Picks and Pans Review: The Sword in the Stone

updated 04/18/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 04/18/1983 AT 01:00 AM EST

Based on the legend of King Arthur in general and the T.H. White book of the same title in particular, this animated Disney feature was first released in 1963. It's colorful and wittily drawn, but it's also caught in a kind of no-child's-land, too silly in many places for older kids and too talky for the younger ones. The tale concerns Arthur only as the boy Wart—so nobody has to explain Guinevere's and Lancelot's affair to the kiddies. It's been padded with three near-identical vignettes in which Merlin turns Wart into a fish, a squirrel and a sparrow, largely so he can be pursued by voracious-looking predators. Then the movie zips to an abrupt ending, though it will seem none too soon for most grown-ups. The Sword is playing in most places along with a new Winnie-the-Pooh short, A Day for Eeyore, which is much more focused. Small children are also more likely to recognize the Pooh characters than those of Arthurian legend. Retired Disney writer Ralph Wright splendidly does the voice of Eeyore, the hyper-lethargic donkey. (G)

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