Bambi | Chicago Reader

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While it isn't nearly as inventive as the Disney features that preceded and followed it (Dumbo and Saludos Amigos respectively), this 1942 animated feature based on Felix Salten's book about the coming of age of a fawn and his various forest friends (including the beloved Thumper) does convey some of the primal emotional power of Disney's features during this period. The handling of patriarchal authority here has some queasy echoes of Leni Riefenstahl's treatment of Nazi officials in Triumph of the Will, reminding one that Disney was the only Hollywood figure to befriend Riefenstahl when she visited in the 30s; but the adroit mixture of pantheism and sentimentality continues to be sufficiently “timeless” to allow Disney's heirs to recycle this picture endlessly.

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