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Posts Tagged ‘Salvador Dali’

who knew? dali + disney = destino

Posted by rollinsloane on 4 January 2008

Hoooooooly cow. If you’re anywhere near southern California this weekend, stop by LACMA’s soon-closing Dali exhibit. A good long look at Spanish surrealist Salvador Dali’s too-few contributions to cinema, it features the recently completed short film he embarked on with Walt Disney in the 1940s — Destino.

Yeah, Salvador Dali and his whirling mustachios may seem like an odd dance partner for magic castle-builder Walt Disney, but, as LACMA curator Sara Cochran mentions, “Dalí could recognize, I don’t want to say genius, but talent, in other people. He obviously recognized in Harpo Marx a very kindred spirit…and I think also in Walt Disney. [He once deemed both of them “America’s surrealists”]. Roy Disney said some interesting things about how in some ways Disney and Dalí were both such optimists they really got on. They were people who were not interested in the barriers that were put in their way.”

Dali at this point was already a profiteer artist dabbling in the Hollywood studio system, having contributed a surrealist dream sequence to Hitchcock’s post-Freudian psychoanalysis thriller Spellbound (with Gregory Peck and Ingrid Bergman) amid other unfinished products, and Disney’s cartoon work, after all, is not exactly realism. Walt tapped him to draw something up for another Fantasia-like anthology feature (accordingly to Animation Art Conservation) and Dali proceeded to pour all his signature icons into the mix — lonely deserts, black and white checks, crumbling statues, telephones, eyes. The only thing I noticed lacking were those weird long legged elephants.

The film was abandoned after a year or two, and thank god the Disney company went ahead and finished it. Roy E. Disney came across the project’s remains while working on Fantasia 2000 and sent it to the company’s French animation studio to finish it up. Director Dominque Monfrey did an incredible job. The 2003 completed short was even nominated for an Academy Award (where have I been?) and, apparently, released theaterically with Calendar Girls (although I admit I’m more than dubious about that particularly Wikipedia claim):

Here’s a bit of the final product, the most that YouTube could offer. With lovely music by Mexican songwriter Armando Dominguez:



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