The Adventures Of Ichabod And Mr. Toad (1949)

This film has two short adaptations of two classic stories. One of them is an adaption of The Wind And The Willows, and the other is an adaptation of The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow.

Director: James Algar, Clyde Geronimi, Jack Kinney

Cast: Basil Rathbone, Bing Crosby, Eric Blore, The Rythmaries

MPAA Rating: N/A

Fun Fact: The Headless Horseman is considered one of the scariest animated villains in the Disney cannon. Disney still gets complaints from parents.

This is an older animated film from the Disney catalogue and would be filed in the classic Disney section of films. The Adventures Of Ichabod And Mr. Toad seems to be on the forgotten side when it comes to classic Disney. Then again it was released in the era of Fantasia and Dumbo among others. Since there are two shorts in this film, we will look at both separately.

The film starts off with The Wind And The Willows. It’s animated beautifully and its top notch. Disney always went for the very best in animation and this one of those times. The animal characters have a blend of human like characteristics and cartoon animal like characteristics. My favorite parts are when Mr. Toad starts to get an obsession about something. His eyes turn a different color and it flows well. While the characters are animated well, the backgrounds and the buildings are animated even better. In the opening shot we get a beautiful shot of a pond with a rock like formation around it. While seeing it on screen it looked realistic and it got me sucked in to the film for a nice start. It’s been years since I’ve read the source material but, this might have me reading it again at some point.

The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow is the other short, and it’s great to view on Halloween night if you have children. It’s not just for children either, anyone can enjoy this as well. While the animation is nice, the story is what drives the short. You want to see the Headless Horseman as he is the main feature of the film. It starts off as a happy tail about Ichabod and the goofy situations that he gets into. While that is going on, it slowly builds up to the climax and it turns dark quick. When the Headless Horseman gets on the screen, it’s a great payoff because the film slowly built up to it. Just like in the Fun Fact, the Headless Horseman is still a scary piece of Disney lore. Disney does scary well and this one of those times that it worked perfectly.

For both shorts it was a wise choice for all the voice acting. Basil Rathbone was a great choice to narrate the first short. The story line for that has a detective and mystery like feel and Rathbone is well known for his Sherlock Holmes portrayals. Bing Crosby was a huge star in that era of film making that with his presence you get more people to talk about the film. The selections of songs also are classic and gives you a glimpse of what type of music was in at that time. The songs make me want to find a record and put it on my turntable just to listen to.

Overall, The Adventures Of Ichabod And Mr. Toad is a great animated Disney film. While not the most popular it still needs to be viewed. The animation is beautiful and you won’t be disappointed in the slightest bit. The voice acting and music are classic and it gives you a feel for classic Hollywood. If I had to put this film into a definition it would be classic. Make sure if you watch the film to check out the parts with the Headless Horseman, it’s truly memorable.

Verdict: Hit

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