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Black Cauldron

Updated on April 24, 2015
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As a retired librarian, Yvonne finally has time to read! She enjoys sharing some of her favorite books and media with friends.

Halloween DVD for Older Children

The Black Cauldron movie is on my list for Halloween viewing by older children. This fantasy from Walt Disney Productions, was released in 1985, after twelve years in production.

The animation is outstanding and though the story line isn't as strong, it is still a good slightly scary movie that can be enjoyed, especially around Halloween.

Even though the books, the Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander, are much better (as most books are), I liked the movie and would recommend it.

The Black Cauldron Movie

Black Cauldron Trailer

This is what we saw when the movie came out in 1985.

Black Cauldron 1985 Trailer

The Story

The Black Cauldron is the story of Taran, a young pig-keeper, who attempts to rescue his clairvoyant pig, Hen Wen, from the castle of the evil Horned King. The King tries to get Hen Wen to lead him to the mysterious Black Cauldron. Taran escapes with young princess Eilonwy and Fflewdder Ffflam, the minstrel, and with the help of mischievous Gurgi finds the cauldron. Before they can destroy it, the Horned King takes it and begins to unleash its awesome power of producing deathless warriors. Gurgi sacrifices himself to destroy the cauldron's power and save his friends, and in the end, Taran defeats the Horned King and Gurgi is restored.

Reference: the Disney Archives

Synd-Mage

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Synd - Mage -- by Dragons

Review from TV Guide

"A glorious return to the days at Disney when animation was full and detail was everything, THE BLACK CAULDRON is betrayed by a routine storyline which fails to grip the imagination in the same way that such classics as PINOCCHIO or DUMBO do, but it's a remarkable achievement nonetheless."

The Black Cauldron History

Taran and Hen Wen
Taran and Hen Wen

Photo courtesy of Reelfilm.com

Disney released the Black Cauldron Movie in 1985. It was twelve years in the making. The animation used in the production was state of the art at that time and Disney was the first to use many of the techniques seen in the Black Cauldron.

The screenplay or plot was adapted from Lloyd Alexander's award winning Prydain Chronicles, a five volume series. Disney studios bought the rights to all five books in 1971. The book the Black Cauldron and the movie are quite different. The Disney screen writer combined the plot and characters of the first two volumes, The Book of Three and The Black Cauldron. A minor character, the Horned King, became the major villan of the movie.

Many who loved the books thought this was a mistake, since the Book of Three could have supported an excellent animated film by itself. The author of Antagony and Ecstasy surmized, that the reason may have been that the "Black Cauldron" was a much better title for a movie than the "Book of Three". At any rate, this is what contributed to a sketchy plot lacking in deep character development.

All that being said, I still liked the movie. Yes, parts of it are dark, but so are parts of Harry Potter. It is sort of a combination of "Lord of the Rings" and "Star Wars", but many hero quest movies are. The animation is excellent and the story line is adequate to give children an hour or so of slightly frightening fantasy fun.

Reference Antagony and Ecstasy Blog

Black Cauldron Disney Gold Collection DVD

But despite being a huge wreck of narrative in every respect, I do actually like The Black Cauldron; I might even say I like it quite a lot. For it is absolutely gorgeous.

— Antagony and Ecstasy

Sword of Destruction

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Sword of Destruction by Alex_Brown

Black Cauldron Music Video

Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles

are the books that the movie was based on.

The Prydain Chronicles Books

The Prydain Chronicles are outstanding mythological fantasy books for children, written by Lloyd Alexander. The five-volume set is composed of (1) The Book of Three, (2) The Black Cauldron, (3) Castle of Llyr, (4) Taran the Wanderer, and (5) The High King. The movie, the Black Cauldron was based on the first two books. Lloyd Alexander received the Newbery Award for book 5, The High King.

I would recommend all five volumes.

Book of Three - Chronicles of Prydain Book 1

Black Cauldron - Chronicles of Prydain Book 2

Henry FÃssli - 3 Witches Weird Sisters 1783 Women

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© 2015 Yvonne L. B.

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    • indigomoth profile image

      indigomoth 6 years ago from New Zealand

      The Black Cauldron game was one of the very first computer games I ever played... led me to the books and I adored the books. The movie wasn't bad either. Nice lens :)

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      anonymous 7 years ago

      Very informative lens.

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    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 7 years ago from USA

      I've never seen this one but I think I'd really like it!

    • BuckHawkcenter profile image

      BuckHawkcenter 7 years ago

      You have definitely enticed me. I am a fan of all things Disney but missed this one. I'm now looking forward to seeing it. Netflix, get ready! Congrats on Number 13, too!