5 unknown facts why is BAMBI CONTROVERSIAL ?



is one of the most famous murders in cinema history. A mother and her child go for a walk on the first warm day after a bitter winter. Distracted by a changing climate, we don’t see the danger coming. In fact, we never see it, because the man with the gun remains offscreen. We only see the mother’s sudden panic; her panicked efforts to get to the safety of her child; Their separation in the chaos of the moment; And then the child, outside again in the cold and snow, alone and crying for his mother.

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This is the 1942 Walt Disney classic film in question “Bambi”. Perhaps more than any other movie made for children, it is mainly remembered for its moments of terror: not only the murder of the protagonist’s mother, but the forest fire that threatens to destroy all the main characters. Stephen King called “Bambi” the first horror movie he ever saw, and Pauline Kyle, the magazine’s longtime film critic, claims she’s never known an adult movie as scary as “Bambi” scared kids.

Unlike other Disney classics, from “Cinderella” to “Frozen,” this scare fest isn’t based on a fairy tale. It was adapted from the 1922 novel “Bambi: A Life in the Woods” by Austro-Hungarian writer and critic Felix Salten.

The book made Salten famous; The movie, which altered and overshadowed its source material, made him virtually unrecognizable. And it also obscures the original “Bambi,” though it was previously widely praised and passionately condemned. The English-language version, translated in 1928 by Soviet spy Whittaker Chambers, was hugely popular, earning rave reviews more than a dozen years before the film was released and selling six hundred and fifty thousand copies. The original version, meanwhile, was banned and burned in Nazi Germany, where it was considered an example of the treatment of Jews in Europe.

As that suggests, “Bambi” the book is darker than “Bambi” the movie. Until now, English-language readers had to rely on the Chambers translation—which, thanks to a controversial copyright ruling, was the only one available for nearly a century. Zipes, a professor of German and comparative literature at the University of Minnesota who has also translated Grimm Brothers’ fairy tales, maintains in his introduction that Chambers got “Bambi” almost as wrong as Disney. Which raises two questions. By: How did a story about a cub’s life become so controversial and what is it really about? Contact Us

Felix Salten was an unlikely figure to write “Bambi” because he was an avid hunter who, by his own estimate, had shot and killed over two hundred deer. He was also an unlikely figure to write a parable about Jewish persecution, as he preached a policy of appeasement towards Nazi Germany even after the book was burned. And he was an unlikely figure to write one of the most famous children’s stories of the 20th century, as he wrote one of the most notorious works of child pornography.


These conflicts are beautifully captured by Beverly Driver Eddy in her biography “Felix Salten: Man of Many Faces”. Born Sigmund Salzman in Hungary in 1869, Salten’s family moved to Vienna when he was just three weeks old—a new desirable destination for Jews, as Austria had recently granted them full citizenship. His father was the descendant of many generations of rabbis who discarded his religious roots in favor of a broad humanism; He was also a hopelessly incompetent businessman who soon plunged the family into poverty. To help pay the bills, Salten began working for an insurance company as a teenager, while also submitting poetry and literary criticism to local newspapers and journals. Eventually, he began meeting other writers and creative types at a cafe called Grienstedl across the street from the National Theatre. These were fin-de-siècle artists known collectively as the Young Vienna, whose members included Arthur Schnitzler, Arnold Schoenberg, Stefan Zweig, and a writer who later rejected the group, Karl Krauss.

Salten was both literally and figuratively promiscuous in his youth. He openly conducted many affairs – chambermaid, operetta singer, actress, a prominent socialist activist, and, successively or simultaneously, several women whom other members of the Young Vienna were also courting. In time, he married and settled down, but throughout his life wrote everything he could: book reviews, theater reviews, art criticism, essays, plays, poems, novels, a book-length advertisement for a carpet company in disguise. His detractors regarded this torrent as evidence of hackery, but it was a simpler proof of necessity; Almost alone among the members of Young Vienna, he was driven by the need to make a living.

