The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (USA, 1977)
Directed by John Lounsbery & Wolfgang Reitherman
Starring Sterling Holloway, John Fielder, Junius Matthews, Paul Winchell
It's funny how creative artists in general, and authors in particular, become indelibly associated with one specific work or character. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is forever tied to Sherlock Holmes, F. Scott Fitzgerald to Jay Gatsby and A. A. Milne to Winnie the Pooh. All three men enjoyed a wider career outside of their most famous works, and both Doyle and Milne became rather disparaging about their characters' popularity. But while Doyle and Fitzgerald's work has been adapted many times, and in many different ways, Milne's work has become almost inseparable from Disney's interpretation.
Make Mine Music are essentially money-making exercises: they are not so much labours of love as means to buy the company time.
Sleeping Beauty) they were used to reduce the amount of animation needed in the opening sequences. But while these films quickly got into their stride, Winnie the Pooh leans upon this device very heavily, and even with the animation of the text it comes across as an obvious exercise in cost-cutting. The animation itself is just one step up from zooming in on an illustration which then comes to life, which Disney has done much better on numerous occasions.
The Jungle Book or The Sword in the Stone. Sterling Holloway is very good as Pooh, capturing his gleefulness and naivety in his quivering voice and generating a fair amount of laughs when Pooh tries to be serious. Sebastian Cabot is a capable narrator, whose lilting tones are well-suited to the material, and Ralph Wright is reasonable as Eeyore even if he doesn't have the range of his literary counterpart.
NEXT REVIEW: Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)