Original Production Animation Cels of Mad Madam Mim and Merlin from "The Sword In The Stone," 1963
Original hand painted production animation cels of Mad Madam Mim in Rattlesnake form and Merlin in Mouse form from "The Sword In The Stone," 1963, Walt Disney Studios; Set on a lithographic background; Production number in ink lower right corners; Size - Madam Mim & Merlin: 8 x 11 1/2", Image 10 x 15 1/4"; Unframed.
"The Sword in the Stone," 1963 is the 18th full length feature film produced by Walt Disney and it was released on December 25, 1963 by Buena Vista Distribution. The film was based on the novel of the same name, that was first published in 1938. It was later republished in 1958 as the first book of T. H. White's tetralogy "The Once and Future King." It was to be the final Disney animated film released before Walt Disney's death on December 15, 1966. The songs in the film were written and composed by the Sherman Brothers, who would become very famous for their future work on later Disney films including; "Mary Poppins," 1964, "The Jungle Book," 1967, and "Bedknobs and Broomsticks," 1971.
Merlin is a very powerful wizard with a pet owl named Archimedes. He befriends and becomes the teacher of a 12-year old orphan named Arthur, who goes by the name of Wart. Merlin is first seen living in a forest cottage, and he believes in the philosophy of "Brain over Brawn." As a wizard, he is very intelligent, has a wide variety of powers, and is considered the most powerful wizard in the world. He has the ability to see into the future, and has the ability to shape-shift. Merlin was animated by Milt Kahl, Frank Thomas, and Ollie Johnston; and voiced by Karl Swenson who was an American theater, radio, film, and television actor.
Madam Mim was the villain in the film and was voiced by Martha Wentworth, a veteran actress with a long radio history dating back to the 1920's. She was the voice of several Disney characters in "101 Dalmatians" including Nanny; and Mim was her final credited role. Madam Mim was animated by two of Disney's greatest animators Milt Kahl (who also designed the character, refining storyboard sketches from animator Bill Peet), and Frank Thomas. Kahl animated her first appearance in the film, her initial interaction with Arthur; while Frank Thomas oversaw her famous "Wizards' Duel" with Merlin.
Although Mim claims to be more powerful than Merlin, during her opening scene she does only minor tricks. When Merlin stops her from attacking Arthur she challenges him to a Wizard's duel which involves mutating into various forms in order to best your opponent. She states that she is "mad for games," and lays out the rules for her duel with Merlin.
MADAM MIM: "Now, rule one, no mineral or vegetable. Only animal. Rule two, no make-believe things like, pink dragons and stuff. Now, rule three, no disappearing."
MERLIN: "Rule four, no cheating."
MADAM MIM: "All right, all right."
At the very start of the duel, Mim breaks her own rule by disappearing and proves she can not be trusted. During the battle, Mim's incredible shape shifting abilities almost give her the upper hand against Merlin. Merlin transforms himself into various blue forms including: a turtle, rabbit, rooster, elephant, tiger, crab, and a goat. Mim turned herself into: an alligator, fox, hen, elephant, tiger, rattlesnake, and a rhinoceros, all of which were colored pink and finally into an ugly, purple, fire-breathing dragon. She then asks Merlin (knowing that her rule stated no Pink Dragons), "Did I say no purple Dragons?" However, Merlin outsmarts her by transforming into a fictional germ called "Malignalitaloptereosis" that infects her with a chickenpox-like disease complete with red spots and a fever; effectively defeating her and illustrating the importance of knowledge over strength.
This is a two cel setup of Mad Madam Mim in Rattlesnake form and Merlin in Mouse form. The Mim in Rattlesnake form is spectacular as she has her green eyes open and her red forked tongue is sticking out. She is a large image and composed of pink and purple forms. Merlin as a Mouse is also great; he is eyes open, full figure, and holding onto the back of Mim's rattle tipped snake's tail. A rare and wonderful two cel setup from one of the most memorable scenes in the entire film! A great addition to any animation art collection.
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