A psychologist who contended that the 1942 Walt Disney classic "Bambi" may be too upsetting for some very young children to watch says she didn't expect her comments to create such a stir.
"I don't have a vendetta against Bambi. I really don't give a darn. It was just my personal opinion," Louise Bates Ames, associate director of the Gesell Institute of Human Development, said Wednesday.Ames, who for 25 years wrote a syndicated column on child behavior, told USA Today last week that she personally would not take a child 5 years or younger to see the G-rated animated movie, which has drawn large audiences since its recent re-release.
For very young children, "possibly their worst fear is they would lose their mother or father," she said.
That is exactly what happens to Bambi, the young deer and prince of the forest whose mother dies off-screen at the hands of a hunter.
"It's a movie in which a child loses its mother and there is no resolution. The mother (is just) gone," she said."I felt it would be too hard for many children."
Howard Green, a Disney spokesman in Burbank, Calif., said the film contains many moral lessons about life and man's relationship to animals which "outweigh any possible complaints" anyone might have.
"Clearly the film is one of the most respected and critically acclaimed of all animated films," Green said. "Children have been seeing it since 1942, and I don't think any damage has been done.
After the newspaper article appeared, Ames said she was bombarded with telephone calls from all over the country.