The Disney Princess Sleeping Beauty version of the movie that Disney created is by far the most popular version of the famous tale of Princess Aurora.
Let us look at the history of Disney Princess Sleeping Beauty and how she came alive for so many Disney Princess fans. This article does contain affiliate links, which means that if you decide to purchase anything, the owner of this website will get a small commission.
Disney Princess Sleeping Beauty
The Disney version of Sleeping Beauty is a 1959 American fantasy film. It was the 16th animated musical fantasy film produced by Walt Disney.
The Disney Princess Sleeping Beauty movie was based on the fairy tale written by Charles Perrault in 1697. It was released to theaters on the 29th of January 1959 and it featured the voices of Mary Costa, Eleanore Audley, Barbara Luddy, Berna Felton, Barbara Jo Allen, Bill Shirley, Bill Thompson and Taylor Holmes. It was directed by Les Clark, Eric Larson and Wolfgang Reitherman under the supervision of Clyde Geronimi.
The film’s musical score and songs were directed by George Burns and featured the work of Graunke Symphony Orchestra and were adaptations of numbers from the 1890 Sleeping Beauty Ballet by Pyotr Tchaikovsky.
The Disney Princess Sleeping Beauty was the first animated film to be photographed using the Super Technirama 70 Widescreen process as well as the second full-length animated feature film to be filmed in anamorphic widescreen following Disney’s Lady and The Tramp four years earlier.
In 2019, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being ‘culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.
The Sleeping Beauty Storyline
King Stefan and Queen Leah, who were childless before, welcome the birth of their daughter, the Princess Aurora. They proclaim a holiday for their subjects to pay homage to the princess, and at her christening she is betrothed to Prince Phillip, the son of King Stefan’s best friend King Hubert, in order to unite their kingdom’s.
The good fairies Flora, Fauna and Merryweather are among the guests and the christening, and after Flora and Fauna have blessed Aurora with beauty and song, Merryweather is interrupted by the arrival of the evil fairy Maleficent.
She was upset at not being invited to the Christening, so she puts a curse on the princess that before the sun sets on her sixteenth birthday, she will prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel and die.
The King and Queen beg the fairies to undo the curse, but they are not as powerful as Maleficent. Merryweather uses her blessing to weaken the curse so that instead of dying, the princess would merely fall into a deep sleep and the spell could be broken by true love’s kiss.
King Stefan orders all the spinning wheels throughout the kingdom to be burned. The King and Queen then reluctantly send Aurora to live with the fairies in a cottage in the forest to be safe.
Sixteen years later, Aurora, renamed Briar Rose, grows into a beautiful woman. On her sixteenth birthday, the fairies ask her to gather berries while they prepare a surprise party.
Aurora befriends the animals of the forest and sings them a song, Once Upon a Dream.
Phillip, now a handsome young prince, follows Aurora’s voice and is instantly struck by her beauty. She is initially frightened, as she is not allowed to talk to strangers, but she and Phillip fall in love, and she invites him to meet her family at the cottage that night.
Meanwhile, Flora and Merryweather argue over the color of Aurora’s gown, attracting the attention of Maleficent’s raven who learns of Aurora’s location.
Returning home, Aurora is thrilled to tell her guardians that she has fallen in love. The fairies finally tell Aurora that she is a princess, already betrothed to a prince, and she must never see the man she met again. Heartbroken, Aurora cries in her room. Phillip tells his father of the peasant girl he met and wishes to marry, in spite of his prearranged marriage. King Hubert fails to convince his son otherwise, leaving him equally devastated.
The fairies take Aurora to the castle to await her birthday celebrations, where she will finally meet her parents. Maleficent appears and lures Aurora into a dark tower away from the fairies, and tricks her into touching the spindle of a cursed spinning wheel.
Aurora pricks her finger, fulfilling the curse. The three fairies place the sleeping Aurora on a bed in the highest tower and place a powerful spell on all the people in the kingdom, causing them to sleep until the spell on their princess is broken.
Prince Phillip is abducted by Maleficent at the cottage. She reveals to Phillip the enchanted princess and her plan to lock him away for a century until he is on the verge of death, then release him to meet his love, who will not have aged a single day.
The fairies rescue Phillip, arming him with the magical Sword of Truth and the Shield of Virtue. An enraged Maleficent surrounds the castle with thorns but fails to stop Phillip. She teleports in front of him and transforms into a gigantic dragon.
They battle, and Phillip throws the sword, blessed by the fairies, directly into Maleficent’s heart, causing her to fall to her death.
Phillip awakens Aurora with a kiss, breaking the spell and waking the kingdom. The royal couple descends to the ballroom, where Aurora is reunited with her parents. Flora and Merryweather continue their argument over Aurora’s gown while the happy couple dances, living happily ever after.
Interesting Sleeping Beauty Facts You Did Not Know About:
- Walt Disney announced he was developing Sleeping Beauty in 1950 and writing began in 1951.
- Some of the elements in the story originated from discarded ideas from Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs.
- The part where Princess Aurora and Prince Phillip meet in the Forrest and dance was originally dropped from the film which resulted in the film being delayed and not released as planned in 1955.
- The name Aurora means dawn in Latin, and came from the original Tchaikovsky ballet.
- In hiding, she is called Briar Rose which is the name of the princess in the Brothers Grimm’s version of the tale.
- The Prince was the first Disney Prince to be named (after the Duke of Edinburgh). In Snow White and Cinderella, the princes were never named.
- Before the animation process began, a live-action version was filmed with live actors in costume, which served as models for the animators, as Walt Disney wanted the characters to appear as real as possible.
- Most of the melodies for the songs in Sleeping Beauty came from the Ballet.
- In the 2014 film Maleficent, the same theme song (Once Upon A Dream) was used, but it was made considerably darker and more dramatic.
- When Disney Princess Sleeping Beauty film was released in January 1959, it grossed approximately $5.3 million.
- The production costs amounted to $6 million which made it the most expensive Disney film up to that point and over twice as expensive as each of the preceding three Disney animated features (Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, and Lady and the Tramp.
- The high production costs, coupled with the under performance of much of the rest of Disney’s 1959 – 1960 release slate resulted in the company having its first annual loss in a decade for the fiscal year 1960. This resulted in massive lay-offs throughout the animation department.
- The critics picked up on the similarities with Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs. They also picked up that the princess looked a lot like Snow White too. She also had the same magical rapport with the little creatures in the woods. The three fairies could have also been sisters of the seven dwarfs.
Sleeping Beauty Memorabilia
Here are some beautiful Sleeping Beauty products which will make wonderful gifts, or even a great addition to your Disney collection. Simply click on the product you want to find out more about.