Art Treat Intermission: Dalí + Disney

If you can spare a moment from killing each other virtually, take a look at this rare little gem from way back in the day.

It’s the only collaboration between Salvador Dalí and Walt Disney, and it’s interesting (to me at least) because of the way in which two seemingly opposite styles are fused and flow so well together. You can clearly see and feel the classic Dalí surrealism and the old school Disney animation as separate elements all through the piece, but in complete harmony. Almost complementing each other. It’s called “Destino” (Destiny) and tells the story of a dancer who falls in love with a baseball player, but destiny – in the shape of time itself – makes it not meant to be.

(some fragments have been recently restored and done in 3D to complete the piece, but it’s not very intrusive)

Update: Check the comments for Dblade’s corrections to all this. Thanks for pointing it out ;)

8 thoughts on “Art Treat Intermission: Dalí + Disney”

  1. It’s a great short, but something about it bugged me, so I did some research.

    It’s not restored Julian: the only thing completed in the 40s were a storyboard and a brief animation test, which is like filming a flipbook. The entire film was done from that in roughly 2003, which explained why I was uneasy.

    It’s not a classic Disney style-most of the cels look to have been computer-colored and inbetweens done by computers as well. Usually films from the 50s don’t have that kind of color, and a lot of the film’s sequences would be impossible then. The scene where she is walking up the corkscrew tower past a statue with a glass in its hand is computer background animation.

    Stuff it does do is also not like a classic film. Classic films used the multiplane camera to allow foreground and background elements: the dance scene in sleeping beauty is a good example. A lot of the camera techniques we take for granted now were very hard to impossible to have done in classic animation, and it uses a lot of modern ones. The scene with the bicycles too would have been insane to hand-animate.

    So while it’s great, it’s not classic but modern Disney. Chances are Walt shelved it because it was impossible to animate at the time.

    Here’s some classic animation for your interlude:

    Yuri Norstein’s Hedgehog in the Fog. His “Tale of Tales” is thought to be one of the best animated films of all time.

    Rene Laloux’s Fantastic Planet. If this is Disney and Dali, this could be considered Disney and Hieronymous Bosch. On acid.

    1. Fantastic planet is NSFW. If this reply gets through before you moderate the comment, I just linked a couple of other animated films as well as explained that Destino was animated in 2003 from storyboards in the 40s.

    2. It does say at the beginning that the idea came about in 1946 and this film was completed more than half a century later, so after 1996 at the very least.

  2. I read about this collaboration in a Disney biography many years ago. Fascinating to see it, even if it isn’t really authentic.

  3. Sorry, I’ve been crazy over the weekend. Thanks for spotting that, Dblade. I stand corrected (and will have words with my film buff acquaintance who sent me this ;) )

  4. Odd. I’ve studied Disney, art and animation history (my bachelor’s degree is in computer animation) and never heard of this proposal. A curious omission.

    This piece in particular is definitely using a LOT of CG animation, both 2D and 3D techniques. Even without Dblade’s research, I could tell you there’s no way this was made in either Walt or Dali’s lifetime, and probably not before 1990. If anything, it bears a strong resemblance to the animation techniques in the Dreamworks Sinbad movie.

    Still, it’s an interesting mix, and it does make me wonder what else Disney might have shelved for technical reasons.

    …maybe it’s just me, though, but I see far more Aeon Flux than Disney in the character designs.

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