IT'S BEEN stretched, Cinemascoped, polished frame by frame and, at one point, even adopted by the dope heads as their signature film. That was 1970 when users looking for added visual thrill watched big-screen showings of ''Fantasia'' and were further transported by it.
In 1982, it was re-released with a new score conducted by Irwin Kostal and, in all, has been re-released eight times, this being the eighth. Not bad for a film that didn't make any profit when it was first released. Fifty years later, it is one of the bigger money makers for the Walt Disney Studios, who are re-issuing it on its 50th anniversary.
Time has taken nothing from it. Of course, on this particular occasion, the film has been re-processed. It now has a richer, sharper, more colorful hue, and that's very nice. It always is when Hollywood technicians re-process an old print, but the remarkable thing about ''Fantasia'' is that we never cease to marvel at it, its bright, vivid texture, its amazing imagery, its rather remarkable beauty.
''Fantasia'' includes eight classical compositions that are illustrated by Disney images including fairies, dancing hippopotamuses and even Mickey Mouse, who, in this instance, is Dukas, ''The Sorcerer's Apprentice.''
Other selections are Bach's Tocatta and Fugue in D Minor, ''The Nutcracker Suite'' by Tchaikovsky, Beethoven's ''Pastoral'' Symphony, Mussorgsky's ''Night on Bald Mountain, Stravinsky's ''Rite of Spring,'' Ponchielli's ''Dance of the Hours'' and Schubert's ''Ave Maria.''
They may not be your favorite compositions, but they serve; it is obvious that Disney and his colleagues chose some of the compositions because they would lend themselves so well to illustration.
''Fantasia,'' which cost $2,280,000 to produce, a heady sum in 1940, opens here today. That is, it reopens and probably will, periodically, in the years to come. It should. It is always worth another look, another hear.
**** Disney images illustrate a selection of musical classics.
CAST: Leopold Stowkowski leading the Philadelphia Orchestra
RUNNING TIME: Two hours