Still, like his father, Salten can be reckless with money. Anxious to be seen as an insider, he insisted on eating, drinking, dressing and traveling like his wealthy peers, causing him to continually accumulate debts, some of which he passed on in sly ways – for example, by “borrowing” and then from a friend. Selling expensive books. And he can be reckless in other areas too. Prone to being touchy, either by temperament or feeling the need to prove himself, he spent much of his young life stirring up controversy (he once went to Grienstedil and slapped Krause in the face). (Murray later criticized him in print) resolving them by litigation or conflict. Both his personal judgment and his critical judgment can be impulsive and erratic; In his thirties, he borrowed extravagantly to create a modernist cabaret, which was all the rage in Berlin. , only it became a critical and financial disaster.

The production that brought Salten the most notoriety was untitled: “Josephine Mutzenbacher; Or, The Story of a Viennese Whore, as He Told It Himself.” Published anonymously in Vienna in 1906, it has since been continuously printed in both German and English and has sold nearly three million copies. Despite the subtitle, one sometimes feels that it written by a prostitute, or even by a woman. During Salten’s lifetime, almost everyone thought he wrote it, only those who liked him very much believed he could do something so dirty and those who hated him so much that he wrote something so well. Salten himself has twice claimed that he was not responsible for it but has otherwise remained silent or silent on the matter.


Written in the tradition of ribald women’s memoirs, à la “Fanny Hill,” “Josephine Mutzenbacher” recounts the title character’s sexual adventures that begin at age five and culminate in her teenage prostitution, followed by the death of her mother. Today, what is most poignant about the book is Josephine’s youth. At the time, however, most of the scandals related to his unsavory embrace of his career, which he both enjoyed and credited with lifting him out of poverty, educating him, and introducing him to a world much wider than the poor Vienna suburbs where He (eg salt) grows.

Perhaps inevitably, scholars have tried to draw parallels between “Josephine Mutzenbacher” and “Bambi”. Both title characters lose their mothers in their youth; Both books introduce readers in detail to the urban fringes—the poor suburbs, the flophouses, the forests—of which most proper Viennese were ignorant. Yet, for the most part, such comparisons seem strained. “Josephine Mutzenbacher” occupies the same place in Salten Uvre as his tribute to the carpet: that which lies at the intersection of ambition, graphomania and penury.

But “Bambi” has a different place. If there is a through line in Salten’s scattershot career, it is his interest in writing about animals, evident from his first published work of fiction: “The Vagabond”,He wrote a short story about the adventures of a dachshund when he was 21. Many other nonhuman heroes followed, most of them unfortunate: a sparrow who dies in battle, a fly who throws himself into a windowpane. Salten’s novel “The Hound of Florence” concerns a young Austrian man who wants to spend every day of his life as the archduke’s dog; Ultimately, he is stabbed to death, in his dog form, while trying to protect a courtesan from attack. (In an even more drastic adaptation than “Bambi,” this story became “The Shaggy Dog” in Disney’s hands.) “Fifteen Rabbits” features, first, fifteen rabbits who debate the nature of God. The reason for their own persecution is when their numbers are slowly dwindling. “Renny the Rescuer,” about a German shepherd trained as a combat animal, features a carrier pigeon traumatized by wartime service. And then, of course, there’s “Bambi” — which, like these other stories, wasn’t particularly suitable for children, until Disney made it fit the bill.

If you haven’t seen the Disney version of “Bambi” since you were eight, here’s a quick refresher: The title character is born one spring to an unnamed mother and a distant but magnificently ant father. He befriends an enthusiastic young rabbit, Thumper; A sweet-tempered skunk, flowers; and a female fawn named Feline. After her mother’s death the following spring, she and Falin fall in love, but their relationship is tested by a rival deer, a pack of hunting dogs, and finally, a forest fire. After defeating all three, Bambi summons a pair of cubs; As the film ends, the hero, like his father before him, is watching his family from a distant crag.

“Bambi” was not successful when it was first released. It was hampered partly by audience attendance, which had declined due to World War II, and partly by audience expectations, since, unlike previous Disney productions, it featured no magic and no Mickey. Over time, however, “Bambi,” Walt’s favorite of his films, became one of the most popular films in the history of the industry. In the four decades following its release, it grossed forty-seven million dollars — more than ten times that of “Casablanca,” released the same year. Perhaps more significantly, it has achieved a dominant position in the canon of American nature stories. In the words of environmental historian Ralph Lutz, “It’s hard to identify a movie, story, or animal character that has had a greater impact on our view of wildlife.”

