The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad Poster

The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949)

Animation | Family  | Horror
IMDB Rayting:   7.1/10
Country: USA
Language: English

An animated adaptation of "The Wind in the Willows" followed by an adaptation of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow".

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Billy-87 29 May 1999

Finally Walt Disney Home Video has got their act together and released "The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad" in its entirety (the two stories have been available in separate forms for quite some time). I'll admit that the clunky title doesn't inspire much more enthusiasm than it did back in 1949 (the film tanked, from what I've heard), but I hope some people will give this a chance just based on the Disney name. "The Wind in the Willows", narrated by Basil Rathbone, is a delightfully comic adaptation of Kenneth Grahame's classic novel, keeping the proper British tone (children may not get some of the UK slang used) while still remaining a lot of fun. The highlight is the courtroom scene, featuring a bullying prosecutor (voiced by Disney animator/voice artist John McLeish, who also narrated the Goofy "How to" shorts) going toe-to-toe with a wonderfully insolent Toad (a great performance by Eric Blore). "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow", based on a story (not a novel, as the film suggests) by Washington Irving, is even better, making the most of its American colonial setting with some especially interesting layouts and backgrounds. The humor found in the rivalry between schoolteacher Ichabod Crane and local roughneck Brom Bones for the hand of the manipulative tease ("coquette", in the film) Katrina von Tassel is some of Disney's best. The Halloween sequence leading up to the Headless Horseman's appearance is the most skillfully directed piece of animation I have ever seen outside of "Fantasia", conveying a magnificent sense of dread through both sound (the chilling echo of whistling and laughter, crickets chanting Ichabod's name, frogs croaking "headless horseman" over and over) and image (fireflies inside a tree trunk forming the eyes of a shrouded ghost, Ichabod's sweaty, nervous terror, the subtle cloud effect of hands closing over the moon). This is far more frightening than any horror film I have seen. All in all, a smart (listen to the narration and learn some new vocabulary words) film in every way. One final note: I have not seen this film in years (I saw it plenty of times on The Disney Channel during the 1980s), and I noticed the many scenes involving both alcohol and weapons, particularly in "The Wind and the Willows" segment. I accepted the scenes back then as a child and had no problem with them now, thanks to the general tone of the picture. Although the concept of Toad being restrained from blasting a bayonet-wielding weasel with a shotgun and seeing Toad and his friends running from various flying knives, swords, and axes sounds like something to stay away from, it is all harmless fun. Give it a chance.

TheLittleSongbird 30 March 2010

I am a huge Disney fan at 17, and while The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr Toad is not the best of the Disney canon, it is hugely enjoyable and definitely worth seeing. While I would rank both The Wind in the Willows and The Legend of Sleepy Hollow a 9/10, personally if I were to say which was better, the latter but only marginally. Merely because it holds more of a nostalgic value.

The Wind in the Willows is a condensed but very faithful 30 minute or so cartoon, based on the Kenneth Graheme literary classic. While it does drag in places, it does very well with what it crams into such a short running time. It is very lovingly animated, with some rich backgrounds and lovely colours. I also liked the music, it was lyrical, rousing and fun, the sort of music you will find in a Silly Symphony. Also the voice acting is very expressive, Basil Rathbone who I know best as Sherlock Holmes(well one of the actors playing the fictional detective) is brilliant as the narrator and Eric Blore is a lot of fun as Toad. Other characters I liked were Badger, who is very firm and gruff and Cyril, the Horse, a character who featured in one of the more memorable scenes from the cartoon, second only to the hilarious Courtroom scene.

On the other hand, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is a terrifying yet worthwhile classic. One of my favourite moments in anything to do with Disney along with Willie the Operatic Whale. Bing Crosby is sublime as the narrator, never overdoing it, it was just right. The animation has an appropriately dark visual style, and the music is also memorable and fitting. The famous story features a schoolmaster named Ichabod Crane, and his love for Katrina and rivalry between him and Brom Bones, who like Gaston is a handsome tower of strength. Perhaps the most memorable moment of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is the part when Ichabod meets the Headless Horseman, a character that was so scary he gave me nightmares when I was little. The Headless Horseman is the sort of character who is imitated in stuff like Scooby Doo yet never as well, the very look of him here makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck.

