The Walt Disney Company was founded on October 16th, 1923, and it was originally called Disney Brother Cartoon Studio. It got its original name because it was founded by the brother Walt and Roy Disney. It changed names a few times, and it has been known officially in the past as both The Walt Disney Studio and Walt Disney Productions. However, the company finally settled on the name The Walt Disney Company in 1986. The Walt Disney Company, which is known today simply as Disney by many, started out as one of the leading animation studios of its time.
Many people imagine animation to be nothing more than many pictures which create movement. However, just because a person is good at drawing does not mean they will be good at animating. 2D animation has come a long way since Disney was first founded in 1923, and they pioneered much of the science and technology behind the art form. Creating realistic movement requires a deep knowledge of physics, math, and timing, as well as a talent in art.
While Disney may have started out as a 2D animation film company, they eventually diversified to include the production of live-action film and 3D animation. And, while Disney may be best known for its movies, the company has also made a lot of revenue from theme parks and a television channel.
Sadly, in 2011, Disney released its final 2D animated film, Winnie the Pooh. After the release of several 2D animated films, such as Treasure Planet, the company realized that 3D animated films were generating far more revenue. As a result, the company completely dissolved their 2D animation team and now only produces live-action and 3D animated films. Still, many die-hard Disney fans recall the company’s golden age with many 2D animated classics, like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty. The company also had a renaissance of 2D animation between 1989 and 1999, and this renaissance included films like Mulan, Hercules, and Aladdin.
While even adults remember many classic Disney films fondly, not everyone is aware of the origins of these films. Most Disney films appear bright and happy on the surface level, but they carry dark undertones. In fact, many Disney films were inspired by traditional fairy tales, which were originally far darker than when they appeared on the big screen. In today’s video, we’re going to look at the dark origins behind five classic Disney films. While most of them were based on fairy tales, one Disney film was based on real life events. Make sure you stick around to find out the tragic story behind Disney’s film Pocahontas.
Disney’s Cinderella was released in 1950, and remains one of the most popular Disney princesses to date. The premise of the film is much darker than many other Disney movies. Cinderella is terribly mistreated by her step-sisters, and she lives a sad and desolate life. However, the original tale of Cinderella was far, far worse. As you’ll come to find out, many Disney tales were based on Grimms’ Fairy Tales, a German book featuring many stories told by brothers Jacob and Wilhem Grimm. The story of Cinderella, also called Aschenputtel in its original German, was actually a much older story dating back as far as Ancient Greece. In the brothers’ Grimm version, however, Cinderella’s triumph over her wicked step-sisters is quite brutal.
While the step-sisters try on the glass slipper, their mother has them cut off parts of their toes to get their feet to fit! Even worse, at the end of the story, the step-sisters are forced to attend the wedding of Cinderella and her husband, the prince. While they are walking down the aisle, however, a crow comes by and pecks out their eyes. It’s a good thing Disney left those parts out of the movie!
Tangled is one of Disney’s more modern creations, and it was released in 2010 and features 3D animation. As you likely already know, this fun and witty film was based on the story of Rapunzel. The original tale is far more bloody than Disney’s adaptation.
In the original story of Rapunzel, the poor young girl left in the tower is still raised by a cruel witch, named Dame Gothel. While she is locked away in her tower, Rapunzel is greeted by a handsome prince who falls in love with her. He regularly sneaks into her tower whenever the witch is away. However, Rapunzel becomes pregnant, and the witch casts her out of the tower when she finds out, leaving poor Rapunzel to fend for herself in the desert. First, however, the witch cuts off Rapunzel’s hair. She then hangs the hair out the tower window to trick the prince. When he arrives, Dame Gothel tells him that Rapunzel has died. The prince jumps from the tower in an attempt to commit suicide, but he falls into a briar and is blinded by the thorns. He then wanders aimlessly, miserable and alone. In the end, however, Rapunzel finds the prince after several years, and she cures him of his blindness by weeping magic tears. At least there’s a happy ending, right?
The Disney film Pocahontas was released in 1995, and is the perfect example of Disney’s ability to turn any story into something family-friendly. However, in this case, this “Disney-fication” ended up doing more harm than good. The character Pocahontas was based off of a real woman. Her name was Amonute, and Pocahontas was merely a nickname meaning “playful one” or “ill-behaved child.” She died over 400 years ago, so many of the facts are still difficult to uncover today. However, her descendants have worked hard to paint a more accurate description of her life- and death.
While the Disney film would like to make it seem as though Pocahontas brought peace between her people and the white settlers of North America, this isn’t the case at all. Unfortunately, old journal accounts regarding Pocahontas are difficult to interpret, as it is unknown how reliable the authors were. However, it is widely agreed that Pocahontas was captured by Englishmen when she was only 14, and she was taken away to Europe. She returned to North America for a short time, but she died when she was only 20, after much of her culture and heritage had been stripped away. Pocahontas’ story is not one of peace between white settlers and the Native Americans; it is just one more tragic story of how Europeans exploited, mistreated, and devastated Native people’s lives.
Of course, not many people are surprise to learn that a film based on real historical events ended up being much scarier in real life, there is one wholesome Disney film whose origins are terrifyingly dark. Make sure you stick around until the very end, where we’ll reveal the awful story behind Disney’s classic film Pinocchio, And, if you’re enjoying this video so far, please take a moment to like this video and subscribe to our channel for more!
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was Disney’s first full-length film. It featured amazing animation, and this classic princess has remained in the hearts of little girls for decades. Like the story of Cinderella, however, this film was based on the brothers’ Grimm fairy tale, “Snow White.” While the movie gets dark enough when Snow White’s wicked stepmother asks a huntsman to bring her Snow White’s heart, the original story was even worse. In the brother’s Grimm version, the evil queen wishes to eat Snow White’s heart so she can become immortal! In the end of the story, after the prince marries Snow White, the wicked queen once again attempts to kill her. However, the prince devises a cruel punishment for the evil queen. He makes her dance in red-hot slippers until she dies. While some may consider this a fitting end for someone who attempted cannibalism, it’s definitely not something kids need to see in a movie.
Pinocchio, released in 1940, is widely considered to be one of the greatest Disney films ever released. However, this heartwarming tale took quite a few liberties from the original story. The film is based on a comic series by Carlo Collodi, entitled The Adventures of Pinocchio, also known as Le Avventure di Pinocchio in its original Italian. While the Disney film tells the sweet tale of a wooden puppet who longs for nothing but to be a real boy, Carlo Collodi’s comic was little more than a means to scare children into behaving well.
Poor Pinocchio was terribly treated in the original comic, mostly because he was very badly behaved. In the movie, while Jiminy Cricket served as a friend and mentor to Pinocchio, he was more of a snitch in the comics. In his final appearance, Jiminy Cricket tried to tell Pinocchio’s creator, Geppetto, about his misbehavior, Pinocchio smashes him with a hammer and kills him. In many instances, Pinocchio is tortured, starved, and kidnapped, and his poor wooden legs are burned off for his misbehavior! It seems Carlo Collodi felt that poorly behaved children deserved some absurd punishments. Apparently, he wanted the comic series to get even darker; he attempted to end it with Pinocchio hanging himself on his marionette strings. His editors were disgusted by the idea, and Carlo Collodi was forced to magic Pinocchio back to life with the help of a fairy. Thankfully, Disney took a more wholesome approach to the story, and it remains a beloved classic despite its dark origins.
Which Disney film’s origin story did you think was darker, Pinocchio or Pocahontas? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to subscribe to Facts Verse for more!