The Sword In The Stone

This review is sponsored by

Details At A Glance

Category Family Theatrical Trailer(s) No
Rating Other Trailer(s) No
Year Released 1963 Commentary Tracks No
Running Time 76:20 minutes Other Extras No
RSDL/Flipper No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Movie
Region 2,4 Director Wolfgang Reitherman

Warner Home Video
Starring Merlin the Wizard (Karl Swenson)
King Arthur
RRP $34.95 Music George Bruns

Pan & Scan/Full Frame No MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Dolby Digital 2.0 mono
16x9 Enhancement No Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, 192 Kb/s)
German  (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, 192 Kb/s)
French (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, 192 Kb/s)
Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, 192 Kb/s)
Dutch (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, 192 Kb/s)
Hebrew (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, 192 Kb/s)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.75:1
Macrovision Yes Smoking No
Subtitles English
English For The Hearing Impaired
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

Plot Synopsis

    This is a wonderfully bright, simple and enjoyable animation from Disney. The characters are well crafted and enjoyable, bringing with them the typical Disney charm that most of us seem to agree with. In a nutshell, Merlin the Wizard tasks himself with teaching a young boy the dos and don'ts if he wants to survive and make someone of himself in the big wide world. He does this by turning the boy into various types of animals and experiencing different ways of looking at life through those eyes, though naturally in a very simplistic and stylized way. It is a nice bit of fun, and many scenes made me chuckle. It may not be the best that Disney have ever produced, but it is nonetheless a worthy title to bear their name. If you do like this movie, you will not be disappointed with this DVD.

Transfer Quality


    This is a remarkably good transfer given the age of the material. It is better than I expected, and shows only minimal signs of any ageing at all.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and is not 16x9 enhanced. Whilst this is not the intended theatrical ratio of 1.75:1, I noticed no hardships in terms of framing, nor did I notice any panning or scanning. Naturally, I would have preferred an anamorphic widescreen version, but this isn't too much of a concern unless you are remarkably anal.

    The image is wonderfully sharp and clear throughout, and never waned in this respect. Shadow detail was very good, and there was no low level noise at all.

    Colours are always bright, clean and well saturated.

    There are no MPEG artefacts, which is a blessing. Animation, with its myriad of hard lines can be problematic for compression but not here. There are absolutely no film-to-video artefacts; no telecine wobble, no aliasing and no shimmering. The only quibble is that throughout the entire movie there are small film artefacts; to complain about them is really being overly pedantic given that they consists of tiny white flecks and do not intrude in any serious way. This is the only real visible indication of the age of the movie.


    The soundtrack is wholly unremarkable, but is well acceptable given the nature of the movie.

    There are six audio tracks in this disc, being English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, German Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, French Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, Dutch Dolby Digital 2.0 mono and Hebrew Dolby Digital 2.0 mono. This is another disc whereby the soundtrack cannot be changed on the fly. Whilst one would not normally want to change languages whilst the movie is in progress, I simply resent that feature being blocked.

    Given that all the voices are of course recorded in a controlled "booth" environment, dialogue was (not surprisingly) clear and easy to understand at all times.

    One thing I must say is that lip-sync is very poor. That is not to say that the timing is out, just that the mouthing is often of very poor quality.

    The music is simple, plain yet well recorded and very clear. It sits in the background and does its job without calling attention to itself, and in this respect it succeeds.

    You are not going to find any other speakers active apart from the centre, and that includes the subwoofer. As the Goodfellas say, "forget about it."



    The menu design is bright and colourful, and nicely themed. And that's it.

R4 vs R1

    Look at that! Little old R4 has something big R1 doesn't! Damn shame.


    A nice little innocent movie that will surely bring a smile to your face.

    The video quality is most impressive given the age of the movie, but a widescreen transfer would have been appreciated.

    The audio is unremarkable.

    To the mouse with the big ears - EXTRAS!

Ratings (out of 5)

Video sg.gif (100 bytes)sg.gif (100 bytes)sg.gif (100 bytes)sg.gif (100 bytes)
Audio sg.gif (100 bytes)sg.gif (100 bytes)sg.gif (100 bytes)
Plot sg.gif (100 bytes)sg.gif (100 bytes)sg.gif (100 bytes)sg.gif (100 bytes)
Overall sg.gif (100 bytes)sg.gif (100 bytes)sg.gif (100 bytes)
© Paul Cordingley
10th January, 2000
Review Equipment
DVD Panasonic A350A S-Video output
Display Pioneer SD-T43W1 125cm Widescreen 16x9
Audio Decoder Internal Dolby Digital 5.1 (DVD Player)
Amplification Sony STRDE-525 5x100 watts Dolby Pro-Logic / 5.1 Ready Receiver; 4 x Optimus 10-band Graphic EQ
Speakers Centre: Sony SS-CN35 100 watt; Main & Surrounds: Pioneer CS-R390-K 150-watt floorstanders; Subwoofer: Optimus 100-watt passive