Overall, this is an excellent binding of two classic stories. 9/10 Bethany Cox

gbheron 10 October 2002

Made at the end of the first age of Disney animation, "The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad" consists of two separate animated adaptations of classic stories. The Ichabod of the title is Ichabod Crane from "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow", and the Mr. Toad is J. Thaddeus Toad from the "Wind in the Willows". Each is short, running only about 35 minutes apiece, and is narrated by top of the line actors, Basil Rathbone doing the honors for "The Wind in the Willows", and Bing Crosby for "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow". I've not read either story so can't judge the adaptations accuracy, but it doesn't matter. Both stories are highly entertaining, and if you like the old school Disney animation, you won't be disappointed.

BrandtSponseller 4 November 2007

Generally underrated, or at least relatively overlooked, The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad is a favorite of mine that just keeps getting better with each viewing. I've seen it probably ten times over the years, yet I keep noticing subtle visual jokes and layers of meaning that I previously missed. For just one example, only on this last viewing did I finally notice the weasel sleeping in Toad Hall who is supported by a woman in a painting. My appreciation of the beautiful animation in general also seems to grow with each viewing.

The film consists of two halves, the first a Disneyfied version of Kenneth Grahame's "Wind in the Willows", the second a Disneyfied version of Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow". While both can be read as light, often surreal, sometimes goofy, and always-funny stories (and hence kids, young and old--time for me to raise my hand--can appreciate them), adults can easily read various "deeper" meanings into the tales.

For example, Mr. Toad's fickle manias and the predicament they lead to could be seen as a criticism of consumerism. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow could be read as an exemplification of the value of Taoist or Zen-Buddhist mindfulness and "going with the flow"--as well as a warning about letting delusions take hold instead. This isn't to say that these interpretations were intended by Grahame, Irving, or Disney's artists, or that they're the "right" interpretations, just that they're made possible and plausible by the depth of the material.

Ron Oliver 15 September 2003

From English and American literature come two fabulous characters who will forever excite readers with THE ADVENTURES OF ICHABOD AND MR. TOAD.

This was the last of Disney's compilation or anthology films - a form necessitated by the exigencies of the War years - and is actually a double featurette. Both halves would eventually be spun off into individual short subjects and work very well independently of each other. Their connections are quite tenuous: besides featuring 'fabulous characters' each story showcases a celebrated wild ride - one of which would, indeed, provide a long-lasting 'dark show' attraction at Disneyland.

First up is THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS, which gives a drastically shortened & much revised view of Kenneth Grahame's classic book, focusing entirely on the chapters dealing with the exploits of the marvelous Mr. Toad and the troubles arising from his fixation with motorcars & speed (although much more time is spent showing him in his canary-coloured gypsy cart). As such, it is a fine introduction to Toad Hall, but one can only wonder what Disney would have done with a feature length animated film that included the bucolic charm of the novel, the glories of the Riverbank & the terrors of the Wild Wood as well as the high jinks. The production values are excellent, with narration by the inimitable Basil Rathbone, and Eric Blore & J. Pat O'Malley obviously have a high time voicing the wanton Toad and his equine pal Cyril Proudbottom, but a true fan of Grahame's original creation can't help longing for a little more...

Washington Irving's famous story, THE LEGEND OF SLEEPY HOLLOW, comes alive in the second half of the movie. Bing Crosby's singing narration and the top-notch animation tell a tale of humor and genuine fright. Ichabod Crane, the pedantic pedagogue, is a triumph of the animators' art, while the film's climax - the ride through the Hollow & the appearance of the hideous Hessian - is a celebration of pacing and stylistic understatement. Based on material much shorter than Grahame's, the plot fits into the half hour time slot more easily and still has the luxury of introducing a wholly original & hilarious minor character in the chubby little Tilda, who completely steals the dancing sequence. It is the Horseman, however, who should remain the longest in the viewer's uneasy dreams - the embodiment of every Halloween nightmare.

Doylenf 25 June 2004

The Disney animators were still at the height of their genius when they made this double featurette based on classic American folklore. The clever humor and artful animation brighten both tales, but it's likely to be the Ichabod tale based on "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" that you're going to remember...especially for that final confrontation of the frightened Ichabod with the Headless Horseman! And there hasn't been a funnier minor character in a Disney film than the chubby Tilda who finds herself being whirled onto the dance floor by Bram Bones when he seeks revenge on Ichabod. This sequence is one of the funniest ever in a Disney film and is followed by the payoff "fright" sequence as Ichabod makes his way home after the party.

The toad story is a bit ponderous but is also brightened by clever animation and bits of humor with some droll voice overs supplied by Eric Blore and Pat O'Malley.