That vision is of an Eden marred only by the intrusion of mankind. There are no endemic hazards in Bambi’s forest; Except for her brief encounters with other male deer during mating season, and perhaps during those harsh winters, the wilderness she inhabits is all natural beauty and interspecies camaraderie. The truly serious threats he faces are always from hunters, who cause both the forest fire and his mother’s death, yet the movie seems less anti-hunter than simply anti-human. The underlying morality is not so much that killing animals is evil as that humans are evil and wild animals are innocent. A few years ago, when the American Film Institute compiled a list of the fifty greatest movie villains of all time, it opted for slot No. 20 — between Captain Bligh from “Mutiny on the Bounty” and “Mrs. John Iselin.” Manchurian candidate”—opposite of “Bambi”: “man.”

Unsurprisingly, “Bambi” has long been unpopular with hunters, one of whom sent a telegram to Walt Disney on the eve of the film’s release informing him that it was illegal to shoot deer in the spring. Nor is the film endearing to professional wilderness directors, who now regularly contend with what they call the “Bambi complex”: a dangerous desire to treat nature as benign and wild creatures adorable and tame, combined with resistance to the important forest. Either- management tools such as culling and controlled burning. Even some environmentalists object to its narrow-mindedness—its failure to offer audiences a model of a healthy relationship between humans and the rest of the natural world.

But perhaps the most vocal if even the smallest group of critics are Salten fans, who recognize how badly Disney has distorted its source material. Although the creatures in the novel converse and in some cases befriend each other across species, their overall relationship is far from benign. In just two pages, a fox mauls a much-loved pheasant, a ferret mortally wounds a squirrel, and a flock of crows attacks the young son of a friend of Hare’s — the gentle, anxious man who becomes Thumper in the film — to his death in excruciating pain. will be Later, Bambi himself nearly kills a rival who is begging for mercy, while Fallin laughs. Far from being absurd, such scenes are, in the author’s words, the whole point of the novel. Salten insists that he wrote “Bambi” to educate innocent readers about nature as it really is: a place where life is always dependent on death, where starvation, competition and hunting are the norm.

This objective did not make Salten easy on the people. On the contrary: his depiction of our impact on nature is considerably more specific and violent, not to mention tragic, than the film. Consider the moment when Bambi, on the run from a hunting party that has killed his mother and countless other animals, meets Friend Hare’s wife, in a scene that reads something like Pat Barker’s World War I novel “Revival”:

“Can you help me a little?” she said. Bambi looked at him and shuddered. His hind legs dangled lifelessly in the snow, staining it red and melting it with warm, flowing blood. “Can you help me a little?” he repeated. He spoke as if he were well and healthy, almost as if he were happy. “I don’t know what could happen to me,” he continued.

In the middle of his words he rolled over on his side and died.

What purpose does this book serve as a scene? Salten maintained that, despite his own affinity for hunting, he was trying to stop others from killing animals when it was necessary for the health of a species or ecosystem. (This was less hypocritical than it seemed; Salten hated hunters and was as terrified as Archduke Franz Ferdinand, who boasted of killing five thousand stags and was known to shoot them because underlings led them into his path.) But the authors did not necessarily The work doesn’t get the last word on meaning, and plenty of other people believe that “Bambi” is no more about animals than “Animal Farm.” Instead, they see in it what the Nazis did: a reflection of the anti-Semitism that was on the rise across Europe when Salten wrote it.

As a textual matter, the best evidence for this proposition comes from the two parts of “Bambi” that never made it to the screen. The first concerns Falin’s twin brother, Gobo, who was written out of the movie. A fragile and sickly four-legged creature, Gobo cannot escape during a hunting rampage that kills Bambi’s mother and friend Har’s wife. For months, he was presumed dead. Then one day Bambi and Faline saw a deer making its way across an open meadow with reckless indifference, as if oblivious to any potential danger.

This newcomer turns out to be the adult Gobo, who, we learn, was rescued by a member of the hunting party, taken to his home, and returned to health. When Gobo returns, the other animals of the forest gather to hear him describe the kindness of the hunter and his family, the warmth of the shelter, and the food brought to him each day. “You all think he’s evil,” he tells them. (In Salten’s books, man is typographically styled like God: singular and capitalized.) “But he is not evil. If he loves someone, or if someone serves him, he is good for him. Amazingly good”!

