The Reluctant Dragon
The cartoon starts with an introduction by the narrator of the story. One of the main characters, The Boy, who is reading a book about knights and bloodthirsty dragons, is introduced. His father comes rushing by, claiming to have seen a monster. The Boy reassures his father that it was only a dragon, to which the father panics and runs to the village in fear.
The Reluctant Dragon
The film was released in the middle of the Disney animators' strike of 1941. Strikers picketed the film's premiere with signs that attacked Disney for unfair business practices, low pay, lack of recognition, and favoritism. At one theater, sympathizers paraded down the street wearing a "dragon costume bearing the legend 'The Reluctant Disney'".
Modern critics have pointed out that the dragon's mannerisms can easily be interpreted as gay. Sean Griffin notes "the delight and acceptance of an effeminate male," saying, "The dragon sports long emotive eyelashes and contains not an aggressive bone in his body, with the dragon prancing and pirouetting throughout the story... There is no mistaking how the film makes fun of the dragon's mincing manner and prissy pretentions. Yet, the film also makes it quite clear that the dragon does not believe in fighting, and the film doesn't specifically make fun of him for that... Just as in Ferdinand the Bull, The Reluctant Dragon presents an easily read gay character under the guise of fantasy and shows characters accepting him as he is."
An adaptation of the Kenneth Grahame classic book about an unlikely friendship. The village of Guildermere blames the dragon who lives upon the downs for their dying crops and sour milk. But this dragon is a peace-loving, poetry-spouting fellow who would much prefer a cup of tea to a battle. When Saint George arrives, the dragon and his young friend, Glaston, face quite a challenge indeed.
The film was released in the middle of the Disney animators' strike of 1941. Strikers picketed the film's premiere with signs that attacked Disney for unfair business practices, low pay, lack of recognition, and favoritism. At one theater, sympathizers paraded down the street wearing a "dragon costume bearing the legend 'The Reluctant Disney'". Critics and audiences were put off by the fact that the film was not a new Disney animated feature in the vein of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs or Pinocchio, but essentially a collection of four short cartoons and various live-action vignettes. The Reluctant Dragon cost $600,000 to make, but only returned $400,000 from the box office, hence the film failed at the box office.
The Reluctant Dragon (character)Background informationFeature filmsThe Reluctant DragonWho Framed Roger Rabbit (cameo)Short filmsWhat Can You See by Looking?ShowsHouse of MouseWalt Disney anthology seriesAnimatorsWolfgang ReithermanWard KimballVoiceBarnett Parker (The Reluctant Dragon)Thurl Ravenscroft (1966 record)Jeff Bennet (House of Mouse)InspirationThe Dragon from the original storyCharacter informationOther namesPunk PoetUncle MaxHomeThe Cave outside the town (formerly);later, the townLikesMusic, poetry, picnics, being complimented, being flattered, and actingDislikesViolence, lying, fighting, being tricked into fighting, dragon killers, being interrupted in a bath or during a music lesson with birds, and being called a punk poetPowers and abilitiesBreathe fire (only when mad)Family informationOther relativesFigment (nephew in educational shorts)SourceThe Reluctant Dragon is the titular protagonist in the 1941 film of the same name. He is a dragon who would rather sit and recite poetry instead of being a fierce fire-breathing terror.
The dragon is first seen bathing happily while singing under a small waterfall. When a boy, whose father and sheep were spooked by the dragon himself and who decided to have a look at the dragon, says Hello to the dragon, the dragon freaks out; thinking the boy came to throw stones or squirt water at him because "he won't have it." When the boy states that he simply came for a friendly chat, the dragon changes his tune; allowing the boy to be seated (the other way of course) as the dragon comes out to dry himself up when using his own tail as a towel. When the boy asks if the dragon has had any nice battles lately, has been scourging countrysides, or devouring fair damsels, the dragon denies all that; revealing that he simply makes up poetry instead (hardly the kind of thing any dragon would do). The dragon happily recites a poem called "Just A-Drifting" while dancing around; much to the opposite of a dragon's description in the boy's book.
The boy warns the dragon's in trouble and that his father is gonna have the whole village aroused with spears and things to exterminate him; considering him an enemy to the human race. The dragon denies and ignores all that and continues reciting poems and dancing; much to the boy's disappointment, which causes him to leave afterward.
