The Reluctant Dragon (1941 film)

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The Reluctant Dragon is a 1941 American live action and animated film produced by Walt Disney, directed by Alfred Werker, and released by RKO Radio Pictures on June 20, 1941. Essentially a tour of the then-new Walt Disney Studios facility in Burbank, California, the film stars radio comedian Robert Benchley and many Disney staffers such as Ward Kimball, Fred Moore, Norman Ferguson, Clarence Nash, and Walt Disney, all as themselves.

The big feature show with a thousand surprises! (taglines)

The Dragon[edit]

  • Well, that's splendid!
  • I promise not to rant or roar, and scourge the countryside anymore!

Sir Giles[edit]

  • Radish so red. Radish so red. Plucked from the heart of your warm little bed. Sprinkled with salt on the top of your head. [eats radish] Delicious.

Dialogue[edit]

[first lines of the film]
Mrs. Benchley: [first line of the film; reading] "So they set off up the hill, arm in arm, the knight, the dragon, and the boy. The lights in the little village began to go out one by one." [is interrupted by a toy rifle going off] "But there were stars and a late moon as they climbed the downs together." [toy rifle again] Robert, please.
[The scene pan to Robert Benchley lying on a raft in the pool, with the toy rifle]
Robert Benchley: Go on, I can hear in any position. [shoots a dart at a duck decoy in the pool]
Mrs. Benchley: [continues reading] "And as they turned the last corner and disappeared from view, snatches of an old song were borne back on the night breeze. I can't be certain which of them was singing, but I think it was the dragon."
Robert Benchley: Go on, I'm listening.
Mrs. Benchley: That was the end, and a very lovely end, too.
Robert Benchley: Yeah, charming, charming. It's funny. No matter which way I aim, I always hit the same duck.
Mrs. Benchley: Robert, I have a wonderful idea. We'll sell this book to Walt Disney.
Robert Benchley: Well, you can't. It belongs to your nephew. [looks at rifle] So does this, too. I wonder what he'd take for it.
Mrs. Benchley: I mean the idea, for a movie. I'm sure if you went to his studio and suggested it to him, he'd jump at it.
Robert Benchley: Me suggest a story to Walt Disney? Why, I hardly know him.
Mrs. Benchley: Well, you hardly knew me when you suggested marriage.
Robert Benchley: Yeah, look at the trouble I got into. He can't listen to every crackpot with a wild idea.
Mrs. Benchley: You might be the exception. All you would have to do would be to go to his studio and show him the book.
Robert Benchley: I wouldn't dream of it!
Mrs. Benchley: They're always open to new ideas. Get your things on, and stop shilly-shallying.
Robert Benchley: [stands up on raft] I am not shillying and I am not shallying. But once and for all, I will not go to the studio. I will not make myself look ridiculous. [falls through and bubbles come out of his mouth] And that's final.

Doris: [holding up a cel of Bambi in front of her] Like it?
Robert Benchley: I'd be all right if you could get that reindeer out of the way.
Doris: I'll see if I can scare up the background that goes with it.
Robert Benchley: Nothing wrong with the one I just saw.
[A man hands her a painting]
Doris: Thanks. This is his background. He fits right on top of it, like this. There.
Robert Benchley: And very cunning, too. I'd like to take him home with me.
[Bambi suddenly comes to life and hides behind a rock in the background]
Robert Benchley: What do you know? He took me seriously.

[Benchley is watching a camera man shooting cels of Donald Duck]
Robert Benchley: Yeah, but he still doesn't move.
Donald Duck: Just a minute, big boy. Give me time, give me time!
[Benchley laughs in astonishment]
Donald Duck: Look, I'll show ya. I'll show ya. Now look. First my foot is up here, see?
Robert Benchley: Uh-huh.
Donald Duck: Then, it's down here, understand?
Robert Benchley: Now I get it.
Donald Duck: Like this...
Robert Benchley: Yeah.
Donald Duck: And this...
Robert Benchley: I see.
Donald Duck: And that. See?
Robert Benchley: Sure.
Donald Duck: When I do it faster, I'm walking. Get it?
Robert Benchley: Yeah, certainly.

[After watching a sound effects recording session for a cartoon train]
Doris: How did you like it?
Robert Benchley: Oh, fine, fine. Only after all, wouldn't it be a lot easier just to wreck a real train?

