Book Review: TASCHEN’s $25 “The Walt Disney Film Archives: The Animated Movies 1921-1968” 40th Anniversary Condensed Format

Hi everyone!

I purchased the smaller 40th anniversary version of TASCHEN’s “The Walt Disney Film Archives: The Animated Movies 1921-1968” by Daniel Kothenschulte from Amazon. We have the XXL version, which is huge – this is a small book with all of the same content, condensed. I have already reviewed Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse – the Ultimate History, another $25 smaller book. I don’t know how long these condensed versions (6.25 x 1.7 x 8.5 inches, 512 pages) will be available or if they will go up in price.

First, even though there is SO much text on the pages, I find the typeface very easy to read. That is not always the case with the books I read with this size text.

There are 28 chapters from Laugh-o-grams to The Jungle Book, which was the last film to be produced by Walt Disney before he passed. The book includes a chapter on the history and controversy of Song of the South written by Leonard Maltin. There are so many photos, so much artwork, so much history and text crammed into this book.

Author Mindy Johnson writes the Peter Pan chapter, and Charles Solomon takes over a number of chapters, including One Hundred and One Dalmatians. He talks about how Sleeping Beauty was a box office disappointment (to the point where another fairy tale would not be made until The Little Mermaid 30 years later) and Walt was pressured by his financial advisors to not make animated films anymore. The Mary Poppins chapter tells the story of P.L. Travers that was immortalized (and dramatized) in Saving Mr. Banks. There is a lot to consume in the book, and I’ve not yet finished it. When we bought the large version, I never read it all the way through – it had to be put on a large surface and opened, not really conducive to reading (but very good for looking at the photos and artwork in larger sizes).

For those who didn’t want to spend upwards of $200 on the XXL version, this 40th anniversary edition of  The Walt Disney Film Archives: The Animated Movies 1921-1968 is a very good buy from TASCHEN right now.

Information on “The Walt Disney Film Archives: The Animated Movies 1921-1968” from Taschen:

One of the most creative minds of the 20th century, Walt Disney created a unique and unrivaled imaginative universe. Like scarcely any other classics of cinema, his astonishing collection of animated cartoons revolutionized storytelling on screen and enchant to this day across geographies and generations.


This expansively illustrated publication on Disney animation gathers hundreds of images as well as essays by Disney experts, taking us to the beating heart of the studio’s “Golden Age of Animation.” We trace Disney’s complete animation journey from the silent film era, through his first full-length feature Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) and Fantasia (1940), right up to his last masterpieces Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree (1966) and The Jungle Book (1967).

With extensive research conducted through the historical collections of the Walt Disney Company, as well as private collections, editor Daniel Kothenschulte curates some of the most precious concept paintings and storyboards to reveal just how these animation triumphs came to life. Masterful cel setups provide highly detailed illustrations of famous film scenes while rare pictures taken by Disney photographers bring a privileged insider’s view to the studio’s creative process.Each of the major animated features that were made during Walt’s lifetime―including Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo, Bambi, Cinderella, Peter Pan, and One Hundred and One Dalmatians―is given its own focus chapter, without forgetting less-familiar gems such as the experimental short films of the Silly Symphonies series and under-appreciated episodic musical films such as Make Mine Music and Melody Time.

Realizing the Disney style was a collective project and, as much as the master himself, The Walt Disney Film Archives acknowledges the outstanding animators and designers who influenced the style of the studio, among them Albert Hurter, Gustaf Tenggren, Kay Nielsen, Mary Blair, Sylvia Holland, Tyrus Wong, Ken Anderson, Eyvind Earle, and Walt Peregoy.

About the 40th anniversary books:

TASCHEN turns 40 this year! Since we started our work as cultural archaeologists in 1980, TASCHEN has become synonymous with accessible publishing, helping bookworms around the world curate their own library of art, anthropology, and aphrodisia at an unbeatable price. In 2020, we celebrate 40 years of incredible books by staying true to our company credo. The 40 series presents new editions of some of the stars of our program—now more compact, friendly in price, and still realized with the same commitment to impeccable production.

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