Filmsite Movie Review
Bambi (1942)
Pages: (1) (2) (3)
The Story (continued)

Death of Bambi's Mother:

Next was one of the most traumatic, heart-breaking death scenes (off-screen) ever filmed. As spring slowly approached, new patches of green grass emerged from the ground in exposed areas of the meadow where the snow was melting. Bambi's mother called to him to join her in grazing ("Look. New spring grass"). As they hungrily and peacefully munched, the view of the two switched to a distant view - possibly the view of a human intruder watching them from afar.

The musical score became more plodding and ominous as the view slowly zoomed closer and closer toward them. In a close-up, Bambi's mother suddenly raised her head and perked her ears in different directions - sensing something wrong (a human presence). Her head darted around as she warned Bambi and told her young doe to flee - she encouraged him to run away as fast as he could without looking back: "Bambi. Quick. The thicket. Faster. Faster, Bambi. Don't look back. Keep running. Keep running."

As they both scurried for the forest and raced away, Bambi kept running as gunshots were heard. Bambi ran and ducked behind a snowbank - and made it to the protective thicket, but his mother was not with him - following a fateful gunshot (off-screen). Bambi turned and exclaimed while panting: "We made it! We made it, Mother! We...", but his Mother was nowhere in sight. Bambi emerged from the thicket, asking and calling out:

Mother! Mother, where are you?!

He fruitlessly searched for her in the forest during a raging snowstorm, not knowing she had been killed by a human hunter. After not finding her and hearing no response, the young grieving fawn began to sob, and then gasped at the imposing sight of his stag father, the Great Prince of the Forest, standing above him. He was flatly and directly told:

Your mother can't be with you anymore.

A tear formed in Bambi's eye as he looked up through the very thick snowfall, and was coldly told to follow: "Come. My son." As the abandoned, mournful fawn was led away, Bambi looked back one last time in the direction of where his mother had been.

[Note: There was little time for the audience to recover from the devastating and dramatic death scene that was followed by an abrupt, 'smash-cut' transition to a lively, upbeat sequence.]

Springtime Mating - "Twitterpation":

Immediately in the next scene, set in the spring-time season of love, the song: "Let’s Sing a Gay Little Spring Song" was sung by happy birds in the forest:

Let's sing a gay little spring song
This is the season to sing
So I'd like to suggest
That we all do our best
And warble a song about spring
Spring, spring, spring
Let's get together and sing

Let's sing a gay little spring song
Just like the bird on the wing
Things always seem right
When you're chipper and bright
So let's get together and sing
Sing, sing, sing
Let's sing a song about spring
Let's twitter and tweet
Like the birdies in May
Get into the mood
And be merry today
Forget all your troubles and warble away
Do, re, mi, fa, so, la, ti, do Oh!

Let's sing a gay little spring song
Music's a wonderful thing
Come on and rejoice
At the top of your voice
Oh, let's sing a song about spring
Spring, spring, spring
Let's get together and sing

The grumpy Owl was awakened, annoyed and disturbed by all the silly musical commotion among the birds, who were lovingly pairing up with each other. He interrupted their singing: "Hoo, Hoo! Stop that racket. Scat...Shoo, shoo!...l'll fix 'em. There. l guess that'll teach 'em. Oh, what's the use?...Same thing every spring. Tweet, tweet. Tweet, tweet. Tweet, tweet. Tweet, tweet. Love's sweet song. Pain in the pin feathers, l call it."

Suddenly, the tree he was perched on began to shake and tremble - a young, maturing adolescent Bambi (with a growth of antlers) was scratching at the base of the trunk. The Owl cried out: "Stop it. Get out of here. All of you." Bambi cheerfully spoke back: "Hello, Friend Owl. Don't you remember me?" Owl suddenly remembered about "The Young Prince Bambi." He inquired: "l see you've traded in your spots for a pair of antlers. You know, just the other day, l was talking to myself about you. And we were wondering what had become of you."

[Note: The lapse in time from the previous scene begged the question -
where had Bambi been during the intervening time, and how much time had passed?]

Bambi was reunited with a pair of adolescent friends from his past - Thumper and Flower. They all reacted to the antics of two paired-up mating birds who were flitting around and acting strangely. Owl informed the adolescents about the spring season of love, and a feeling known as 'twitterpation':

Why, don't you know? They're 'twitterpated'...Nearly everybody gets twitterpated in the spring time. For example, you're walking along, minding your own business. You're looking neither to the left nor to the right, when all of a sudden you run smack into a pretty face. You begin to get weak in the knees. Your head's in a whirl. And then you feel light as a feather. And before you know it, you're walking on air. (Owl demonstrated) And then you know what? You're knocked for a loop, and you completely lose your head.

[Note: In reality, deer become “twitterpated" (ready for deer-mating) in the fall (late October-early November), not during the spring season. Fawns are born in the springtime.]

Although the trio scoffed at the idea and resolved to not become 'twitterpated,' Owl warned that the crazy feeling could even happen to them: "lt can happen to anybody. So you'd better be careful. lt could happen to you, and you, and - yes, it could even happen to you." All three were scornful of the Owl's warning, and denied that they would ever be affected by 'twitterpation.' They stoically marched off - but one by one would soon discover counter-part mates for themselves after very brief courtships.

Flower became the first to be distracted by the giggles of a pretty female skunk hiding in a bunch of flowers - peeking out with fluttering eyelashes. Flower couldn't resist a flirtatious wave, a come-hither look, and a kiss that turned his entire body bright red. His body froze and he tumbled backwards in a frozen block before reviving and pairing up - and abandoning his friends.

