A fellow movie columnist (reputable, “name” guy, works for big-city newspaper) wasn’t permitted to post this, so he sent it to me: “Just about every movie now gets a ‘director’s cut’ DVD, but I must admit I still almost sprung out of my seat when I received a package containing Bambi: The Director’s Cut. What really got me was the sticker: ‘Contains never-before-seen footage of the death of Bambi’s mother.’ Holy moley! The original Walt Disney film never showed this traumatic event (it was signaled by the sound of a gunshot) and yet this sequence is credited with sending generations of children into therapy. I was neither here nor there when I saw it as a kid, but when I re-saw the film as an adult in a crowded theater in Boston, I could hear high-pitched voices in the audience whimpering, ‘Where’s Bambi’s mommy?’, ‘What happened?’, ‘Did Bambi’s mother die?’ and ‘Will you ever die, Mommy?’. And yet it turns out that the first cut of Bambi included an entire extra minute involving the death of Bambi’s mom, and the reaction to it wasn’t conclusively negative. There were some who thought — and some modern-day psychiatrists on the featurette agree — that the scene was quite moving and poetic. As Dr. Robert Bleb of the University of Pennsylvania states: ‘Children who see this [version] now are likely to become less troubled than audiences of the past because what they see is so much less horrific than what those other children had only to imagine.’ I’ve seen it and I think he’s right. Here’s how it goes: As in the released version, Bambi and his mom are happily frolicking to celebrate the new spring when the mom senses the approach of Man and tells Bambi to run. The two of them sprint across a field, and as the camera stays on Bambi, a shot rings out. But this time there’s a quick cut back to Bambi’s mother, whose head jerks back as her body hits the ground, sending up a thin cloud of snow dust. (A faint trickle of blood is visible behind her.) She lies on the snow, her breath vaporizing in the air, and she whispers with her last breath, ‘Bambi.’ After the vapor of the mother’s last words dissipates and her eyes become shrouded with what look like white drapes, her deer spirit levitates out of her body with newly-sprouted wings slowly flapping her heavenward while Edward H. Plumb’s lush score swells to a crescendo. A trio of sweetly chirping bluebirds escorts her up to a thick layer of white puffy clouds, which the mom’s deer spirit passes through alone. On the other side, she is greeted by a large gathering of similar deer spirits, including one who maternally licks her on the head and says in a soft voice, ‘Welcome home.’ (Gulp…talk about the cycle of life.) Then the action returns to Bambi alone in the forest as seen in the original release, with him calling for his mommy until he is greeted by his father, the Great Prince. At the end, when Bambi has triumph- antly taken his father’s place, a superimposed picture of the mother appears in the upper-left corner of the frame, in the sky. She’s smiling down at Bambi, though if you look closely her head appears to be mounted on a wall. That Walt Disney was a cruel ironist. By the way, Happy April 1st.”