The Sword in the Stone: American Translatio and Disney’s Antimedievalism

  • Rob Gossedge
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


Neither Walt Disney nor his chief animators were particularly interested in making The Sword in the Stone. Initial reviews were lukewarm, its performance at the box office was lackluster, and most critics, yesterday and today, are dismissive of the film. Keith Booker calls it “one of the most obscure in the Disney animated canon”;1 Alan Lupack and Barbara Tepa Lupack see it as consisting of a “predictable pattern of chases and transformations”;2 Jerome Reel terms the film’s score as “workmanlike”;3 and Jerry Beck describes it as “one of Disney’s most forgettable features, a mild entertainment that bears little relation to the studio’s classic era.”4 As an adaptation of T. H. White’s 1938 novel of the same title, discussion has been limited: Raymond Thompson states that the film “borrows little from the book beyond the basic situation of the young Arthur, or Wart as he is known, learning valuable lessons about life while magically transformed into various creatures by his tutor, Merlin the Magician,”5 and Alice Grellner comments on how the film downplays or simply eliminates much of the novel’s “multifaceted, ambivalent, misogynistic, often contradictory, and darkly pessimistic view of human nature.”6


Brown Lemming Medieval Literature Animate Movie Traditional Story Disney Film 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Tison Pugh and Susan Aronstein 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rob Gossedge

There are no affiliations available

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