Pinocchio (1940)

Genres - Children's/Family, Fantasy  |   Sub-Genres - Fairy Tales & Legends, Animated Musical, Children's Fantasy  |   Run Time - 88 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - G
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Review by Aubry Anne D'Arminio

Though only Disney's second feature-length cartoon, Pinocchio is still celebrated as one of the company's greatest achievements for its Academy Award-winning music, its humor, its beauty, and, most of all, its production value. Determined to make an animated film that improved upon its predecessor, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), Walt Disney employed over 750 staff members on Pinocchio and worked them relentlessly for several years. Technicians developed an enhanced multiplane camera that could dolly in and out of an animated scene (similar to live-action photography), as opposed to Snow White's vertical method of shooting. Animators pioneered using glass plates over the animation to create a realistic underwater look for the scene in the ocean, and established a technique called "the blend" to give the two-dimensional animation some depth. Twelve artists labored for 18 months to design the character of Pinocchio alone, and the perfectionist Walt Disney is rumored to have thrown out over 2,300 feet of footage (at least five months of work) because it did not fit his vision. Pinocchio's box-office returns did not surpass Snow White's, but its ingenuity and polish impressed critics and further established Disney as an artistic force.