Happy Thursday Main Streeters. Epcot’s Flower and Garden festival has officially kicked off and I may or may not have timed it perfectly to rediscover a tale with a character named Flower frolicking with other woodland creatures in what is known as nature’s original gardens. That’s right, this week, we explore the story of Bambi. If you’ve never seen the movie, it was released in 1942 and is the fifth animated film released by Walt Disney. The movie is based off an Austrian book called Bambi, a life in the woods.

Unfortunately, Bambi is one of the classic films that wasn’t widely popular when it was released. The studio actually lost money on Bambi. With a $1.7 million dollar budget, the production only grossed $1.64 million in return. After re-watching the tale, it’s understandable why this film wasn’t well received, and why to this day, it’s rare to hear someone say their favorite Disney movie is Bambi. The story falls a little flat despite having some tender moments, some funny moments, and an Academy Award nominated score.

I dug deeper to understand why this film missed the mark. It turns out that writers, and Walt himself, struggled with delivering this story and there were multiple interpretations. Mel Shaw, a storyteller and animator, who was personally recruited by Walt Disney himself to work on Bambi shed a little light on this issue in an interview I found. Mel said “The story of Bambi had a so many possibilities, you could go off on a million tangents. I remember one situation when Walt became involved with himself. He said ‘Suppose we have Bambi step on an ant hill and we cut inside and see all the damage he’s done to the ant civilization’. We spent weeks and weeks developing the ants, and then all of a sudden we decided, you know, we’re way off the story, this has got nothing to do with the story of Bambi. We also had a family of grasshoppers, and they get into a family squabble of this or that, and Bambi is watching all of this, and here’s the big head of Bambi in the grasshoppers. And what’s that got to do with the story, and this would go on many times.”

If this quote from Mel is any indication of the creative process, clearly the storytellers and animators wanted to give audiences a take away from the tale. As expressed in my other blogs, I’m a firm believer that these stories that have captivated audiences are more than just innovations in animation, they have a deeper message that Walt wished to deliver to audiences. Life lessons immortalized in animation. So what can we take from Bambi?

First, it’s difficult to cover some of the depth of this film because of recent events that have taken place in real life. So setting that debate aside to analyze the film and bring you this family friendly blog is the focus. Walt covers so much in this tale, from death, acceptance of loss, pride, the presence of man in nature, and so on and so forth. Just as Mel said you can take so much from this film, and I anticipate that if you watch it several times, you’ll find a different meaning in each viewing. However, there are some gems in quotes from the characters that are classic and we see still hear uttered by fans this day. One of my favorites is brought to you by Thumper.

“If you can’t say nothing nice, don’t say nothing at all” – Thumper

Spoken in a sweet tone with somewhat of a lisp, Thumper imparts on audiences a golden rule to be kind. This lesson rings true even in this day and age. As a society we discuss the struggle with kindness. Studies are published with information on what happens when we often forget the feelings of others, and speak with words that are hurtful. It can really take a toll on people to be exposed to such negativity and it changes them. Thumper is chastised for teasing, and reminded that if you can’t say nothing nice, don’t say nothing at all. This lesson should make a huge comeback, in my humble opinion.

“Love is a song that never ends” – Bambi

What a powerful message. Whether you are on cloud nine, head over heels in love, or having just lost someone special to you, this quote brings comfort that love is everlasting. A beautiful melody to be carried with us for eternity. When you love it’s like a different frequency of care, compassion, and kindness which affects the recipient in a magical way. The message behind this quote is to love and create that melody that never ends.

So Main Streeter’s – tell us, what did you learn from watching Bambi? Is this your favorite Disney movie? If so, why? Share with us what you love and what you learned. We love your feedback!



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