Fresh from the drawing boards of Disney studios steps a new generation of bewitching animals to be featured in a whimsical fantasy, "Bedknobs and Broomsticks.” The full-length animated musical comedy due to be released this summer, seeks to prove anew that family entertainment motion pictures can still be successful in today’s cinematic world and proves again that the magic that was Walt Disney did not come to an end with his death on December 15, 1966.
Like previous Disney films, "Bedknobs and Broomsticks” demands that the viewer surrender to “the willing suspension of disbelief,” according to the English poet Coleridge, if the maximum enjoyment in the picture is to be realized. Accept that attitude, the Disney people believe, and viewers should have no trouble allowing actress Angela Lansbury or actors Roddy McDowall, Sam Jaffe or David Tomlinson to meet on the screen with sports-minded lions or bears dressed in naval uniforms or wide-eyed vultures who serve as an ambulance team during soccer matches.
Who are these new animal personalities whose lineage includes Mickey Mouse, Pluto, Goofy, Snow White, Bambi, and all the other members of the Disney family tree? Well, first shake paws with His Royal Majesty Leonidus. He’s the lion king of the lost island of Naboombu and he is, to put it mildly, something else. He wears his crown jammed low over his forehead. He affects a tough-guy stare that bespeaks a belief in force over finesse, but even the children will be able to see through his front and recognize his pseudo bravado.