Toon Talk: Pollyanna Vault Disney 2-Disc DVD - Jun 6, 2002

Toon Talk: Pollyanna Vault Disney 2-Disc DVD
Page 2 of 4

pic1.jpg (26626 bytes)
(c) Disney

Bonus Features - Disc 1:

Audio Commentary:
Provided by director/screenwriter David Swift and Pollyanna herself, Hayley Mills.

The Top Ten Things We Learn From This Commentary:

  1. “As close to England as we could get!”: In the script, Pollyanna was raised in in the West Indies, in part to justify Mills’ British accent.
  2. Backstage Dirt, Part 1: Mills describes her young co-star Kevin Corcoran (Jimmy Bean) as a “funny little chap” prone to telling “rude stories”. Years later, she encountered him on the Disney lot, where he “hadn’t changed a bit, just a little taller.”
  3. “What a pro!”: Karl Malden came in two weeks prior to his contract to work on his character’s ‘fire and brimstone’ sermons.
  4. Reta Shaw (cook Mrs. Lagerlof), Mary Grace Canfield (maid Angelica), Jenny Egan (Mrs. Snow’s daughter Mildred) and Gage Clark (undertaker Mr. Murg) all appeared on Swift’s TV show, Mr. Peppers.
  5. Gratuitous Nudity: The little boy who skinny-dips at the beginning of the film was given a brand new shiny bicycle for his ‘nude scene’.
  6. Cameo Alert: In the first orphanage scene, Ward Kimball loaned some of his antique firefighting equipment to the production, and the fireman seen shooing a stray orphan off a ladder is played by Swift himself.
  7. Walt would often leave the dailies wiping tears from his eyes. He refused to cut any footage, thus the film’s two hour and twenty minute running time.
  8. Backstage Dirt, Part 2: Swift and Adolphe Menjou often clashed on the set.
  9. How Times Change: Mills comments on the vast differences at the Disney Studios between her first films there (Walt’s time) and her involvement with the Parent Trap TV sequels (Michael’s time).
  10. Swift was an original member of the Firehouse Five.

Animated Short:
Mickey and Minnie star in the perfect companion short to Pollyanna, The Nifty Nineties (1941). With a backdrop of a barbershop quartet-sung score featuring such American standards as “In the Good Ol’ Summertime” and “In the Month of May”, the superb character animation carries the story through pantomime and minimal dialogue. Keep an eye out for cameos by Disney stars both from ‘in front of’ (Goofy, Donald, Daisy, Huey, Dewey and Louie) and from ‘behind’ the ‘camera’ (the vaudeville act Fred & Ward are caricatures of animators Fred Moore and Ward Kimball). Another in-joke: on the theater curtain is an ad for ‘Walter D’s Hats That Please’. And for you completists out there, the “Father, Dear Father” slide show (depicting a little girl’s desperate attempts to stop her father’s drinking) has been reinstated.

pic2.jpg (22689 bytes)
(c) Disney

Bonus Features - Disc 2:

‘Pollyanna‘: The Making of a Masterpiece Featurette:
Or: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About ‘Pollyanna’ But Were Ashamed To Ask. Let’s face it; it’s tough being a Pollyanna fan (especially if you’re a thirtysomething male). The pop culture stigma of the term ‘Pollyanna’ is brilliantly addressed here, most candidly by Walt Disney himself in a Wonderful World of Color intro (seen in full in the Lost Treasures segment):

“(A ‘Pollyanna’ is) somebody who is so ever-lastingly optimistic, sunny and cheerful, that you can’t stand it.”

Swift and Mills are joined here by actors Kevin Corcoran and Nancy Olson (Nancy Furman), Roy E. Disney and film historians Les Perkins and Stacia Martin (her contributions to these features are invaluable as you delve farther into them). Amidst the rare production footage and on-the-set photographs, Mills recounts the anecdote of how her father, John Mills (of Swiss Family Robinson fame) whipped her into shape on her first day of filming by calling her a ‘big white cabbage’.

Recreating Pollyanna’s America Featurette:
Aiming at a recreating the ‘grandeur of turn-of-the-century small town America’, this segment focuses on the production aspects of Pollyanna, from adapting the original source novel to the creation of the huge, ornately appointed sets for the film.

Pollyanna is not the type of film one would expect visual effects to play a huge part in, but prolific Disney matte artist Peter Ellenshaw’s work was on display here as well. When location scouting in Santa Rosa, California (just north and farther inland from San Francisco), Swift and his designers were able to find all of the Victorian house needed except one: Polly Herrington’s stately, three-story mansion. They were able to locate a suitable two-story abode, so Ellenshaw provided the third story through moviemaking magic.

1912! Featurette:
Take in an old-fashioned ‘flickers’ show, complete with nickelodeon music, and revisit a time when “everyone wore hats” and “feathers (and) flowers were big”. Vintage black-and-white stock footage is intercut with corresponding scenes from Pollyanna. All in fun, but wouldn’t it have been neat to see a montage of scenes from Disney period films, such as The Happiest Millionaire, Summer Magic, et al?

Lost Treasures:
When Pollyanna made its television debut on The Wonderful World of Color in 1963, Walt Disney provided introductions to each of the three parts. Here is that original footage (not seen since their original airings) which, played subsequently as they are here, offer an unintentional laugh as Walt keeps pulling out and putting back the Pollyanna book from his bookcase. Offers a chance to here another “Pollyanna Song” (different from the Hayley Mills ditty heard later) that one is forever grateful for not having in the final film.