Long-lost Disney 1928 animated film "Sleigh Bells" to screen at BFI this December

Walt Disney's Sleigh Bells (1928) features the first ever Disney character, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, a sort of precursor to Mickey Mouse. The film featuring the character was thought lost for decades, but a surviving print was recently found in in the collections of the BFI National Archive, the unlikely result of a researcher browsing the online catalogue of the Archive’s holdings.

The animation in the six-minute long film was the result of a collaboration between Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks, both of whom went on to create the character of Mickey Mouse, following a contractual disagreement with Universal, for whom they had created the Oswald films. Newly restored, the world premiere of the new print of the film will take place at BFI Southbank on 12 December 2015 as part of a programme It’s A Disney Christmas: Seasonal Shorts, screening other festive Disney shorts from the 1930’s to the present including Mickey’s Good Deed (1932), Night Before Christmas (1933), The Art of Skiing (1941), Pluto’s Christmas Tree (1952), Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983), Prep and Landing: Operation Secret Santa (2010) and FrozenFever (2015). 

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Owen Van Spall

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