Book Review: “Walt Disney Film Archives: The Animated Movies 1921-1968”

Hi everyone!

The Walt Disney Film Archives: The Animated Movies 1921 – 1968 dropped in price from the list of $200.00 to in the $65.00 range this week on Amazon. That became too inexpensive not to purchase, and I wanted to write up a quick review. Weighing in at upwards of 15 pounds (according to Amazon, I didn’t weigh it) it is a beast of a book as far as size and will want its own coffee table. The Walt Disney Film Archives: The Animated Movies 1921-1968 feels like a $200.00 book, not only in size but the scope of content on its over 600 pages. Here is a little about what you’ll find within the pages – and even if the price raises back up over $100.00, it would still be a great price for a book that you’ll want to reference for years to come.

The Walt Disney Film Archives: The Animated Movies 1921-1968 begins with a foreward by John Lasseter, who lets readers know that the book “covers all the animation work overseen by Walt Disney himself”. Following that, the chapters delve into topics from the beginning of Walt’s animation journey, including Laugh-O-Grams, the Alice Comedies, Hyperion Studios, a detailed chapter on the making of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and other films that Walt Disney was personally involved with, until the last animated film that he personally oversaw, The Jungle Book (see my interview with Floyd Norman about the making of that movie).
Disney film lovers will also be interested in the chapter on The Song of the South, which gives a nice overview of the making of the film and touches on the controversy surrounding it.
The creation of Oswald is early on in the book, as is how Walt Disney lost the rights to him. Chapters are not only given to films such as the above mentioned Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, along with Dumbo, Fantasia, Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland and other big name films, but also to smaller ones – one of my personal favorites is The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad.
I flipped through much of the book, stopping on chapters of first interest to me. There is such a wealth of concept art and fully realized artwork, along with photos I’ve never seen before. The Walt Disney Film Archives: The Animated Movies 1921-1968 is a love letter to Disney animation, and the price is really irresistible right now.
From Taschen, the book contains:
  • 1,500 illustrations and essays by eminent Disney experts.
  • Masterful cel setups provide highly detailed illustrations of famous film scenes.
  • Remarkable behind-the-scenes insight with excerpts from story conferences with Walt and his staff and rare pictures taken by Disney studio photographers
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