92% Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes Jul 11
100% Boyhood Jul 11
9% Rage Jul 11
18% A Long Way Down Jul 11
—— The Class Of '92 Jul 08

Top Box Office

18% Transformers: Age of Extinction $37.1M
23% Tammy $21.6M
85% 22 Jump Street $9.8M
30% Deliver Us from Evil $9.7M
92% How to Train Your Dragon 2 $9.0M
48% Earth to Echo $8.4M
49% Maleficent $6.2M
54% Jersey Boys $5.2M
24% Think Like a Man Too $4.9M
90% Edge of Tomorrow $3.7M

Coming Soon

—— The Purge: Anarchy Jul 18
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—— Hercules Jul 25
—— Lucy Jul 25
—— Guardians of the Galaxy Aug 01

Premieres Tonight

—— The Almighty Johnsons: Season 3
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61% Crossbones: Season 1
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—— The Legend of Korra: Season 3

Discuss Last Night's Shows

25% Black Box: Season 1
100% Defiance: Season 2
40% Dominion: Season 1
41% Gang Related: Season 1
86% Maron: Season 2
94% Rectify: Season 2
—— Rookie Blue: Season 5
88% Welcome to Sweden: Season 1
44% Working the Engels: Season 1

The Reluctant Dragon (A Day at Disneys) (Behind the Scenes at Walt Disney Studio) Reviews

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Spencer S

Super Reviewer

October 9, 2013
So...I found out that this film exists; for some reason. It's not why the film actually exists that bugs me, because it works well as an educational tool for the general public, and shows us what happens at the Disney animation studios. No, what remains baffling is why they chose to make the film in this way. It could have been a quick documentary, but instead they decided to slap together a mélange of several different shorts, live-action footage, and a weird ending that supposedly remains the eponymous start to the film. It's just an odd kind of gem that Disney can still look to now that their projects are becoming less innocent over time. The film starts with radio personality Robert Benchley and his wife discussing a book their nephew wrote, which she wants to be made into an animated short. Benchley doesn't want to, but is forced into taking a meeting with Walt Disney himself. While being rallied around the studio by a Nazi youth looking assistant, Benchley slips away and explores the studio himself. We get to see different frames being put together to make a film, much like a flip book, sound effects for a short about a train, the coloring for another with Daffy Duck, (which includes voice actor Clarence Nash in all his splendor) and another short with Goofy. Benchley is always in wonder when he sees something new, and though most of the technology is dumbed down for the audience, and the environment is definitely more family friendly than in reality, it was nice to see these forties' staples onscreen. The ending contains the short, which was made while Benchley was supposedly wandering around the studio for forty minutes. The short itself is horrible. The dragon is an effeminate stereotype of a fop, who doesn't want to fight, yet pretends to with a knight so the knight can seem powerful, and all the villagers will think the dragon is tamed. Nothing entertaining about it, and the insensitivity exhibited by Disney yet again was not appreciated. Otherwise it's a cute little movie about the wonders of animation, which even kids nowadays can watch with a sense of wonder.
Anthony V

Super Reviewer

July 22, 2008
A fascinating behind the scenes look at some of the animators from Disney's Golden Age.
February 25, 2010
The Reluctant Dragon offers film lovers an interesting glimpse behind the scenes at the Disney studio, but we are left wanting more. Maybe that is the point! (First and only viewing - In my mid-twenties)
October 14, 2008
Robert Benchley is the main character, so this instantly is a fine film. And it does achieve its objective, which is to educate the viewer as to how animation films were produced at the Walt Disney Studios during the golden age. The film shows stages of Dumbo and Bambi which were currently in production.
The film is very vintage, though, and I gave myself the challenge of making three kids sit through this. One became extremely restless about 2/3 into it, but eventually we all made it to the finish. It's a great "forgotten" Disney animation feature you might surprise the family with one evening.
June 9, 2013
A very entertaining look at Disney animation and how the studio used to work to create their animated shorts.
October 28, 2013
Heard it was horrible.
Thomas P.
June 14, 2013
It's a very cute short.
March 9, 2013
Disney must have lost his inspiration. Reluctant Dragon is uninspired, filled with annoying characters, and lack's the signature Disney magic present at the era of its creation.
February 20, 2013
Sort of Approximately How Disney Movies Happen

When I first saw this, long ago on the Disney Channel, I had no idea who Robert Benchley was. I rather assumed that it was kind of a Levar Burton thing--there are plenty of episodes of [i]Reading Rainbow[/i] where he seems to know everyone. I mean, it was believable when he was on the set of [i]Star Trek: The Next Generation[/i], or anyway believable enough to be getting on with, but no matter where he went, everyone knew him. I couldn't understand why some random schmoe would be able to get an appointment with Walt Disney and wander all over the lot. I mean, people knew his name before he walked into the room, and that didn't make any sense. I confess that it is only with the advent of the DVD, and therefore the special feature, that I have begun to have even the slightest idea who he was. While he did do plenty of features, he also made a lot of shorts. And indeed, to my sudden realization and delight, many of the shorts he made were of the "how to" variety, explaining why the animators showed him the first version of said type starring Goofy, "How to Ride a Horse." Which I also loved when I was a kid.

