Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB. USA, 1949. Walt Disney Productions. Story by Erdman Penner, Winston Hibler, Joe Rinaldi, Ted Sears, Homer Brightman, Harry Reeves, based on the stories The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving and The Wind In The Willows by Kenneth Grahame. Music by Oliver Wallace. Film Editing by John O. Young. Golden Globe Awards 1949.
The Disney studios take two classic American fables and bring them to vibrant life. The first is a hilarious adaptation of Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind and the Willows, a delightful tale about Mr. Toad, whose obsession with locomotion lands him in the worst kind of trouble. Luckily, his equally adorable friends are around to help him out. The second, a darker chapter, is a terrifying version of Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, narrated and with songs sung by Bing Crosby. Ichabod Crane is a new schoolteacher in a nineteenth-century upstate New York town who has fallen in love with a local maiden. Unfortunately, on the night of a big town dance he encounters the reality of the town’s local legend, a headless horseman who rides in the night to do evil upon the innocent victims he encounters. The animation in both cases is so beautiful that the Hollywood Foreign Press bestowed upon the film a Golden Globe Award for “Best Cinematography”, the only time such an award has gone to an animated film, either from them or the Academy. Some of the images of this terror are enough to leave you shaking! Avoid showing this to the very young, but otherwise it’s great family entertainment.