Saturday, October 8, 2022

31 Days of Scary Movies: Disney’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” 1949

 Of all the things I watched in October, Disney’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” the concluding segment to “The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad,” is one film that has perhaps been with me the longest. I believe I first came to it via “Disney’s Halloween Treat,”— the titan of Halloween nostalgia— which will come later in the month. But for more years than I can count, I’ve been watching the animated tale of Ichabod Crane and the ghost stories in Sleepy Hollow.”

 Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” is maybe my favorite ghost story. And I love ghost stories. The tale, about the fear of tales told in October and scary stories, about schoolmaster Ichabod Crane and his mysterious disappearance, is eternal and classic, and stands large over American horror. There is a lot in Disney’s short animated adaptation that shouldn’t work. Bing Crosby narrates, and he is iconic. Adding popular (at the time) songs to the animation sung by Crosby shouldn’t, on paper, work, but they do. And are incredibly charming. The segments of song with Ichabod, Katrina van Tassel and Brom Bones are always a delight to watch, and do a lot of character work to set up the mystery at the end. 

 Perhaps my favorite song is “The Tale of the Headless Horseman,” told by Brom Bones at the Halloween party. The animation is beautiful, and a Halloween wonder to watch. As the night progresses, and Ichabod heads home after the scary ghost stories, the animation becomes even more affective and iconic. The house with the wind in the trees. Ichabod and his horse slowly galloping though the silent woods, the cemetery, and encountering the ghostly (?) Headless Horseman. 

 I love this film, and could watch it so often I watched it twice last night. Things I noticed on this watch, are being more aware that Ichabod lives in his school house, and the background design of his bed is so detailed; with his bed and books and teapots. Every scene— the ghost story, the autumn fields, the Horseman’s woods— are this detailed, and I would live in them if I could. 

No comments:

Post a Comment