The Little Mermaid

United States, 1989

Glen Keane

Rough animation drawing

Graphite on paper

Film
A sketch of Ariel, the little mermaid, seeming to swim and float on the paper, her hair flowing freely around her face as she stares directly towards the viewer

The mermaid princess Ariel dreams of the surface world shimmering above the ocean. The passing ships churn waves of curiosity in their wake, and she spends her days collecting the trinkets that wash overboard with Flounder. Too bad her father, King Triton, forbids her to explore the surface, preferring she enchant their underwater subjects with her miraculous singing voice. Out of all the king’s daughters, Ariel’s voice is the most majestic, a fact that riles the sea witch Ursula.

When one of those passing ships catches fire, Ariel swims to the rescue, saving the charming Prince Eric from drowning. When he awakes, dreaming of the woman who saved him and not realising it was a mermaid, Ariels sees her opportunity to follow her dreams. The only problem are her fins; she can’t join Prince Eric above the ocean. Ursula offers a devil’s bargain that could solve all Ariel’s problems though, for a price.

Brimming with charming underwater characters, a headstrong princess and unforgettable musical numbers, The Little Mermaid is one of the most iconic movies of all time. Not only did it endear itself to audiences around the world, it helped usher in the Disney renaissance, an era of unparalleled critical and commercial success that led to Aladdin (1992), Beauty and the Beast (1991) and the The Lion King (1994).

The above concept sketch from legendary animator Glenn Keane demonstrates all of Ariel’s wide-eyed will and exuberance and serves as a prototype of a famous shot from the iconic song “Part of Your World”.

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Credits

visual artist

Glen Keane

production company

Walt Disney Animation Studios

co-director

Ron Clements

John Musker

Duration

01:23:00:00

Production places
United States
Production dates
1989

Collection metadata

ACMI Identifier

302287

Language

English

Audience classification

G

Subject categories

Adaptations

Animation

Animation → Animated films - United States

Childrens Films

Childrens Films → Children 6-12

Childrens Films → Children's films - United States

Feature films

Feature films → Feature films - United States

Literature → Andersen, H. C. (Hans Christian), 1805-1875

Literature → Children's literature - Film and video adaptations

Literature → Literature

Sound/audio

Sound

Colour

Colour

Materials

Graphite on paper

Holdings

16mm film; Access Print (Section 1)

Collected

43838 times

Please note: this archive is an ongoing body of work. Sometimes the credit information (director, year etc) isn’t available so these fields may be left blank; we are progressively filling these in with further research.

Cite this work on Wikipedia

If you would like to cite this item, please use the following template: {{cite web |url=https://acmi.net.au/works/81217--the-little-mermaid/ |title=The Little Mermaid |author=Australian Centre for the Moving Image |access-date=27 September 2021 |publisher=Australian Centre for the Moving Image}}