Sunday, October 28, 2007

Meet 'Mad' Madam Mim!

Halloween isn't just about ghosts, witches, vampires and even a headless horseman. It also brings to mind the Disney Villain.

Whether animated or in a live-action film, the villain has always fought the hero/heroine or just made their life a misery, the final usually featuring the primary villain going somewhat psychotic or superpowered. Disney's gallery of rogues is one of the best known ones, and most of the villains from the animated movies are the favorites among fans.

One relatively minor villain, when compared to the rest of Disney’s Stable of Villains, is Madam Mim. Madam Mim, or Mad Madam Mim as she is sometimes referred to, is a fictional witch, best known from the Disney movie based on The Sword in the Stone by T. H. White, where she was voiced by Martha Wentworth. The character appears in the original version of the novel, but not in the revised version more commonly known.

Her total screen time doesn’t exceed more than twenty minutes and even then her discovery is by accident due to Arthur’s desperate escape from the hawk. Had Arthur not been pursued by the hawk, he probably never would have even encountered the ‘Mad’ Madame Mim. Madame Mim is a villain by unusual circumstance and not by grand design of the story.

Personality and Character Traits:

  • Madam Mim is self-serving, bad-tempered, quite unscrupulous, and, above all, mad; she breaks rules that she herself creates or finds loopholes to take advantage of, (in the movie, she did both); she terrorizes Arthur in a demented game of cat and mouse (Merlin as well), much to her amusement; and she has no qualm with destroying either Arthur or Merlin outright. The former over his association with the latter (she has an ongoing grudge-match with the goodly wizard, Merlin, for reasons unknown).
  • She also appreciates things not for their good qualities, but for their bad qualities instead; she takes gleeful pride in how ugly she can become and she delights in withering a once beautiful rose, turning it into something ugly.
  • Mim loves to partake in games, proclaiming that she’s “…mad about games…” before beginning her enthusiastic game of cat and mouse with Arthur, (beforehand she was playing a game of solitaire).
  • Mim is also an incredibly sore loser, as evidenced when she flies into a tantrum after losing her duel to Merlin.
  • Like all evil figures, she utterly detests sunshine.
  • She is cunning and intelligent to some degree, yet reckless, and can be extremely aggressive, if not overly so when competing in one of her many ad hoc games.
  • She has two main prerogatives: 1) Entertaining herself (at whoever’s expense it may be from) and 2) being an antagonist to Merlin. In that order.

The Disney version of the character was adopted into the Donald Duck Universe where she sometimes teams up with Magica De Spell and/or the Beagle Boys. She also sometimes appeared in the Mickey Mouse Universe where she teamed up with Black Pete on occasion and even with the Phantom Blot at one point. She also was in love with Captain Hook in several stories. In many European Disney comics, she has lost her truly evil streak, and taken on a character appropriate to The Addams Family instead; morbid, but still relatively polite.

She was animated by two of Disney's legendary Nine Old Men, Milt Kahl (who also designed the character), and Frank Thomas. Kahl animated her initial interaction with Arthur, while Thomas oversaw her famous "wizard's duel" with Merlin.

The Sword in the Stone may have been forgotten or ignored by some, but the wizard's duel between the backhanded Mim and the wise Merlin remains a memorable highlight from the film and the Walt Disney Classics Collection recreates this moment in it's Gold Circle release for 2007!

"Wizards Duel" is a 3-piece boxed set that features Merlin (8-1/2"), Madam Mim (6-1/8") and Archimedes and Wart (5-1/2") released in April as a Numbered Limited Edition (NLE) in an edition size of 750.

This release not only marks the WDCC debut of Merlin, Archimedes and Madam Mim but also giving Mim the distinction of being the first Villain to be the subject of a Gold Circle release! Merlin & Mim were sculpted by Bruce Lau and Archimedes & Wart sculpted by Jacqueline Perreault Gonzales.

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