Aired this Christmas day on M6, “Bambi” is an absolute and indestructible classic, whose power of wonder remains intact. Famous for featuring one of the most traumatic deaths in the 7th Art, this one could have been even harsher.
“Of all the films I have made, Bambi was the happiest choice. I don’t see a story or a subject that could touch people more.” Walt Disney will say. to say the least. Fifth house classic after Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, Fantasia and Dumbo, Bambi still has, 79 years after its release, a power of wonder perfectly intact, as on the first day; timeless mark of masterpieces. On this Christmas day, the M6 channel has the idea to rebroadcast the film at 9:05 pm.
Here is again, for fun, the trailer of the film …
The firm’s first film presenting animals with a realistic approach, Bambi has also largely passed down to posterity for a sequence that entered the Pantheon of the 7th Art; one of the most tragic and heartbreaking deaths ever: Bambi’s mother, victim of a hunter. “Mum… ?” lets go the young fawn, now an orphan, with a quavering voice … Before the great prince of the forest, and his magnificent woods, appears and says to him: “Your mother will never be with you again …”
Let those who have not, children or adults, shed a torrent of tears during this traumatic scene, raise their fingers. The spectators of the Radio City Music Hall of Manhattan, present at the premiere of the film on August 13, 1942, were horrified by the scene. A sequence all the more emotionally harsh as, when you are a very young child, you can still imagine your eternal parents. Hence the incomprehension and the legitimate emotional shock in front of such a scene.
It is that, until then, Disney had reserved a disastrous fate only with the witches and other characters or evil creatures. If Walt declared that he wanted to remain faithful to the work of author Félix Salten, Bambi, the story of a life in the woods, published in 1923, it will specify later that it did not seem useful to him to “to play down such stories for children”.
The sequence of the death of Bambi’s mother was however watered down compared to the initial idea. In the book Disney Animation, The Illusion of Life, by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, two famous animators from the Disney house during the studio’s heyday, they explain that initially, Bambi’s mother was hit in the head and collapsed on her side … Even though we have been spared this putting into images of his death, it remains nevertheless very present, even if it remains powerfully suggested. And just as traumatic.