It's pure fantasy with all the Disney magic on hand. And that final encounter with the Headless Horseman makes this ideal for viewing on Halloween!

edboles 20 July 2002

Excellent feature comprising of 2 half-hour segments. The animation is first rate, particularly on Ichabod's journey home through the woods, which is the highlight of the film. The quality of the direction and storytelling is excellent, and though both are quite short, they are remarkably concise and fully formed, and actually feel like they are both feature length. They are both highly atmospheric, and the characterisations are top-notch. There are some aspects of the film which have dated it somewhat, but you get past that soon enough. This film is also notable for it's fine use of colour. Anyone with an interest in animation should see this film.

medic249a2 27 July 2004

Having never seen 'Mr. Toad', I can only comment on the 'Legend of Sleepy Hollow', having seen it many times as a child when 'Disney's Wonderful World' was running on the CBC. This has got to be some of the greatest work of Walt Disney. Washington Irving's original story is closely followed, unlike Tim Burton's 1999 version (still an awesome movie in its own right). The sequence involving Ichabod Crane's terrifying ride through the woods is undoubtedly the best, from the toads croaking 'Ichabod' to the Headless Horseman chasing Ichabod through the woods - it's alternately funny and frightening. It always appeared at Halloween on the Disney show, and I can't remember ever missing it.

jimjo1216 31 August 2013

It seems like the best Disney animated classics opened with a shot of a hardcover storybook, and that's doubly true for this film, which ties together literary classics "The Wind in the Willows" (narrated by Basil Rathbone) and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" (narrated and sung by Bing Crosby). Each segment runs just over 30 minutes. Both stories are entertaining and fun for all ages, with excellent character animation from Disney's Old Men.

"Sleepy Hollow" has become a Halloween favorite, but I feel that "The Wind in the Willows" is the stronger short. It's just great, with Eric Blore's enthusiastic Mr. Toad, a Cockney horse, motor mania, devious weasels, a prison escape, and a brilliantly madcap free-for-all at Toad Hall. "Sleepy Hollow" takes a while building to the famous Headless Horseman climax, and the anachronistic Ken Darby pop tunes don't feel right with the colonial setting. The library framing device ties the two animated segments together nicely, and the celebrity narrators do a commendable job. A great little movie.

bkoganbing 1 December 2012

I guess you describe this Walt Disney classic as a cartoon/cartoon. Two separate stories done to fill out one barely over an hour film. After 63 years it still has enough magic to entertain.

Why Disney reversed the order of The Adventures Of Ichabod and Mr. Toad I've not figured out since the Mr. Toad story comes first. Basil Rathbone narrates this part and Eric Blore is delightful as that rascally scamp J. Thaddeus Toad who has the finest estate on riverbank. But he's a spendthrift and really needs a keeper. Which his friends the badger, the rabbit and the mole supply.

Blore reached back to his own career in interpreting Toad and I think Disney and his staff of animators must have seen him in The Road To Zanzibar and his character of Bates the valet to The Lone Wolf in that series. In Zanzibar Blore has a brief but memorable part as an eccentric millionaire who sells Crosby and Hope and diamond mine, but he's also the family idiot and he has no mines to sell or rights to sell them. And seeing how his Toad character escapes from the law reminds me so much of Bates making fools of the law in helping Warren William outwit them.

Washington Irving's Legend Of Sleepy Hollow is the basis for Ichabod and Bing Crosby narrates and sings with Jud Conlon's Rhythmaires backing him up and occasionally providing a voice. Ichabod Crane the new schoolmaster is cutting in on Brom Bones and his wooing of the richest girl in town Katrina Von Tassel. We all know how Brom Bones got Ichabod out of town on a stormy Halloween night, but you have to see the fine animation that Disney did for this film to really appreciate it.

Bing gets three songs to sing in this film, Ichabod Crane, Katrina, and The Headless Horseman. The last is really memorable and a great song for kids of all ages on a Halloween night.

Remember folks, you can't reason with a headless man.

CuriosityKilledShawn 24 October 2010

They got the title wrong. It should be "The Adventures of Mr. Toad and Ichabod" as the Wind and the Willows story comes first. And what a great story it is.

Set mostly at Christmas, the Mr. Toad story has a wonderful festive feel and really does stand on its own. It's such a shame that the dull, boring Legend of Sleepy Hollow story bogs it down.

I wasn't particularly entertained by the Tim Burton film but at least stuff happened in it. More than 25 minutes of this version is dedicated to Ichabod romancing some woman and only 60 seconds from the end to we get to see a headless horseman. Since I bought the DVD after the halloween-ish cover caught my interest I was kinda annoyed that it failed on this promise but delivered a nice Xmas story, if entirely unexpected.

This was my first encounter with a Disney "Package" film and I have to admit that Mr. Toad should have been released independently as a short and Ichabod forgotten about completely.

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