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The Art of Walt Disney: From Mickey Mouse to the Magic Kingdoms and Beyond Hardcover – October 1, 2011

4.7 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Originally published in 1973, Finch’s classic book on the artistic innovations of Walt Disney has been revised and expanded several times, and with each edition his definition of "art" becomes more suspect. The book’s original material, much of which Finch wisely retains, patiently records the art, inventions and shrewd enterprises of the studio’s legendary early years, while offering a fascinating tutorial on the birth of animation. Seventy lavishly illustrated pages are devoted to the Mickey and Donald years, another 50 to the movies Snow White and Pinocchio. Walt Disney stars in these early chapters as an artistic Icarus whose prodigal budgets and "quest for perfection" pushed his production teams to unprecedented heights. An unapologetic apologist, Finch is always there to defend Disney (whom he considers "the ultimate auteur") against critics who have called him a "backward-looking" artist and even "an advocate of political authoritarianism." Such biases aside, the book manages to tell a rousing tale of Disney’s creative life—right up to his 1965 deathbed hallucination of the yet-unrealized Epcot Center. This new edition, however, also takes on Disney’s posthumous life, when his ambitions outlive his quirky personality and are carried out by foot soldiers called "imagineers." The sundry innovations of Tim Burton, Pixar and two Broadway spinoffs may loosely qualify as the "Art of Disney," but so, too, according to Finch, do the corporation’s war chest of "toontowns," movie rides and international theme parks. Boldly blurring the line between art and money, Finch’s sprawling hagiography of the Magic Kingdom touches down for a perfect Hollywood ending: "Perhaps the greatest achievement of Michael Eisner …," it concludes, "has been to build a company in which no creative endeavor need be aborted for lack of available funding."
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

The Art of Walt Disney was first published in 1973. This major revision (some 50 percent of the text is new, with 200 new illustrations) carries the Disney story up to such current feature films as Pocahontas and even stories in production like The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Finch (The Art of the Lion King, Hyperion, 1994) also continues his exploration of Disney's nonanimated enterprises: the live-action films, television productions, and Disney theme parks in the United States, Japan, and France. As one would expect, excellent full-color illustrations abound, although the type size has been reduced in comparison with the first edition, presumably for reasons of economy. Solomon (The History of Animation, LJ 12/95) takes a vertical approach to the Disney phenomenon, concentrating on the fascinating world of Disney-animated features that were never released for a variety of reasons. In doing so he draws on the resources of the studio's Animation Research Library, where he was able to take advantage of countless detailed drawings and notes preserved even for productions that never came to fruition?a common practice at Disney. In this volume the Disney connoisseur will learn about Disney projects like Chanticleer and Reynard, as well as a curious collaborative venture undertaken by Disney and Salvador Dali. Disney propaganda, training, and entertainment films made during World War II are detailed in one of the most fascinating chapters. Few Disney fans would associate the animation giant with such films as Four Methods of Flush Riveting or Prostitution and the War. As contributions to the history of animation, both volumes are essential for academic and American studies collections. Public libraries with limited budgets may opt for Finch's more broadly appealing book.?Janice Zlendich, California State Univ. Lib., Fullerton
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 504 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams; New edition (October 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810998149
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810998148
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 2 x 12 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #130,023 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Christopher Finch was born in Guernsey in the British Channel Islands, and now lives in Los Angeles. He is an artist and a photographer who has had one person shows in New York and California, and he is the author of almost thirty non-fiction books including the best sellers Rainbow: the Stormy Life of Judy Garland, The Art of Walt Disney, Jim Henson: the Works, and Norman Rockwell's America. Recently he has embarked on a series of noir-inflected mystery novels set in New York in the late 1960s and featuring the private investigator Alex Novalis. The first of these, Good Girl, Bad Girl, is to be published by Thomas & Mercer in 2013. These books draw on his own experiences in the New York art world at a time when today's SoHo was an urban wilderness with rats frolicking in the gutters and artists eking out a living in barren loft spaces. He is married to Linda Rosenkrantz, an author and a co-founder of the website Nameberry.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book gives good insight into the story of the Disney company. It was nice to hear an honest account of whether each movie was a success or failure with critics and audiences, though I feel some were a little shortchanged. A book of this size should have had a chapter (or at least a full page) dedicated to each movie. And while it is heavily illustrated, the text does not in any way rely on the pictures. I guess screen shots from the movies or brochure style pictures of the parks are "art" but based on the title I was expecting more unique in depth imagery like preproduction and concept art, storyboards, construction photos (from the parks).

