Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 15, No. 7. May 1, 1952
Film Review . . . — 'Seal Island'
Film Review . . .
Inevitably this film must be compared with the other Disney production "Beaver Valley" which appeared in Wellington theatres some months ago. Of the two I think "Seal Island" is the better. For one thing the area chosen, that of an Island in the Aleutians, was a less promising one, from a photographic point of view. There are few days in the year when the photographs for this remarkable film could have been taken, yet each "shot" is perfect, the photography is clear, well-balanced and sympathetically human.
Perhaps the highlight of the film is the competent close-up photography of various types of sea-birds. Every detail of colouring and design is brought out in a flawless and immaculate manner. The photographer had obviously taken great pains to get his [unclear: material], yet the scenes were not overdrawn as so often is the case. Incidental music played a large part. Added with deft restraint it gives a charming touch of ironic humour which I had long thought quite beyond Disney's capabilities. It succeeds in changing the seals from animate protoplasms into fascinating animals with almost human qualities and traits.
Restraint was the keynote of the whole film. When, for instance, a young seal became lost and subsequently found by its mother, or when, an old male was driven from the herd, we were not dragged through the whole gamut of emotional anguish that American producers love to inflict upon their audiences.
Throughout, the film was neat and compact. The colouring seemed a little overdone in places, but I suspect that after the film was completed someone felt that primitive urge the artist who, after exam-[unclear: in] the completed picture, finds that he still has a brushful of paint left.
However, full marks to Wait Disney for ignoring the strident clamour of the American dollar and producing a really worthwhile film.