How Disney's 'Little Mermaid' Turned A Disturbing Fairy Tale Into A Children's Movie

November 17, 2014 12:30 PM

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How Disney's 'Little Mermaid' Turned A Disturbing Fairy Tale Into A Children's Movie

Today "The Little Mermaid" turns 25 years old. When it came out, in 1989, Disney had gone three decades without a big hit: "Sleeping Beauty," the last major success, was released in 1959, six years before Walt Disney's death. The studio had spent far too much time without a leader, and there was new generation on the rise -- one that had worked with the animators that came up under Walt, but were equipped with their own set of modern sensibilities. In celebration of the Disney renaissance started under the sea, we spoke to co-writers and directors Ron Clements and John Musker to figure out how they turned Hans Christian Andersen's disturbing fairy tale into a classic children's movie.

With a big pitch meeting coming up, Ron Clements went to the book store in search of his next great idea. He was unfamiliar with "The Little Mermaid" before stumbling upon it that day, and thought Hans Christian Andersen's cinematic writing style would make for a great film as soon as he started rea...

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