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Home :: Archive :: 1994 :: June ::
Re: Shakespeare and Disney
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 5, No. 0566.  Friday, 24 June 1994.
 
(1)     From:   Ann Cox <
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        Date:   Thursday, 23 Jun 1994 12:19:28 EST5EDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0555  Re: Shakespearean Disney
 
(2)     From:   Ellen Edgerton <EBEDGERT@SUADMIN.BITNET>
        Date:   Thursday, 23 Jun 1994 12:15 ET
        Subj:   The Shakespeare/Disney horror
 
(3)     From:   Lynn A. Parks <
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        Date:   Thursday, 23 Jun 1994 14:22:58 CST
        Subj:   Disney and the stage
 
(4)     From:   William Proctor Williams <TB0WPW1@NIU.BITNET>
        Date:   Thursday, 23 Jun 94 13:48 CDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 5.0555  Re: Shakespearean Disney
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ann Cox <
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Date:           Thursday, 23 Jun 1994 12:19:28 EST5EDT
Subject: 5.0555  Re: Shakespearean Disney
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0555  Re: Shakespearean Disney
 
The first time I saw the commercial of The Lion King, the part which featured
Irons as the evil uncle...it was so obvious that Hamlet was the inspiration. I
have never been a fan of the Disney pieces, and this film will certainly not
change my mind.  What so infuriates me about the Disney features is the
predictability...the little outcast wins in the end amist great song and dance,
even if the original tale does not end in such a manner (The Little Mermaid,
for example). Sometimes, as in the case of Beauty and the Beast, they change
the story so much that the original point of the tale is lost amid all the song
and perpetual cuteness. It's as if they afraid that a sad ending might turn
their audience of children into future Ted Bundys.
 
Suffice it to say, I was not amused by Disney's use of the Hamlet theme.
 
Ann M. Cox, B.A., M.L.I.S.

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(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ellen Edgerton <EBEDGERT@SUADMIN.BITNET>
Date:           Thursday, 23 Jun 1994 12:15 ET
Subject:        The Shakespeare/Disney horror
 
Regarding the recent comments on the "inappropriateness" of mentioning
Shakespeare and Disney in the same breath:  this past year when Kenneth Branagh
released his film of *Much Ado* he spent a good deal of time in interviews
railing against the idea that "Shakespeare must be delivered in a small glass
bottle."  I honestly got annoyed by this proselytizing.  Surely it is a bit of
a cliche, in these modern times, to think that anyone seriously believed that
Shakespeare had to be kept "above" the fray of modern popular culture.   Did
Branagh really think he was being revolutionary with these diatribes?  I
thought it was all a bit much.
 
Apparently not.  Maybe I'm just too wet behind the ears, but posts like "Disney
is contrary to everything Shakespeare stands for" strike a sourly realistic
note into my dewy-eyed perception of the current state of Shakespearean
academia.  The posters haven't really explained their positions further
(perhaps their perception of the cultural significance of Disney is far
different from mine), but come on...haven't we outgrown this attitude yet?  I'm
disappointed.
 
I have to wonder just how Mr. Williams plans to train his "shock troops" to
vigorously instill a love for Shakespeare into 16-year-olds without dropping
and breaking that precious glass bottle.
 
Ellen Edgerton
Syracuse University
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Lynn A. Parks <
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 >
Date:           Thursday, 23 Jun 1994 14:22:58 CST
Subject:        Disney and the stage
 
I'm sorry I offended anyone by mentioning Shakespeare and Disney in the same
breath, but allow me to point out a peripheral connection that has gone
unnoted--the fact that Disney's _Beauty and the Beast_ has been successfully
adapted to the stage, a measure of quality that Shakespeare himself would
surely appreciate.  And no wonder-- the clever characterizations, sparkling
lyrics ("No one plots like Gaston/Takes cheap shots like Gaston/Plans to
persecute harmless crackpots like Gaston," etc.) and beautiful animation make
the movie captivating, and the miraculous transformation at the end from
tragedy to triumph should appeal to any lover of Shakespeare's romances. Sure,
some Disney is insipid, but at its best--and _Beauty and the Beast_ should be
right up there--Disney films are fine art in every sense.
 
(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           William Proctor Williams <TB0WPW1@NIU.BITNET>
Date:           Thursday, 23 Jun 94 13:48 CDT
Subject: 5.0555  Re: Shakespearean Disney
Comment:        Re: SHK 5.0555  Re: Shakespearean Disney
 
What I object to is the Disneyfication of Shakespeare--yes, we have quite a bit
of it in Stratford now--; the mugs, dolls, Macdonalds' promotions, etc. etc. I
am not (I +hope+ my students would attest to this) a foe of popular culture.
Shakespeare's plays +are+ popular culture.  But I am against the cheap and
unthinking sort of stuff we frequently get from such sources.
 
A good example of the marriage of Shakespeare and popular culture is the recent
film +Renaissance Man+. A bad example would be two-inch rubber models of "Harry
the king, Bedford and Exeter, / Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester /
Be in their flowing cups (of coke with fries in our "happy meal") freshly
remembered."
 
We all should expect better than that.
 
William Proctor Williams
Northern Illinois University
TB0WPW1@NIU.BITNET
 

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