After seeing that a knight named Sir Giles (a.k.a. the Dragon Killer) has arrived in town to vanquish the dragon, the boy runs back to warn the dragon only to interrupt the dragon during his music lessons with some birds. The boy tells the dragon that he will have to fight Sir Giles but the dragon refuses to fight; stating he "never does and never did" and "it doesn't agree with him." Then, the dragon tells the boy to run along and "tell Sir Giles to go home" as he continues his lesson with the birds.
After meeting Sir Giles, Sir Giles agrees to go with the boy to talk with the dragon about the fight. Then, the boy and Sir Giles find the dragon having a picnic and the dragon invites them to sit on his giant belly. When the boy introduces Sir Giles as the dragon killer, the dragon is shocked and so mad that he angrily picks up and takes away every single meal from the picnic and put it all back in his basket. But when Sir Giles tells the dragon that the boy told him that the dragon is an accomplished poet, the dragon is flattered; not exactly what the boy was expecting him to tell the dragon. Sir Giles asks him to recite a poem and the dragon offers him back some picnic meals. The dragon recites "To an upside-down cake" and Sir Giles likes it; much to the boy's disappointment. Then, Sir Giles recites "Radish so red" and the dragon likes it; despite the boy telling Sir Giles to tell the dragon about the fight.
The boy decides to recite a poem (much to both's happiness) and then angrily asks about the fight. Sir Giles finds it splendid but the dragon is shocked since there's nothing to fight and he doesn't believe in it. The boy states in his book that dragons and knights always fight and the dragon can't disappoint the whole village and Sir Giles agrees too. The dragon refuses to discuss it, goes into his cave home, and bids them goodnight.
Sir Giles and the boy try to convince the dragon otherwise with trickery about the events that will happen with the dragon fighting in action and stuff like that. They all decide to fake the fight (since the dragon was about to refuse again when it came to the subject about spears) and there's nothing in the boy's book that says otherwise. And so, it is settled for tomorrow. They all say good-bye but then the dragon tries to change his mind when the boy and Sir Giles have already left.
In the morning as the villagers are here and Sir Giles is ready in armor on horseback, everyone waits for the dragon to come out of his cave. It is revealed that the reason the dragon changed his mind yesterday was because he can't breathe fire and a dragon can only breathe fire if he's mad; much to the dragon and the boy's disappointment. Try as much as the boy can to encourage the dragon to breathe fire, the dragon is only able to breathe out a ring of smoke. But when the boy calls the dragon a "punk poet," the dragon gets angry and starts to breathe fire, only to become thrilled upon realizing that being insulted will work. Excited, the dragon asks the boy to repeat "punk poet" dozens of times as the dragon gets madder and the fire and smoke grow bigger. The dragon is now fully happy to be "mad" and able to breathe fire and sets out to battle Giles.
The "fight" begins with Sir Giles, on his horse, using his spear and the dragon using his smoke and tail as weapons. When Sir Giles chases the dragon into his cave, they fake the fight with clouds of smoke from a fire and shouting "Take that!", "Help!", and other things, while having some tea; much to Sir Giles' horse's dismay.
Then, the two resume the fight outside. During the "fight", the boy helps Sir Giles recover his spear. The dragon and Sir Giles create a cloud of smoke after crashing to one another when trying to charge. In the smoke, the dragon and Sir Giles fake the fight again as they did before while dancing; much to Sir Giles' horse's dismay again. Then, the dragon and Sir Giles decide it's time for the dragon to "die", so, they end their "fight" with the dragon pretending to have been stabbed with a spear and Sir Giles pretends he has "slayed" the dragon. After the "fight", Sir Giles "reforms the ferocious dragon" and the dragon is finally welcomed into society.
In Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the Dragon appears along with many other classic cartoon characters as Eddie Valiant drives to ToonTown. While the rest of the Toons sing Smile Darn Ya Smile, the dragon blows kisses. He also appears later in ToonTown while being chased by Sir Giles after Eddie crashes his car. The dragon joins the rest of the Toons, as Roger Rabbit reads Marvin Acme's will and rejoices to know Marvin kept his word and left ToonTown to the Toons. He then heads back home to ToonTown knowing it will be safe from future harm, singing Smile Darn Ya Smile with the other Toons. 041b061a72