got it !!!
I have also found a b&w std8 sound copy of THE SORCERER'S APPRENTICE, taken from a Disney television show from the fifties.

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Kevin Faulkner
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 - posted December 13, 2008 05:27 PM      Profile for Kevin Faulkner         Edit/Delete Post 
I also have that black and white print on 16mm.

Kev.

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GS1200 Xenon with Elmo 1.0...great combo along with a 16-CL Xenon for that super bright white light.

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Gian Luca Mario Loncrini
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 - posted March 24, 2009 01:54 PM      Profile for Gian Luca Mario Loncrini   Author's Homepage   Email Gian Luca Mario Loncrini   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I have the official Italian print (Walt Disney Cinecasa) and color is absolutely stunning! A perfect copy (the image on the box is the same posted above).

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I remember when I was (super) 8 years old...

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David Erskine
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 - posted March 24, 2009 03:21 PM      Profile for David Erskine   Email David Erskine   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Fantasia used to be shown every year at a little cinema near Oxford Circus - and I went every year I could. It took me ages to realise that the strange smell in the cinema wasn't ordinary cigarettes! It seems that local hippies found it a super film if they had a monster spliff to hand - me, I stuck to birds & booze! Hapoy days. Cheers, David E

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I've NEVER let failure go to MY head!

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Gian Luca Mario Loncrini
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 - posted March 24, 2009 07:17 PM      Profile for Gian Luca Mario Loncrini   Author's Homepage   Email Gian Luca Mario Loncrini   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
David, cannot believe. This is absolutely great! Cannot remember when was the very last time I went to the cinema for a FANTASIA show. But what you write seems to be a sort of ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW - Audience participation. This must be great (and I'm totally serious!).

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I remember when I was (super) 8 years old...

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Paul Adsett
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 - posted December 28, 2017 07:24 PM      Profile for Paul Adsett     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Just received this super 8mm print of The Sorcerer's Apprentice from Barry Atwood at Independent 8. The print is only slightly faded, still nice and sharp with great colors. And it came in that beautiful Disney collectors box with the plastic slip cover as shown in Steve's post above. Since it came from the UK I am wondering if it was printed by Bucks Labs.
I have been looking for this one for some time as it is my favourate segment from Fantasis , so I am very happy with my purchase- thanks so much Barry! [Smile]
Now to re-record it in stereo!

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The best of all worlds- 8mm, super 8mm, 9.5mm, and HD Digital Projection,
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Steve Klare
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 - posted December 28, 2017 10:14 PM      Profile for Steve Klare   Email Steve Klare   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
It's a small world in Super-8, Paul! (Disney pun unintentional...at least at first!)

I happened to reach into a stash of my films tonight and "'Apprentice" was what I grabbed. (I'm on vacation: going all out on screen this week!)

I bought this one off the Derann used list roughly 14 years ago and it was listed with the standard "slight colour fade" warning. The blacks were a little deep, deep red but the colors were brilliant. What's nice is all these later it's basically identical to how I first received it.

To this day if I'm looking for something early in a show to grab people's attention, this is one of the ones I often go to. These many years later I doubt very many people I'm close to haven't seen it at least once.

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All I ask is a wide screen and a projector to light her by...

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Paul Adsett
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 - posted December 29, 2017 11:50 AM      Profile for Paul Adsett     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Yes Steve this is truly an iconic piece of film, the apex of Disney magic. It is a great joy to me to now have a wonderful super 8mm print in my collection, and in a beautiful collectors box too! And you are right - a great show opener to showcase the magic of film projection.

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The best of all worlds- 8mm, super 8mm, 9.5mm, and HD Digital Projection,
Elmo GS1200 f1.0 2-blade
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Osi Osgood
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 - posted December 29, 2017 12:24 PM      Profile for Osi Osgood   Author's Homepage   Email Osi Osgood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The only thing that was annoying about this WDHM release, was that the negative source (from Disney itself!), was slightly imperfect. I have a pretty darned good print of this, but it's Kodak SP and once you get past those two title cards, fade out and then fade in to the actual animated film, you can clearly see that the source material did not have perfect blacks.

There ARE low fade print that were struck of this in the UK and i have been looking for years to track one down!

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"All these moments will be lost in time, just like ... tears, in the rain. "

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Joe Caruso
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 - posted December 29, 2017 05:32 PM      Profile for Joe Caruso   Email Joe Caruso   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
box-art notwithstanding - Shorty

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Paul Adsett
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Now re-recorded in beautiful stereo! And well worth the effort to get the best possible reproduction of this classic work.

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The best of all worlds- 8mm, super 8mm, 9.5mm, and HD Digital Projection,
Elmo GS1200 f1.0 2-blade
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William Olson
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 - posted January 03, 2018 09:41 AM      Profile for William Olson   Email William Olson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
For me, FANTASIA is the only film that can be called unique. It's unfortunate that the original Fantasound tracks no longer exist. They were transferred to another medium via telephone lines in the 1950s before they deteriorated. Any subsequent restoration of the tracks were sourced from this transfer. To date, I feel that the home video release on Laserdisc in the 1990s is the best version overall. The soundtrack in this release is probably closer to the original Fantasound than the restoration done several years later. Missing footage was restored in the early 2000s but this fully restored version does not have Deems Taylor's voice. Because his audio for the restored footage is lost, his voice was dubbed for the entire film by a voice-over artist to achieve uniformity in the sound of the voice. Knowing the film as I do, I found this annoying.

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Osi Osgood
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 - posted January 03, 2018 11:56 AM      Profile for Osi Osgood   Author's Homepage   Email Osi Osgood   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I will not bother to buy any Fantasia bluray until they truly restore the original first release of Fantasia with the "black Centarette" footage back, which has been discussed and screen-shots shown here and there. It always burns me when Disney states that it is the complete edition of this film which it will never be until that footage is restored. [Frown]

Well done on the stereo re-record, Paul! This would no doubt have to be one of the easiest record into stereos possible, as there is no dialogue to deal with.

there is only thing that could have made this WDHM release a tad bit better, if they had included that short 20 or so seconds of Mickey and Stokowski at the end of the segment.

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"All these moments will be lost in time, just like ... tears, in the rain. "

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William Olson
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 - posted May 24, 2018 07:47 AM      Profile for William Olson   Email William Olson   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Fantasia has always been very special to me. Excised black centaurettes aside, I dislike what they keep doing to this film for each 'restoration'. The most recent one has rendered the images and colors so that the overall look of the original film is all but gone. The sound no longer has any characteristics inherent in the original Fantasound. Completely replacing Deems Taylor's voice continues to bother me. I'll stick with my laserdisc copy even if it isn't HD.

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