If you have the older Concise edition of this book, then I don't think this one is necessary. So there are stills from a few more movies, but all the classics up to Fantasia 2000 are covered in the smaller book. Besides, the best of the new movies covered is Finding Nemo, and who doesn't have that on tape or DVD? Don't spend this much money on a few screen shots, just watch your movie. And I was particularly interested in seeing some of the new parks that weren't in the other book (California Adventure and Tokyo DisneySea) but alas they accounted for about 3 pages. Just a warning because the annoying shrink wrap prevents anyone from flipping through to decide based on the contents whether or not to fork over that much money (and the cover is so enticing...).

If you have never read anything about Disney this is a great place to start, but if you already have a collection of Disney books (especially this one's concise ed.) then this one doesn't have much more to offer. And if your true passion is in the theme parks, don't let this deceptive title make you believe that equal emphasis is given to the "Magic Kingdoms". There are way better (and cheaper) books on that subject that will give you much more insight.
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Format: Hardcover
This book is packed with photographs, drawings and artwork from Walt Disney's life and from the Walt Disney Company. In addition to the all the images, there is a lot of good information about Walt Disney and the Disney Company in the text. Even the cover of this book is well done and attractive. Anyone could feel proud to have this book sitting on his or her coffee table.
The book was well researched and contains a lot of historical information about Walt Disney and the Disney Company. In terms of information on Walt, it is not as complete as some of the biographies of Disney that I read. However, it is a very good overview of Disney's life and a good chronology of the Disney Company.
I appreciated the way that the artwork was coordinated with the text and well explained. There is artwork and photographs from Disney's very early days all the way through to the 1990s. The author did not seem to miss anything in this book.
I highly recommend this book to anyone that enjoys the art of Walt Disney and the Disney Company and would like to know both a little better.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have all previous editions of this book. This edition continues the excellence of these prior editions with a new section on Pixar, new entries on recent animated features including "Tangled", plus updated theme park information. His summary of each movie is honest and informative. As usual, the illustrations are lavish in scope and quantity.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Absolutely obsessed with this book! I'm a huge Disney fan and I have an annual pass to Disneyland. I thought about buying this book there but always decided that it would be too heavy to carry around and was pricey. Amazon's price was great so I bit the bullet and purchased it. Best purchase I've made. I get such joy out of this book and any Disney fan will too! It's a wonderful keepsake to pass on from generation to generation!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I got this book for my daughter. This is her review: As a lover of anything and everything Disney, I was absolutely in love with this book as soon as I laid my eyes on it. It not only includes hundreds of pages of information, but also features many beautiful pictures from movies, concept art, and more. I could spend hours reading this book, and would highly recommend it to anyone who really loves Walt Disney's work.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a great book for any adult Disney fan. We purchased this book for a 20 year old Disney fanatic and she loved it!
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Format: Hardcover
Hard to believe that the Disney enterprise was inspired by one single rat, but that mouse, Mickey Mouse is the most recognized character of all time.
In the updated book, Walt Disney: From Magic Mickey Mouse to the Magic Kingdoms and Beyond by Christopher Finch you are taken inside this world of cartoon magic. The story begins as the young cartoonist Walt Disney came up with a simple idea and came up with Steamboat Willie.
The book has lots of written text and beautifully illustrated plates from the cartoons to the first drafts of drawings. You also are told the story behind the story of other delightful characters like Goofy, Donald Duck, and Snow White to name a few. The Disney parks, the movies, and the hidden world of Disney are all brought to life in this beautifully crafted book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is not just a book for Disney art lovers -- it is a terrific background on the Disney Company as a whole and the process in the art of animation. It goes into detail as to the extent of Walt's genius and leadership abilities. Never the less, the art in this collection is phenomenal!! I personally love the preliminary sketches and the process that eventually become what you see on the screen. There is also a chapter on the role the Disney Studios played during WWII. I will cherish this edition for many years to come.
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