Reading Film (Fall 2011)

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Adapting Three Little Pigs

September 7th, 2011 by Kevin L. Ferguson · 11 Comments · Prof Ferguson, ¶4 Bazin

Clearly the Disney version of “Three Little Pigs” was different in important ways from the fairy tale we read. What parts of the Disney adaption would you call “grammatical idiosyncracies” of the Disney version, and what would you call the “style of the original”? Post in the comments box below.


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11 Comments so far ↓

  • Roberto Rodriguez

    I think that some grammatical idiosyncracies that can be found in the Disney adaptation is that it tends to favor the younger audience more than everyone else. Usually Disney versions tend to have a lot of singing and dancing involved and usually the antagonist doesn’t die and instead learns it’s lesson. The style of the original three little pigs would be darker and the moral of the story is more implied than in the Disney version where the happy ending is more of a given than a result.

    • Kevin L. Ferguson

      Good point–maybe this is actually two adaptations jammed together: one an adaption of the fairy tale, and the other an adaption of typical Disney animated musicals? Put another way–maybe we shouldn’t assume there is only one thing being adapted here.

  • Tom Schalk

    Disney is known for making his content enjoyable for all ages. If the animation followed exactly how the original story did, kids would be slightly disturbed. That will explain the singing and the lighter tone of the story.

    Also, when the wolf reaches the third house, is he dressed as a stereotypical Jewish person? I’m not being racist/antisemitic or anything, but the 30’s have been known for it’s lack of censorship concerning stereotypes (such as the famous “black face”). So I was just saying that may have contributed, not to mention that Walt Disney was rumored to be biased against Jewish people.

    • Kevin L. Ferguson

      There are different versions of the cartoon that differ depending on the scene Tom is talking about (also the initial credits are changed). The one we saw from youtube showed what I think is the original 1933 animation. Sometime in the 1940s Disney changed the animation (had something to do with WWII?). I’m not 100% sure, but there might be a third version with changed dialogue. There’s lots of stuff about it online, but who knows if it’s true. . . but one way to connect this with the topic of adaptation is to pay attention to the time period when these changes were made–the Great Depression versus World War II. That would certainly influence the “style” of the film.
      Here’s a version with different animation (around 6:20): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zEunxzlC5Yg .

  • Natalie Bernabe

    It is definitely true that the Disney version does have a lot of singing, and dancing, compared to the grimm despair of the little pigs in the fairytale story. Although it is directed more towards children, it still had a message to the adults, since this was during the time of the depression; to presevere during hard times. While the reading was more obvious of the consequences of being selfish and greedy, the Disney version lightened the tone by having them scared, but not terrified for their lives(as in the story). It was interesting that they kept going to the house of the pig next over, instead of going to the wolve’s den, where they were sure to get slaughtered (again, lifting the tone).

  • Daniel Min

    Audience of all ages that have some ethical idea by relating with characters who most likely possess hardworking, humble and honorable traits such as Blackey, is what I would consider it to be a “style”.
    Disney’s “style” of using the hardworking pig to disclose such significant message is a great example to represent their “grammatical idiosyncracies” of dispensing morally inclined programs to children.

  • Steven Rengifo

    Personally, I love the Boomerang version of the cartoon, though it is completely way off the original meaning of “The Three Little Pigs”. Though Disney’s version is closely related to the original story, Boomerang’s version in a way is making fun the fable/story and it truly a creative adaptation. I’m not sure on who created the Boomerang cartoon(I believe Loony Tunes or Hanna & Barberra) but it is the most entertaining because it appeals to the young and mature crowd. Small idiosyncrasies that was commonly identified with Boomerang’s version, was they way the wolf talked. It was very goofy and playful, especially with the “caveman” approach. Disney’s version simply used a catchy tune that most kids will soon remember and know, the wolf mouth was constantly drooling (signifying his thirst for sweet young, innocent pigs), etc. Also, Tom mentioned the dentist in Disneys version… and when I first saw the cartoon in your class, I was actually a bit shocked. The cartoon did not explicitly showed a Jewish stereotype… but there were many noticeable features in that short scene. Plus, I’m not sure, but I here that Walt Disney was anti-Semitic.

  • Eric Dorcean

    I remember the rumors about Disney being racist against Jews but we cant judge that thats what Disney had in mind when doing the wolfs character. As far as the rest of the adaptation i can understand the changes made. After all, what child during that time wants to see a wolf/fox burned to death.
    Course that was then and if they were to make a new adaptaion it might be alittle different because kids these days might not like it as much. Afterall, Disneys gotta appeal to the kids.

    The song that the pigs sing was actually sung by some group called b5. Heres the link if ya wanna hear: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cAHpqpqQBio&ob=av2e

  • Kevin L. Ferguson

    Here’s a paragraph from an article I have coming out soon in a film journal. I actually talked about the Three Little Pigs. This might not make sense taken out of context, but:

    And what of the Big Bad Wolf’s huffing and puffing? If the warning of Practical Pig’s father signals castration and death, then might the Wolf and his blowing represent the instrument of castration, a literal kind of “cutting wind”? There seems at first to be a confusion of symbols. In the world of fairy tales, wolves and pigs naturally stand in strict opposition. In the Walt Disney version, however, some curious things about the Wolf make this truth less certain. For one, the Wolf is introduced wandering along a path with a carpetbag in his hand; viewers should realize after having watched three other characters build homes that the Wolf himself is, in effect, homeless. His clothing is tattered and patched, raising the issue of class. All that the Wolf really possesses is his defining quality: not really his slavering teeth or lupine cunning, but his prodigious breath. When we recall that Fifer Pig, who built the weakest home of straw, plays a wind instrument, it becomes clearer that Three Little Pigs places all four characters in a series, with the wandering wind at one end and the sturdy home at the other. Fifer, indeed, is but a few breaths away from finding himself in the Wolf’s shoes.

  • Jeen Kim

    I would call the musical elements, use of bright colors, and the comedic bits parts of Disney’s “grammatical idiosyncrasies”. I think the style of the original lies in the overall plot and conclusion- the wolf never gets what he wants.

  • Kaitlin Stevens

    In the original story, the moral is a lot more clear and concise. Since the cartoon version is obviously meant to appeal to a younger demographic, they sugarcoat everything and add song, dance, and humor to it in order to lighten the mood, which in the original story, is rather dark and serious. I would also have to agree with Jeen’s observation of the use of bright colors being an idiosyncrasy. When I first read the original story, I did not picture it in color in my head at all. The whole story seemed rather black and white, in both a literal and figurative sense.

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