Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Dali & Disney!

The other day I found this great link to the fabled Disney/Dali cartoon that was to appear in the remastered Fantasia 2006, but which never surfaced.

Walt Disney found an unexpected artistic soul mate in Salvador Dali, who he may have met as early as 1937. “We have to keep breaking new trails,” Disney said at the time. “Ordinarily good story ideas don’t come easily and have to be fought for. Dali is communicative. He bubbles with ideas.”

At a dinner party held by movie mogul Jack Warner in 1945, the concept of collaboration between Disney and Dali began to evolve. Disney had been compiling short features for theatrical release. “Destino” was the name of a Mexican ballad that Disney had envisioned as a vehicle for a musical short film project. Dali was attracted to Destino’s title and the concept of destiny attracting two lovers. In late 1946, Dali began arriving at the Disney Studio every morning at eight-thirty and working until five at night. Twenty seconds of film, several paintings, various pen-and-ink drawings and many storyboards came out of this eight month period during which Dali was an employee of Walt Disney Studios. He hinted in his own newsletter, Dali News, that the collaborative film effort would “offer to the world the first vision of ‘psychological relief’.”

Concept pieces for Destino by Dali

Concept pieces for Destino by Dali

Concept pieces for Destino by Dali

Concept pieces for Destino by Dali

Dali at work on one of the numerous
images used as a basis for

Destino is a six-minute film set to a Spanish song, devoid of dialogue and without a linear story line. It follows a dark-eyed ballerina on a journey among strange objects through a desert landscape in a dreamlike atmosphere. It is a love story as only Dali could envision it, complete with images of ballerinas, baseball players, melting clocks, tuxedo-clad eyeballs, ants that turn into bicyclists, and two giant heads carried on the backs of the Fates (represented as giant turtles.) The project was a collaboration between American animator Walt Disney and Spanish painter Salvador Dalí, and features music written by Mexican songwriter Armando Dominguez.

Salvador Dali at work at the Walt Disney Studio, circa 1946.

A Dali oil painting produced for Destino was later incorporated within the completed short.

Destino (the Spanish, Portuguese and Italian word for "destiny") was storyboarded by Disney studio artist John Hench and artist Salvador Dalí for eight months in late 1945 and 1946. Hench compiled a short animation test of about 18 seconds in the hopes of rekindling Disney's interest in the project, but the production was no longer deemed financially viable and put on indefinite hiatus.

Concept pieces for Destino by Dali

Concept pieces for Destino by Dali

Finished oil painting used for the film

Twenty two paintings and 135 story sketches into the project, Dali was asked to abandon Destino as a result of post-World War II changes and other studio commitments. It lay dormant for 57 years. In 1999, Walt Disney's nephew Roy Edward Disney, while working on Fantasia 2000, unearthed the dormant project and decided to bring it back to life. Roy instructed producer Baker Bloodworth and director Dominique Monfery to complete Dali’s short. They did so with the assistance of John Hench, (with a little help from the journals of Dalí's wife Gala Dalí) who along with Bob Cormack assisted Dali on the original project. The finished film unites Dali’s surrealist vocabulary to animation and includes five of Dali’s original paintings. The 18 second original footage that is included in the finished product is the segment with the two tortoises.

Another Dali oil painting to which animation of a baseball player and baseball were later added.

Though the faces are distorted, they resemble the image below.

I'm not sure if this is an actual Dali, as some of the elements do not resemble his style.

From the January 20, 2008 press release: Destino began in 1946 as a collaboration between Walt Disney and the famed surrealist painter Salvador Dali. A first-hand example of Disney's interest in avant garde and experimental work in animation, Destino was to be awash with Dali's iconic melting clocks, marching ants and floating eyeballs. However, Destino was not completed at that time. In 2003 it was rediscovered by Walt’s nephew, Roy E. Disney, who took on the challenge of bringing the creation of these two great artists to fruition. In addition to the completed Destino, this exciting addition to the Walt Disney Treasures line also includes an all-new feature-length documentary that examines the surprising partnership between Dali and Disney plus two new featurettes; "The Disney That Almost Was," an examination of the studio's unfinished projects; and "Encounters with Walt," which addresses the surprisingly diverse group of celebrities and artists who were attracted to Walt Disney's early work.

A finished conceptual oil painting done by Dali as inspiration for his Disney short Destino.

The Dali painting as it appears in the film -- with some digital elements used to extend the perimeter of his painting and with an animated figure and two prop elements.

A June 2008 press release for the Walt Disney Treasures line revealed Destino is now being excluded from a 2008 "Treasures" release. According to "Treasures" host Leonard Maltin, the film is still likely to see an eventual DVD release, yet not necessarily within the "Treasures" moniker. An August 2008 Disney press release stated Destino is now due for a 2010 DVD release and "will be available to own for the first time along with an all-new feature-length documentary that examines the surprising partnership between Dali and Disney."

Full version of Destino. The video's quality is not that great but the images are still beautiful.

Sources: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5


RJ said...
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RJ said...

Nice post. The painting of Dali and Walt Disney is by the great Todd Schorr.