Robert Benchley is playing himself. One day, a woman playing his wife (Nana Bryant) reads him a children's book and insists that they need to sell it to Disney so that Disney can make a movie and the Benchleys can, presumably, make money for brokering the deal. (Clearly, she doesn't understand how the whole thing works.) She drops Benchley off at the Walt Disney Studios. To his astonishment (and, again, mine when I was nine), he's told to come right in and talk to Walt. He is given a guide, the tedious Humphrey (Buddy Pepper), who gives him a running lecture. Benchley, bored by this, skips out on it and goes off to watch a life drawing class. Turns out they aren't drawing a girl; they're drawing an elephant. But that's okay; the instructor recognizes him and lets him sit in. He meets Doris (Frances Gifford), who works in the Ink and Paint Department. She shows him around the studio, where he sees how animated cartoons are really made. There's storyboards, animation, ink and paint, scoring, and on and on. He doesn't see everything in order, but he does see, beginning to end, how cartoons are made.

Oh, it's still silly. Robert Benchley wasn't exactly Orson Welles or Alfred Hitchcock. Not even Humphrey Bogart. The odds that he would be able to walk right onto the Disney lot and see Walt? Slim at best. This was before the war, before Disney became quite as big as it would, but still. Walt was a busy guy. Arguably, he was busier in those days, because they couldn't afford people for him to delegate to. However, whatever, it worked for the purposes of the film. And after all, he was a bigger name than Alan Ladd--or whatever animator Alan Ladd was playing in this movie. Some of the people in the picture are real Disney employees, among them Ward Kimball and Clarence Nash. Others are actors. Since most of the people in the movie are uncredited beyond "The Staff of the Walt Disney Studio," it is difficult to say whether half the random people wandering about the studio are real Disney employees or real extras. Still, silly and full of actors as it may be, it's not a completely inaccurate portrayal of how animated cartoons get made.

This, contrary to what most people believe, is actually the first feature-length live-action release from the Disney studio, or anyway mostly live-action. This is well before poor Wilby Daniels had his problems with that Borgia ring in [i]The Shaggy Dog[/i] or Ned Brainard invented Flubber in [i]The Absent-Minded Professor[/i]. Yes, there's a Goofy short, the storyboard to another cartoon ("Baby Weems"), and of course the title short of "The Reluctant Dragon." There's even a brief clip of Donald demonstrating how you animate cartoons. However, there was at least as much live action as there was animation. Heck, they even hauled out Technicolor cameras, the better to demonstrate the wonder of Disney animation. Yeah, it's got a bit of a [i]Wizard of Oz[/i] vibe, in that it starts in B&W and shifts to colour when we see that giant multiplane camera, but Disney Is Magic. That's how Donald is able to lecture Benchley while they're just taking pictures of his cels. The multiplane camera doesn't get much of an explanation, but it's enough to know that Disney is showing us something that no other studio has.

Really, that's probably why the whole thing got made. People want to watch cartoons get made, and it's actually kind of a boring process. One of the animators (I think it's actually Ward Kimball!) references the first hundred thousand drawings, and it's true that I don't even want to contemplate how many drawings Ward did over the course of his career. By putting the whole thing into a movie, Walt was able to show audiences every step of the process, from art class to maquette, from pencil sketch to cel, from ink and paint to camera. We see foley, score, and voice recording. We see the brainstorming it takes before you can have a cartoon to animate. This is the whole of the process in a little under an hour and a half. The Disney Studios were not the only name in the animation game, even then--if you read [i]Chuck Amuck[/i], you can see how the Warners crew were helping the Disney animators in their strike at the exact time this film was released--but there was always something different about the studios. This isn't even the first animated/live-action cross to show the inside of a studio; Daffy Duck and Porky Pig met Leon Schelsinger once. However, it's not surprising that Walt's version was better and more informative.
January 16, 2012
Even though some shorts are boring and it feels like a package film, the Reluctant Dragon is a great documentary that features fascinating behind the scenes look of Disney animators of the time and the stages of production of classic films like Dumbo and Bambi are magnificent and very interesting to look at.
September 9, 2011
A wonderful look inside Disney studios during the early 40's.. the finale cartoon, "The Reluctant Dragon' was boring to me though.
May 21, 2011
This is old school, Hell this pre-dates schools I think. The dragon is a bit too soft to be a dragon but he's got a friend on hand to sort him out. Lame, even as a kid I hated this.
Jim E.
December 4, 2010
A Disney movie unlike any other. It's delightful, funny, and supremely interesting. If you ever have the opportunity to see it, make sure you do. There are several beautiful animated short films weaved into the lighthearted live-action frame story.

As a work of art, this film is far from perfect, but it's just such a fascinating and entertaining experience that I'm rating it 100%.
Theresa D.
August 26, 2010
The Reluctant Dragon is an absolutely fantastic movie. A very tongue-in-cheek story about a dragon who is all about poetry, music, and high tea instead of scourging the countryside. A young boy hears there is a dragon that needs to be slayed and he says he'll have a look at him and finds him to be a friendly dragon that does not wish to fight. Next comes Sir Giles, a famous but somewhat elderly knight who is also prone to poetry and tea. This is a completely charming movie with humor of all levels, many of which are way above the heads of children. Adults will find this a great movie. The titles are also fantastic. The movie is being released May 12, 2009 on DVD. I only hope that the much shorter cartoon movie included on the VHS, Morris the Midget Moose, is included on the DVD as well. It, too, is a great little movie all its own. Two thumbs, 10 toes all up. And a rack of antlers as well.
Mickey Cat At The Movies
August 26, 2010
I remember enjoying the classic when I was a kid. :)
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