The Walt Disney Film Archives The Animated Movies

The Walt Disney Film Archives The Animated Movies 1921-1968

This is the XXL version of the book and has 620 pages. It was published in 2016. The book is huge and comes in its own keepsake box with a handle on it so you can carry it around. You really need to put the book on a table because it weighs 14 pounds. It is a collection of the Disney Archives and private collections. If you already have some books about Disney movies you will find some art you have never seen before. There are around 1,500 images in this book. The book cover is bonded with a linnen back and has gold embossing. The foreword is written by John Lasseter.


The book is edited by Daniel Kotheschulte, a German who is also a curator, lecturer on film and art history. Apart from the beautiful images the book is very well documented by some professional authors that have written books about Disney animation before. J.B. Kaufman who also wrote ‘Walt in Wonderland’, ‘South of the Border’, ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The Art and Creation of Walt Disney’s Classic Film’, ‘The Making of Walt Disney’s Fun and Fancy Free’ and Walt Disney’s Silly Symphonies to name a few. Didier Chez who published the book series Walt’s People, with Disney artists interviews and the book series ‘They Drew as they Pleased’. The other authors are Russel Merrit, Charles Solomon, Katja Lüthge and Brian Sibley. John Lasseter wrote the foreword.


The Early Years

The book begins in 1921 when Walt Disney started making animations in Kansas at the Laugh-O-grams studios. He started making animations combined with live-action in the Alice Comedies. In the middle of production Walt Disney moved to Los Angeles and created the cartoon series Oswald the Lucky Rabbit. He lost the rights to that character and in 1928 the studio created Mickey Mouse. From 1926 until 1940 the Walt Disney Studio expanded at Hyperion avenue. Apart from the Mickey Mouse cartoons, Disney started to experiment with a series of cartoons called the Silly Symphonies. Animation was still a new medium and with each new cartoon the technical and draughtsmanship grew. Walt Disney hired many fine artists to work at the studio. In 1937 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the first the feature length animation. The style of the film was inspired by European children’s book artists like Arthur Rackham. In 1940 Pinocchio was released. In this movie the Disney artists perfected their style and a lot of new animation inventions were made. In this book a lot of the inspirational sketches and background are shown. The Disney Studios slowly developed a recognisable style which would become ‘The Disney Style’.

The War Years

In 1940 the most experimental animation film was released ‘Fantasia’. Based on a classical music score. This movie had the most stunning animations and artistry, but failed at the box office. Because of World War II, Disney lost the European distribution of his films. At this time a new studio was build that could house the expanding staff. In ‘The Reluctant Dragon’ Robert Benchley takes a tour through the new studio. The Walt Disney Studio lost a lot of money and had to produce a cheaper and uplifting animation. In 1941 Dumbo was released and was a huge success. A year later the more realistic feature Bambi was released. It was yet a stunning animation with lush backgrounds but also lost money. During World War II a big part of the Walt Disney Studios became an army base. The Disney Studios started to make instructional movies for the army. It is for the first time that art from these movies is discussed and shown extensively. The films that followed had to be produced at lower costs and would be segmented animation features with a compilation of shorts. In 1942 and 1944 ‘Saludos Amigos’ and ‘Three Caballeros’ were produced which featured Donald Duck. After that Disney produced shorts and the feature ‘Victory through Air Power’ that was funded by the US government. The style of the Disney movies changed dramatically. On e of the most influential artist was Mary Blair, who worked in a more graphical style. ‘Make Mine Music’, ’Fun and Fancy Free’ and ‘Melody Time’ were animation features with compilations of animation short.

The Fifties

In 1946 the movie ‘Song of the South’ was released. It was a combination of live-action and animation. It is great that this book included this film, because it now had been banned because of the derogatory nature depicting Blacks. In 1949 ‘The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad was released. In the same year ‘So Dear to my Heart’ was released, a film with live-action and some animation shorts. In 1950 Cinderella was released. It was the first animated feature after 9 years. Cinderella was an instant succes. One the most influential artists was Mary Blair who also was the designer for ‘Alice in Wonderland’ that was released in 1951. In the fifties Disney classics as ‘Peter Pan’ (1953), ‘Lady and the Tramp’ (1955) were released. The fifties were also a time of space travel. The Disney Studios produced several animations for the TV show ‘The Wonderful World of Walt Disney’. In 1959 the stunning animation feature ‘Sleeping Beauty’ was released, with extraordinary background art by artist Eyvind Earle.

The Sixties

The art in Disney movies also reflected the time era. Disney artist Walt Peregoy would be the main designer for films like ‘One Hundred and One Dalmatians’ (1961) and ‘The Sword in the Stone’ (1963). Mary Poppins (1964) was a smashing hit and used live-action together with animation. In 1966 and 1968 two Winnie the Pooh movies were made: ‘Winnie the Pooh and the honey tree’ and Winnie the Pooh and a blustery day’. In 1966 Walt Disney died and he never saw the finished version of ‘Jungle Book’.

This book is the first volume in a series and covers 47 years of Walt Disney animation and is the most thorough book on the subject. This is the XXl version of the book.

You can buy it on Amazon


This year also a smaller version of this book will be published. You can pre-order it here.