Every subjugated minority is familiar with Gobo-like figures—individuals who have assimilated into the culture of their subordinates and become protectors, whether out of grudging self-interest or, like Gobo, who are genuinely enamored of it and convinced that their affection is reciprocated. He is confident that they will not harm him, but is shot while looking at his love interest. As he turns to flee, he finds the hunter leaning on Gobo and hears his “scream of death”.

One can understand why Disney left that part out. Thus, a scene in Salten’s book in which a dog kills a fox unfolds at a terrifyingly leisurely pace. The fox’s paw is bleeding, and he knows he will soon die, but he pleads with the dog: “Let me at least die with my family. We are almost brothers, you and I.” When this fails, he accuses the dog of being a turncoat and a spy. The dog works in a frenzy to protect his master’s virtue and power, then itemizes all the other creatures who serve mankind.

In light of these scenes, it’s easy to understand why some interpret “Bambi” as a cryptic account of the crisis facing European Jewry in the nineteen-twenties — the story of an innocent creature forced to be constantly vigilant against danger. Betrayed in between and without a proto-brown shirt. Some biographies of Salten support that reading, starting with the fact that he knew a thing or two about assimilation. “I was not a Jew when I was a boy,” he once wrote; Raised in a family that valued European liberalism, and educated in part by devout Catholic teachers who admired him for his knowledge of the catechism, Salten became truly Jewish in his late twenties when he became close to Theodor Herzl. began to mark. Austro-Hungarian writer and father of the Zionist movement.
On the one hand, Salten began writing a weekly column for Herzl’s Jewish newspaper, in which he was increasingly critical of the assimilationist impulses that had shaped his childhood; On the other hand, he wrote it anonymously and refused to set foot in the newspaper’s office. In later years, his growing desire to embrace his Judaism coincided, not coincidentally, with growing anti-Semitism in Vienna, which made it impossible for Jews to forget or deny their religious background.

In 1925, three years after “Bambi,” Salten published “New Man on Old Soil,” a book-length tribute to his friend’s dream of a Jewish state, the product of a visit to Palestine. A decade later, his books, along with countless others by Jewish authors, were burned by the Nazis, and two years later, after Germany annexed Austria, he moved to Switzerland. Salten died in Zurich at the age of seventy-six, four months after Hitler’s suicide.

Does all this make “Bambi” a parable about Jewish persecution? The Nazis thought so were hardly totalitarian—fascist regimes are not known for their sophisticated literary criticism—and, for every passage that supports such a reading, many others complicate or contradict it. Many critics see a different or larger political feel in “Bambi”, ranging from a general opposition to the brutality of modern post-World War I warfare.. All of these readings are laudable, including particularly Jewish and Salten’s own interpretations of his work as a plea for greater understanding and greater care of the natural world. Yet the book’s most compelling and consistent message is neither obliquely political nor necessarily environmental; It is simply, serious existence.

Whatever else “Bambi” is, it is, at heart, a coming-of-age story of “Little Women” and “Giovanni’s Room.” The language in which it is written, of course it is often described not as a bildungsroman – a typical coming-of-age novel – but more specifically as an erjihungsroman: a novel of education and training.

The agent of that teaching is a character known as the Old Prince, the oldest living deer in the forest, and the teaching he imparts is anything but subtle. When she first meets Bambi, the latter is still a smart, frustrated because her mother has grown aloof lately – pushing her away when she tries to nurse, and walking away without caring if she’s following. Thus rejected, she finds herself bleeding for him in the middle of the forest when the old prince appears and scolds her. “Your mother has no time for you now,” says the old prince. “Can’t you be alone? Shame on you!”

This, in two sentences, is the ultimate message of “Bambi”: anything less than extreme self-reliance is shameful; Interdependence is unpleasant, limiting and dangerous. Of all his teachings,” Salten wrote, “you must be alone. If you want to save yourself, if you want to understand existence, if you want to gain knowledge, you must be alone.” It’s not “The Lorax” or “The Mouse.” This is “The Fountainhead,” with the fan.

