Disney Film History: Secrets of Life

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Walt’s continued love for his nature documentary series pinned him into a film with tons of footage but not from one place in particular. Unlike previous outings for the documentary series of films, Disney’s Secrets of Life focused less on one climate or geographical area of the world and more on our ever changing planet and the cycle of life we all take part in.

What separates this film as well, apart from the topic at hand, is the cinematography. This was the first time time lapse was used to shoot flower growth. The shots of volcanic eruptions as well as small insects is also breath taking and something rarely seen in the mid-1950s. The film starts like the other True Life Adventures, with paint brush strokes bringing us into our scenes, but this film is far more advanced than the previous films. I’ve noticed that these films tend to get better and better with each one.

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With the critiques on the previous films, Walt, as well as director and writer James Algar, dropped the slapstick comedy and silly punchlines for a more serious look at nature. I hope this continues as it was one of the only complaints I would make about these films. Secrets of Life opened in November 1956 and critics gave it praise but unlike the previous films in the True Life Adventure series, it was not nominated for an Academy Award and seems to be lost in the vaults of the studio. There was a DVD release in 2006 as part of a bigger collection of films, but there has yet to be a stand alone film release of Secrets of Life in modern times.

Josh Taylor
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Previous Film: Davy Crockett and the River Pirates
Next Film: Westward Ho the Wagons!

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Posted on February 11, 2015, in Articles, The Whole Picture and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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