What does this movie poster have to do with animation, you ask? Perhaps more than you realize. If you’re a film buff you’ll surely recognize this Saul Bass one sheet. It was first released in 1957 while we were hard at work on another film classic. That movie was Walt Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty.”
I snapped this photograph at USC’s Film School in Los Angeles a few months ago. As I sat typing away on my laptop, I looked up to see the iconic film poster hanging on the wall. Better yet, it was even autographed by film actress, Kim Novak. The director of course was the amazing Alfred Hitchcock. Miss Novak appeared in the Alfred Hitchcock motion picture and it was one of her better performances. Of course, I’m inclined to believe a lot of that was because of Hitchcock’s direction. Needless to say, this remarkable motion picture is one of my favorites and has been ever since I saw it in the theaters back in the fifties. The Walt Disney Studio had its share of Hitchcock fans. As you can imagine, the portly film maker was actually one of us. We admired his art direction and the fact that he meticulously storyboarded his films much the same way we did ours. Many of us Disney kids studied Hitchcock’s movies and even ran his feature films in sweatboxes during our lunch hour. In the sixties, the Master of Suspense even called on the talents of Disney’s special effects wizard, Ub Iwerks to help solve visual effects composting issues when he was directing, “The Birds.” If I recall correctly, some of the filming was done here on the Walt Disney Studio lot using Walt’s Sodium Matte Process which at the time was a state of the art special effects technique. As expected, Walt Disney was ahead of the rest of Hollywood.
I don’t know if “Hitch” ever visited the Walt Disney studio lot, but I heard he was a fan of Walt’s movies. I’m not surprised. The forest sequence in “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” sure scared the hell out of me when I was a kid. I remember the scary sequence had me practically hiding under the theater seats. Alfred Hitchcock would have been proud to include Walt Disney as a filmmaker who could send chills up your spine as well as make you laugh.