1. Narrator: “In a far away land, long ago, lived a king and his fair queen. Many years had they longed for a child and finally their wish was granted. A daughter was born, and they called her Aurora. Yes, they named her after the dawn for she filled their lives with sunshine. ”
At these words, spoken by an off-screen voice, the golden storybook of Sleeping Beauty opens. The camera then zooms in upon the still illustrations of the book’s turning pages, and they begin to animate. Choral voices swell after the word “Aurora,” establishing her dawning glory and simultaneously suggesting the emotional veracity and gravity of the story. The quote also suggests that the story’s royal family achieves happiness and completion only when a child joins them. Without the child, the family suffers. Disney thus affirms his appeal to the traditional family of two married parents with children. The subsequent story affirms the rightness of an intact family. When Phillip returns Aurora, who has been displaced from her family for so long, he creates a larger, happier, and more profitable family as Stefan unites his kingdom with Hubert’s.
The opening asserts that the story is set in a distant time, in an unnamed place. This vagueness allows viewers to stimulate their imaginations, and assures them that historical accuracy is neither of concern nor to be expected. Though the film later narrows the timeframe to the fourteenth century, viewers must reconcile this semimythical setting with the reality of the film’s 1959 release in the United States. Walt Disney originally wished to remake Sleeping Beauty and re-release a new version of it every seven years, a plan that suggests not only that new versions of the film would have changed through the decades, but that the 1959 version of the film indeed relates in many ways to 1950s America.