5 things you might not know about Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty”

  • Sol Rivero

The premiere of Disney’s retelling of “Sleeping Beauty”, “Maleficent”, is hitting theaters this weekend. To celebrate, we’ve compiled some interesting facts about the original 1959 film in our list of 5 things you might not know about Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty”.

Check them out!


Fact you might not know about Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty” #5: It used edgy animation techniques

Unlike previous Disney films, the animators of “Sleeping Beauty” paid much attention to the stylistic aspects of the movie, giving it a truly unique artistic look. Guided by Eyvind Earle, the background designs were complex and each took about a week to complete. Live actors also served as models for the animators, so they could get human appearance and movements just right.

The film also used some interesting effects, like using a flame-thrower to create the sounds of the dragon. It was also the first Disney film to be shot on the –then- new 70 mm. format.


Fact you might not know about Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty” #4: The music is based on Tchaikovsky’s ballet

Ballet lovers must have recognized some of Tchaikovsky’s tunes in Disney’s version of “Sleeping Beauty”. That’s because most of the soundtrack was based on Tchaikovsky’s score for the ballet based on the same fairytale. However, the addition of lyrics and some rearrangements make it seem like a completely different score.

The soundtrack was recorded by the Berlin Symphony Orchestra, and it was commercialized with both the songs and the score of the film, an odd practice which would later become the standard.


Fact you might not know about Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty” #3: It took a decade to complete

Alongside “Black Cauldron”, which premiered in 1985, “Sleeping Beauty” the Disney film with the longest production. From 1951 to 1952, the script was planned and the voices were recorded, while the actual animation took from 1953 to 1958 to complete. The film cost the studio about $6 million, and almost caused its bankruptcy. Nonetheless, it was still the second highest-grossing film of 1959, when it was finally released.  


Fact you might not know about Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty” #2: Some minor characters have names

Almost all of us can name the villain, fairies and even the two kings. However, it’s quite common in Disney films to find some secondary characters –and even some of the main ones- which apparently have no names at all. Yet, according to promotional material, some of the minor characters in “Sleeping Beauty” do have them, like Maleficent’s crow, whose name is “Diablo”, or Aurora’s mother, who is named “Queen Leah”.


Fact you might not know about Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty” #1: Aurora is a secondary character

You might be thinking: “The princess? A secondary character? No way!”. Well, even though the title of the film refers to her, Aurora is actually one of the characters who talks the least and she appears in just a few scenes of the movie. Indeed, the beautiful princess, whose appearance was based on Audrey Hepburn’s, only has 18 lines of dialogue and performs the two main songs.

In fact, the protagonists of the film are actually the three good fairies, which appear in most of the scenes and influence the actions that would lead to Maleficent’s doom.



You might also like: