As usual, Charlie Brown is the butt of all the other schoolkids' jokes. He's no good on the baseball field, and his overimaginative beagle Snoopy is more than a handful. The kids even have a song about him: "Failure Face." But one day he wins the school spelling bee and gets to go to The City to compete in the National Eliminations Spelling Bee, Second Grade division, and the gang hails him as "Champion Charlie Brown"! But will he triumph in the big time? This was not one of the long series of "Peanuts" TV specials, but the cartoon's very first film feature, released in 1969. It holds up well, both despite and because of some semi-psychedelic sequences (Snoopy fighting the Red Baron and imagining himself in a hard-fought hockey game, Schroeder performing a fantasy tribute to Beethoven, even a stirring tribute to the National Anthem), and basically a fine, honest story. (I love the opening sequence in which Linus, Lucy, and Charlie Brown look at the clouds, as well as Linus's withdrawal symptoms after he hands over his beloved blanket to Charlie Brown.) The story is by Charles Schulz, and longtime director Bill Melendez contributes the voice of Snoopy. Another lovely touch: the end credits run animated portraits of many of the film's creators.
The review of this Movie prepared by David Loftus