The 1940 film “Pinocchio” is capturing people’s attention once again due to it’s ageless elements that make it one of Disney’s greatest animated films ever produced! Its innovative sound techniques is second to none, grabbing the ears of audiences all ages. The story of the wooden boy displays the idea of staying true to yourself and have your conscious navigate you through life. As the idea of another World War beckoned and unemployment still astonishingly high in the United States, people turned to “Pinocchio” as escape from the boundless depression that draped over the country. “Pinocchio” does not only echo American ideals, it enforces them, creating a motion picture that no one could take their eyes off of.
The movie begins with Jiminy Crickets who ironically a cricket, that introduced the audience of a time he traveled to a small quiet village with everyone stode away for the night except for one man. Mister Geppetto, was a woodcarver that worked late nights making his detailed woodcarvings with his cat Figaro and fish Cleo. His shop was decorated in wooden clocks, antiques, and a new creation, one that changed Geppetto’s life forever. He called him Pinocchio, the four stringed marionette had a special place in Geppetto’s heart, he dreamed of having a real boy in his life and Pinocchio was the figure that made his dream into a reality. One night when Mister Geppetto along with Figaro and Cleo were headed to bed. Mister Geppetto asked for Figaro to open the bedroom window. While the window was opened a star streamed across the sky, Geppetto witnessed the star and wished to for Pinocchio to be a real boy. After Geppetto snuggled himself in for the night, The Blue Fairy flew gently into Geppetto’s room granting his wish of Pinocchio becoming a “real” boy. Drawn by her beauty Jiminy Cricket couldn’t resist but get involved in what The Blue Fairy was doing. She noticed the humor, wit, and confidence of Jiminy and granted him the honor of being Pinocchio’s conscious, telling him right from wrong. As the night dragged on the commotion created from Jiminy and Pinocchio getting to know eachother woke Mister Geppetto to the best surprise the could have asked for. He was ecstatic to see wooden Pinocchio walking and talking. They joyfully danced all night with no care in the world.
Morning hit and it was time for Pinocchio to go to school so he could learn to be a real boy. On the way a fox, claiming his name to be Mr. Honest, intercepted Pinocchio and persuaded him to join a Marionette show hosted by “The Great Stromboli” also known as Mangiafuoco in hope of showcasing the first stringless Marionette. Jiminy Crickets caught word of Pinocchio starring in this event and as his conscious advised him to not go and head to school instead. Pinocchio ignored Jiminy and attended the show becoming a huge hit and delivered Mr. Stromboli more money than he ever imagined. After the show Mr. Stromboli explained to Pinocchio how he will showcase him in every village to create a fortune then eventually burn his wooden bones as his fame dissolves. He kept him locked away in a cage in the back of his covered wagon. Jiminy sad but happy for Pinocchio went to congratulate him in his wagon. As he entered the steel wheeled rig he saw Pinocchio in trouble, doing everything possible to break him out, Jiminy couldn’t. The Blue Fairy that created Pinocchio shortly appeared asking Pinocchio what he got himself into. Pinocchio lied about the events that occurred and his nose began to grow continuously with each lie until the fairy told him “ A lie keeps growing and growing until it’s as plain as the nose on your face.” She told Pinocchio never to lie again and broke him out of the cage.
Mr. Honest looking for more ways of gathering dirty money encountered a large man named, The Coachman, who was looking for troubled kids to take to a place he called “Pleasure Island.” Mr. Honest went to find Pinocchio again and did. He told him he had a flu and need to get treated at Pleasure Island. On the way to the Pleasure Island Pinocchio met a friend named, Candlewick, who took Pinocchio down the wrong path. At Pleasure Island the two did whatever they wanted and enjoyed every moment of it. Jiminy again comes to the rescue as he discovered the people who attend Pleasure Island, turned into donkeys (Jackasses) as a result of The Coachman believing that it was the punishment the troubled kids deserved. Jiminy Crickets was able to save Pinocchio and the two went on an epic search to find Mister Geppetto who has been looking for Pinocchio since he left. In the end Pinocchio truly discovers what it takes to be a real boy by staying true to himself and following his conscious.
The film was very well developed when it comes to sound during its time considering it was one of the first animated films ever produced. An qualities that pushed it far ahead of its time was the audio’s ability to be very in rhythm with the characters physical actions, mouth movements, and dismal details making this film such high quality. There is a substantial amount of scenes showing these great qualities. For example, when Pinocchio and Jiminy Crickets are diving underwater in search for Mister Geppetto they have the voices tampered with to give the illusion of speaking underwater to sound muffled and electronic is a way and the sound effects of the bubbles popping and fish swimming away gave the film a realistic element. For this is be so precisely executed during its time it made the film unquestionably a work of art that everyone admired and would be soon having producers and studios adapting these well preformed techniques and would prolong for years to come.
This masterpiece fits into many genres, but the one that stands out most significantly is animation. Pinocchio would obviously not be such a memorable film without its creative and artistic elements used to by Disney to develop a near perfect story line. It being animation lures the younger audiences and by doing so it teaches the key principles of life, making them more informed at a younger age, helping them discover the true hardships of life, and it also brought a lot of attention to the older show-goers with its adult-like behaviors that are displayed. For an animation film to have all these characteristics and to have a such a mighty message, it really shows how powerful just a genre can be even with it being a cartoon and being only Disney’s second animated film.
Even Though the the unemployment rate wasn’t at it’s peak in 1940, it was still hovering around 18% which pushed people to question whether the Government was serving its citizens as well as it should be. With many unemployed people (mostly Men) turned to a life of crime to provide for themselves and their families. The release of Pinocchio helped reinstall key American values that were covered by the Great Depression. Along with the failing economy, the American people were introduced with a new World War taking place in Europe. This had many people on edge due to the unpopular decision made less than 30 years before, with the U.S. involvement of the First World War. “Pinocchio” delivers an idea that there will be hard times in life, but perseverance is key to one’s success.
The production of Pinocchio was marvelous, it created a safe haven for children and adults in a time of confusion and despair. It touches on key values that you have to stay true to yourself and use your conscious as a guide throughout your life. So stop wasting time and go enjoy the truly amazing Walt Disney’s classic known as Pinocchio!
Article by Tyler Salcido and Zane Alaywan
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