Adventures of Ichabod & Mr Toad / Fun & Fancy Free Blu-ray Review

NOTE: This release is broken into segments to coincide with the Blu-ray.

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The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad
The movie begins in a library full of literary classics that is shared by many Disney animated features. First up is The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame and narrated by Basil Rathbone. It’s the tale of J. Thaddeus Toad, Esq or Mr. Toad as he is more widely known. He’s a wealthy adventurer, thrill seeker, and all around fun guy…er, toad. His only weakness is that he has the tendency to become manic over new fads he encounters. He lives in Toad Hall and is friends with Cyril Proudbottom (a horse), Angus MacBadger (a badger), Ratty (a water rat), and Moley (a mole). During one of his terrors through the countryside, he comes across a rare sight to see: a motorcar. This fuels him with a mania that he just has to have one, even if he has to steal it.

Next up is the American classic, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving and narrated by Bing Crosby. It’s the tale of the schoolmaster in the New York town named Ichabod Crane. He’s a very superstitious man who some might mistake for a rooster due to his walk and shape. He catches the eye of one of the most beautiful girls in town, Katrina van Tassel. The only problem is that there is another man in love with her named Brom Bones. He is not a scholar but a beefy bully and man’s man. At a party at the van Tassel home, Brom tells the tale of the Headless Horseman. The horseman rides through the hollow looking for heads of his victims to lop off and keep. Brom knows that this will scare Ichabod out of his skin on the long, dark ride home.

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Fun and Fancy Free
The movie opens with a party held by Edgar Bergen and with voice talents of Dinah Shore, the two segments are introduced. Also Jiminy Cricket from Pinocchio is in the opening segment during the party.

The first segment is called “Little Bear Bongo” by Sinclair Lewis. It’s about a circus bear named Bongo who wants to live out in the free world. He is an incredibly talented , happy bear who rides a unicycle to the public and is treated terribly while caged. So he breaks free and explores the woods. He then happens upon a female bear named Lulubelle and is instantly the two have a connection. But Bongo has a tough obstacle to face in the form of the giant and brutish bear named Lumpjaw. Hopefully he can win the affections of his new love over Lumpjaw.

The other segment is a retelling of the classic story Jack and the Beanstalk that stars Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy. It is narrated by Edgar Bergen accompanied with his signature ventriloquist dummies: Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd as he tells child star Luana Patten at her birthday party.

Mickey, Donald, and Goofy live in Happy Valley that was a lush and flourishing land until the singing golden harp was stolen. This created a desolated wasteland where no crops or food could be harvested. Before the trio decide to kill their cow friend, Mickey decided to trade her for magic beans. Overnight, a gigantic magical beanstalk grew high in the sky. Our heroes climb up the beanstalk to Willie the Giant’s castle to save the harp and happy valley.

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The movies are a part of the Walt Disney Classics Series and are called “package films”. This was where the studio would release a series of shorter movies in a combined rerelease. Fun and Fancy Free is 9th and Ichabod and Mr. Toad is the 11th animated film from the series. They are both excellent and I remember seeing them when I was a kid. I don’t know if I would say that they aren’t as “mainstream” as other films from the studio but they are not forgotten about. For years, the theme parks had the Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride where you could ride in a motor car through the English countryside as seen in the film.

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Ichabod and Mr. Toad
The transfer for both segments is a 1080p AVC that is the best this movie has looked. The quality of the art is beautiful and shows a lot of the detailing that has probably never been seen by the public before. The painted backgrounds bring a new depth that get some help from the resolution of Blu-ray. The quality of the film is decent but I will admit that there are some times that the images are a bit out of focus. The lines are sharp with bright and bold colors. This is especially seen in the Ichabod Crane segment with the brightly colored backgrounds that show the color changes for the emotion and fear that Ichabod is feeling. For the most part, the colors are consistent but they tend to fluctuate at times. I think the issues with the restoration probably stem from the quality of the source material. As it has been in previous restorations for the coloring and sharpness to fluctuate.

Ichabod and Mr. Toad
The movie Fun and Fancy Free has been transferred in the same 1080p AVC as the other movie. Being that the overall tone of this movie is brighter in general so the colors pop a bit more. This is a clean and beautiful restoration and what is interesting is this is the older film. Like the other movie, this does face the color being muddled in the darker scenes but there aren’t a lot of these dark scenes.

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Adventures of Ichabod & Mr Toad
Both segments from Ichabod Crane and Mr. Toad have a good amount of music. The audio mix is a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and it sounds good. The highs are very clean and the mix has the warmth of listening to a vinyl record. I think part of that is having Bing Crosby narrate and sing the Ichabod Crane half of the movie. At the same time, some of the problems with the mix are that there are little to no LFE use except lightly in songs. Again, it is possible that the source material had less deterioration or there were more copies of the movie available during the restoration.

Fun and Fancy Free
The audio track is a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 that sounds a lot better than the other film. The sound effects and the song themselves are a lot clearer and easier to distinguish. The musical reproduction and audio spacing surrounds is a high quality. The issue I heard while screening this is the musical scenes make the effects light in every speaker including the rear set. In both segments, most of the audio in whole is focused in the front speakers. This typically happens when taking a mono or stereo track and spreading the audio out from only the 1 or 2 to 5 speakers.

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The extras on the release are very few but its something that is special to the Disney Studios. Yes, it is the only supplement on the disc but it a good one. Plus, they put it in HD.

Bonus Features
Reluctant Dragon: This is a live action/cartoon that is a classic by any film standards. It’s a whole segment that shows how the folks at Disney go from the start of production to adding backgrounds to the final colorization of the cartoons. It really is considered to be a movie, being that it is 1:13long.

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Disc Details
1 Blu-ray Disc and 2 DVDs

Edition Ratings
Rated G

Region Code
Region Free

Video Resolution
1080p AVC MPEG-4

Audio Mixes
-Ichabod Crane and Mr. Toad
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Dolby Digital 2.0
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Mono 1.0

-Fun and Fancy Free
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Dolby Digital 2.0
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles
-Ichabod Crane and Mr. Toad

English
French
Spanish

-Fun and Fancy Free
English
French
Spanish

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At first glance, this may just look like a few movies that Disney has released that have no following but nothing could be further from the truth. These are 3 movies, including The Reluctant Dragon, that are staples in any Disney fan’s collection. They have all been restored to the best looking and sounding versions that are made for current home media equipment. The video has been nicely transferred, removing most of the scratches and specks from the film. Also, the audio is excellent considering the conversion from mono and stereo sources to surround sound mix. I would highly recommend picking up this release because these are definitely enjoyable family movies.

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Mr Toad cover

About the author

MEDIA JOURNALIST & STAFF WRITER | Michael is a fanatic about all cinema. He collects many things from movies to Steelbooks to 1/6 Scale Collectibles and vinyl collectibles. He loves pop culture, writing, reviewing films & collectibles, and journalism. Anything that is even slightly related to these things are always on his radar and most definitely a comic book nerd. He is also, of course, a Batman junkie and will chat it up about pretty much anything.