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Title Walt Disney's Nine Old Men and the Art of Animation
Author(s) John Canemaker
Publisher Hyperion; ISBN: 0786864966; (October 2001)
My Rating Unrated
Disney A new look at the lives and efforts of nine enormously talented men who worked with Walt Disney in the early years of his career. Walt personally acknowledged his appreciation for their work and their contribution to Disney's success.
Amazon Hardcover: 308 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.44 x 12.24 x 9.34

Reviewer: John Canemaker has given readers the Disney animation book that's been missing for decades. Only it's the Readers Digest version. Canemaker is forced to compact nine amazing biographies into one book. Each of his nine subjects - the core group of gifted animators who defined the look and feel of Disney animation from the 1930's through the 1970's - is deserving of far more time and space than a single volume can deliver. Nevertheless, he's done an amazing job, and he introduces us to these men with the same careful critical objectivity he did in "Before the Animation Begins", Canemaker's marvelous 1996 book focusing on the great Disney visual development and story artists.

The author gives us the best un-fairy-dusted glimpse of the real day-to-day workings of Disney's shop since animator Jack Kinney's 1988 "Walt Disney And Assorted Other Characters" (admittedly limited in objectivity, but still enormously entertaining in its candor.) It's impossible not to feel the same admiration and passion as the author. Even in his harsher analysis of temperaments and turmoil the author is writing about the best of times among a group of very real artistic heroes who were such extraordinary people that you'd have treasured any time you could have spent in their company. Sadly, Canemaker only gets to brush on topics such as how the old generation influenced the new. Many of the current generation of Disney artists are interviewed for this book and they have a great deal of insight to contribute (both Andreas Dejas and John Lasseter in particular)and one wishes that the author had been afforded the luxury of a more critical analysis of the older generation's influence on this generation -- both by their presence and their absence; e.g. - in the best chapter in the book, Milt Kahl is characterized as having had the greatest influence on the look of Disney characters.
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