Okay, this morning we'll talk about some interesting women. One very good and one very bad. I think you probably know them well because they're the stars of Walt Disney's “Sleeping Beauty” and both were brought to life by the amazing animator, Marc Davis.
I got my first glimpse of Briar Rose back in the fifties at the Walt Disney Studio. I dared to venture a peek into the office of Marc Davis in D-Wing's hallowed halls. There appeared to be a stack animation drawings on Marc's animation pegs. Printed Rotoscopes were intersperse with pencil sketches. These Rotos were being used as visual reference for Marc's animation. Don't even think about tracing when it comes to the use of Rotoscopes. The images of actress Helene Stanley were so different from the drawings created by Davis, there was no comparison. An animation drawing contains a world of difference from a live-action image. No, the drawing of Briar Rose was all the work of Marc Davis and the visual reference was simply a guide.
Now, let's mention some names you probably don't know. Marc Davis had a wonderful team of young women assisting him in the room next door and their work was remarkable. Not only did their drawings have to be solid they also needed a delicate touch to pull this off. One might say that Marc Davis's finished clean-ups needed a woman's touch. You might want to remember the names, Mary Anderson, Doris Collins and Fran Marr. They're the artists who received no screen credit on “Sleeping Beauty,” but boy, were they ever important.
Let's move on to the evil fairy, Malificent. Of course, this character was also brought to life by animator, Marc Davis and what a marvelous character she was. Who can ever forget the cold, heartless voice of actress Elinor Audley as she addresses the king and queen in the film's opening sequence. She actually sends chills down your spine in a wonderfully delightful way as she details the death of princess Aurora. What a bad, bad woman we have here. And, what a marvelous job Marc's assistants did in finalizing the amazing drawings of Malificent. Here are more names you should know. The Key Lead Assistant was Dale Barnhart. Dale was followed by assistants, Ruben Apodaca, Fernando Arce and Robert Longo. Naturally, no screen credits for these talented artists either but that's simply the way things worked back in the old days.
Take a moment to look at these marvelous women in the illustration below. One so sweet and wholesome and the other so delightfully wicked. This is what makes Disney storytelling so special, and it's why Marc Davis will always be regarded as a remarkable Disney animation artist.