Nurse: You're a quiet little fellow, aren't you?
Baby Weems: Well, there really isn't much to talk about.
Nurse: He talks!
Baby Weems: Why? Is it against the rules?
Nurse: Oh, Doctor! [faints]

The Boy: Sir Giles, I presume?
Sir Giles: Come, come, come, come, lad. Stop mumbling.
The Boy: I came to talk about the dragon.
Sir Giles: Ah, yes, yes, yes. Another tale of woe and misery, I suppose. Devoured your flocks, no doubt.
The Boy: Oh, no, sir. He...
Sir Giles: Aha! Made off with your loving parents, has he? Well, they shall be avenged!
The Boy: But you don't understand...
Sir Giles: What? Don't tell me he's kidnapped some fair damsel, with flaxen hair, and ruby lips, and form divine? Why, he can't do that to her! He shall pay dearly on the field of battle.
The Boy: But that's just it. He won't fight.
Sir Giles: Yes. He... He won't fight? Preposterous! The fellow must be an infernal cad. Bit of a rotter, what?
The Boy: He is not. He's a nice old dragon who likes to write poetry.
Sir Giles: Poetry?
The Boy: Yes. You know, verses?
Sir Giles: How jolly! Ha ha! I'm a bit of a bard myself, you know.
The Boy: You a poet, too?
Sir Giles: Yes. No doubt you've heard of my Ode to a Fleecy Cloud?
The Boy: Well, I...
Sir Giles: Oh fleecy cloud, O cloud of fleece, up in the sky so high... Oh. Oh, my.
The Boy: Oh, my.

The Dragon: ♪ Sweet little upside-down cake ♪
♪ Cares and woes, you've got'em ♪
♪ Poor little upside-down cake ♪
♪ Your top is on your bottom ♪
♪ Alas, little upside-down cake ♪
♪ Your troubles never stop ♪
♪ Because, little upside-down cake ♪
♪ Your bottom's on your top. ♪

The Boy: Have you had any nice battles lately?
The Dragon: Battles? Oh, no, no, no battles. No.
The Boy: Oh. Oh, probably too busy scourging the countryside and devouring fair damsels, then.
The Dragon: Scourging? Devouring? Good heavens, no.
The Boy: But don't you ever do anything desperate?
The Dragon: Well, yes, I... I do make up poetry.
The Boy: Poetry?
The Dragon: Verses, you know? Care to hear my latest sonnet?
The Boy: Well, I...
The Dragon: Oh, you'll love this. I call it, "Just A-Drifting". ♪ Just a-drifting o'er the leaves ♪
♪ Like a dewdrop, fancy free, ♪
♪ Playing with the gentle breezes, ♪
♪ Romping with the bumble beezes. ♪
♪ Oh, what fun! Joy never ceases, ♪
♪ Just a-drifting. ♪

The Boy: Do you mind if I recite a poem?
The Dragon: You, boy? Why, well, oh, not at all!
Sir Giles: Oh, of course, of course. Rather, rather!
The Boy: 'Tis evening from the stars above, A soft mysterious light brings thoughts of friendship, joy and love. [shouts] Now how 'bout that fight?

Sir Giles: Uh, the time has come, you know.
The Dragon: [clapping excitedly] You mean... I die now?
Sir Giles: Oh yes indeed. As per-agreed, we'll seal our pact, old thing. [placing the lance under the Dragon's arm] Take that!

[last lines of the film]
Mrs. Benchley: So while you were shilly-shallying, they made the picture. I never knew it to fail. In all the years that I've known you, you've always been too late. Really, Robert, I can't understand why you're forever letting these opportunities slip through your fingers. Anyone would've thought of it in time, months ago. But you... [sighs]
Mrs. Benchley: Well, why don't you say something?
Robert Benchley: [last line of the film; as Donald Duck] Aw, phooey! [quacking furiously] Phooey!

Taglines[edit]

  • The big feature show with a thousand surprises!
  • A NEW WORLD OF WALT DISNEY WONDERS! (original print media ad - all caps)
  • Walt Disney's AMAZING, NEW FULL-LENGTH FEATURE PRODUCTION (original print media ad - many caps)
  • Sequences in MULTIPLANE TECHNICOLOR (original print media ad - many caps)

External links[edit]