Most panegyrics on solitary life written by men have an element of misogyny in them, and “Bambi” is no exception. Seemingly bold and vivacious in his youth, Feline grows up timid and lachrymose; He “screamed and screamed,” he “blooded,” he was a “hysterical feline.” When he and Bambi are (for lack of a better word) dating, the old prince teaches Bambi to ignore his calls, lest they come from hunters imitating sounds. Like Gobo, the romance between childhood friends is destroyed by the logic of the book. “Do you still love me?” Faline asks one day, to which Bambi replies, “I don’t know.” He leaves, and “at the same time, his soul feels freer than it has in a long time.” All other relationships with females of the species are similarly short-lived; Fatherly love is durable and radiant, motherly love is juvenile and embarrassing. “Bambi” ends with its protagonist importing two outposts, just as the old prince imported him into learning to live alone.

What is curious about this insistence on loneliness is that nothing in the book makes it attractive. Bambi’s main trajectory in life is not from innocence to wisdom; It goes from contentment and companionship—in his youth, he’s with Gobo and Faline, with magpies and friend hares. Stranger still, this assessment of loneliness seems unrelated to the book’s second overt moral, which concerns the relationship between humans and other animals. In the final pages, the old prince takes Bambi, now old and gray, to see something in the woods: a dead man, shot to death by another hunter. (Incredibly, Walt Disney planned to include this scene in his film, with the entire test audience jumping out of their seats after seeing the corpse.) With the old Prince’s urging, Bambi concludes from this experience that we are not humans, even if we are a danger to each other, but rather , other creatures are fools to imagine we are gods just because we are powerful. “There is another who is above us all,” he realizes as he contemplates the dead, “above us and above him.” The old prince, satisfied that his work is done, dies.

There is no precedent in the book for this vague gesture toward deism, no moral or theological trajectory to make Bambi’s insights meaningful or satisfying. On the contrary, the book is at its best when it reveals the mysteries of existence rather than pretending to solve them. At one point, Bambi is discussing a bug with some midges. “How long will he live?” the youth asked. “Forever, almost,” replied their elders. “They see the sun thirty or forty times.” Elsewhere, a short chapter records the final conversation between a pair of oak leaves clinging to a branch at the end of autumn. They gripe about the wind and the cold, mourn their fallen comrades, and try to understand what is about to happen to them. “Why must we fall?” One asks that the other does not know, but has its own question: “Do we feel anything, do we know anything about ourselves when we are there?” Matter moves from intimacy to existence. The two pages debate which of them will read first; One of them, having become “yellow and ugly”, assures the other that it has just changed. The response, just before the inevitable finale, is startlingly moving: “You’ve always been kind to me. I’m just beginning to realize how kind you are.” It’s the opposite of a paean to individualism: a belated but tender acknowledgment of how much we mean to each other.

What do we make of this muddled, multi-minded story? Zipes, in his introduction, attributes some of Chambers’ confusion, claiming that he mistranslated Salten, flattening both the political and metaphysical aspects of the work and paving the way for Disney to turn it into a children’s story. But that claim is not borne out by the examples in the introduction, nor by the comparison of the two English versions, which differ largely on aesthetic grounds.

For the beloved children’s classic what makes it such a fascinating source is ultimately not its violence or sadness but its darkness. Perhaps the book’s most telling exchange occurs, during that harsh winter, between Bambi’s mother and her aunt.

“It’s hard to believe it will ever get better,” her mother said.It is also tempting to read these lines as a commentary on the Jewish condition, if only because—to these Jews’ ears, at least—they contain the classic Jewish sense of dark humor: realistic, linguistically deft, and deadly. Yet no one alive today can regard such sentiments as exclusive to any subgroup. It is simply a way of looking at the world, which can be produced by circumstance, mood, or, as in Salten’s case, both.”Bambi” is not an allegory of the plight of the Jews, but Salten sometimes treats the plight of the Jews as an allegory of the human condition. The ubiquity and inevitability of danger, the need to act for oneself and control one’s own destiny, threats posed by intimates and strangers: this is Salten’s assessment of our existence.The animals in it, Salten writes, “are all sentenced to life imprisonment and all innocent.

” It’s a lovely line, and one that, in its moral universe, seems applicable to all of us. In the forest—that is, in the realm of nature—we are in constant danger; In society, caring and caring but fundamentally compromised, we are not out of the woods yet.

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