Thumper also became mesmerized by a lovely female brown bunny with a pink nose. As she seductively fluffed up her furry face and tail and sweetly sang a tune, Thumper was completely overtaken by emotion. His eyes widened as she waved one ear at him - and he waved back. She approached close to his face and flirtatiously fluttered her eyelashes at him, causing him to deeply gulp and swallow. A brief kiss caused his left hind 'thumper' foot to tap or vibrate uncontrollably (sexual innuendo), and he melted to the ground.

Bambi glanced back to observe that Thumper was reclining in the female bunny's lap. Disgruntled, he shook his head in disgust. Bambi's turn was next, however - he met up with Faline once more at the pond, again seeing her reflection in the water, as she asked: "Hello, Bambi. Don't you remember me? l'm Faline." He was so shocked by her aggressive movement toward him that he stumbled backwards into a blossoming tree and became tangled with his antlers as she licked his cheek. He became woozy at the onset of their romanticized courtship - as they entered a brief dream sequence set among the clouds (Cloud Nine?).

Winning Faline's Affection as a Mate:

But then, a slightly older competitive buck named Ronno appeared to vy for Faline's attention and brought Bambi back to reality. The assertive and belligerent buck tried to force Faline to be with him as his mate, by prodding her with his antlers to join him in the forest. This prompted a challenge-duel between Bambi and Ronno as Bambi surged forward to defend Faline's honor. He attacked with his head down to ram Ronno and lock horns. As they struggled together (in silhouette), when Ronno was winning, the expressionistic backgrounds turned dark with green, blue and black colors, but when Bambi began to take the upper hand, the colors were lighter and brighter: yellow, orange and pink. In the end, the enraged Bambi triumphed - he defeated Ronno by pushing him backwards off a small precipice into a river below. Having won Faline's affection, she nuzzled next to him. Their further flirtatious romance was accentuated by the song: "Looking for Romance (I Bring You a Song)" as they became affectionate in dark-bluish moonlight and happily danced and romped together through the forest. White doves, fireflies and colored leaves also swirled into the air.

The Approach of Man and a Major Forest Fire:

In the darkness of the forest one night, Bambi was alerted to another peril - the sound of hunters' horns. He walked stealthily toward the direction of the sound - and looked down into the distant valley. The Great Prince suddenly appeared and explained the imminent danger, as the noise of fleeing birds signaling the coming threat grew stronger:

lt is Man. He is here again. There are many this time. We must go deep into the forest. Hurry. Follow me.

Bambi began to follow, but paused when he first thought of Faline, who was seen frightened and alone in the forest and calling out for Bambi. In a panic, he began to search for her as other forest creatures (squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks, and pheasants) sought cover. A family of three fearful pheasants were cornered in the tall grass, where they worried about their predicament, in one of the film's most suspenseful sequences. The most scared one exclaimed: "Listen, he's coming...He's coming closer!...We'd better fly," but others whispered: "Hush. Be quiet...Be calm. Don't get excited." There was a warning and a plea: "No, no, don't fly. Whatever you do, don't fly!" - but the fearful pheasant did fly upwards after it shouted out:

He's almost here. I can't stand it any longer!

The pheasant was shot down, and its lifeless body tumbled to the ground, followed by a flurry of feathers - and scattering of all the other animals from gunshots.

By now, Faline was being chased by vicious, snarling hunting dogs, who pursued her and trapped her on a ledge several feet above them. Hearing Faline's cries for help, Bambi fought off the nightmarish pack of dogs with strong kicks and head butts with his antlers, as he urged her to run and escape ("Quick, Faline. Jump"). When he attempted to join her in flight by climbing up an unstable, rocky slope, he was shot in mid-air as he made a final leap over a precipice and ravine to safety on the other side. Bambi was weakened and wounded by the blast, and became unconscious.

Meanwhile, the hunters' camp had carelessly neglected to tend to their campfire, and soon, the entire forest had become a raging inferno and wildfire that was rapidly spreading. Many small forest animals fled from the all-consuming blaze as it raced towards them. The Great Prince came to Bambi's side and urgently ordered him to get back up on his feet and escape the flames that were approaching. As embers and sparks flew through the reddish-hued air, and they were endangered by burning, falling tree limbs, Bambi was led by his father along many paths, into streams, and finally over the edge of a waterfall to safe refuge on a small island's shore surrounded by a lake. There, he was reunited with a loving Faline who had been awaiting him. Other animals had also sought safety there from the swiftly-attacking flames.

Epilogue - A New Cycle of Life:

After the passage of an undetermined amount of time, it was again springtime. The burned-out forest had replenished itself with new growth, and the familes of Thumper and Flower were romping through the woods. As in the opening of the film, there was an announcement (by Flower) to the sleeping Owl of a new birth: "It's the thicket." Flower called for "Bambi" to follow him - Bambi was Flower's young child - to spread the news. All the forest creatures rushed to the side of Faline in the thicket, to proudly watch her introduce her twin fawns ("Look, two of them"): Geno (boy) and Gurri (girl). Admiringly, Faline turned to look toward Bambi, who was proudly overseeing the gathering from a nearby cliffside, next to his father. The Great Prince quietly turned, stepped aside, and ambled away as Bambi was allowed to take his father's place as the Prince of the Forest. The view pulled back as the film ended in the manner in which it began.

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