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Walt Disney's Silly Symphonies: A Companion to the Classic Cartoon Series

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-8886155274
ISBN-10: 8886155271
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Editorial Reviews


"... we could jump straight into the lavishly illustrated pages of this coffee-table book...each and every day!" -- Ramin Zahed, Animation Magazine, July 2007

From the Publisher

"Merritt and Kaufman's Silly Symphonies is a must-have reference for everyone, from Disney aficionados to aspiring animators, anyone interested in animation history. . . . the book is a necessity, a first-class piece of research." --Jerry Beck of Cartoonbrew.com

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: La Cineteca del Friuli (October 6, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 8886155271
  • ISBN-13: 978-8886155274
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 1 x 10.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,584,330 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
For those of us who have appreciated the great merits of Disney's series of Silly Symphony cartoons, this book is ALMOST a dream come true. For reference purposes, it is hard to imagine that anyone could surpass the astonishing quantity of information provided for each animated short, including detailed production credits (broken down to the specific artists who worked on each scene), release dates, story synopses, and almost anything one could want to know about each of these Disney gems. While some of the more obscure information, such as the identities of concept/inspirational artists and background painters, is not always provided, it is obvious that this book contains as much detail as is contained in the Disney studio files. The book is particular important for anyone who collects Disney animation art from the 1930s, since it is the first comprehensive source that can be used in identifying the various artists who were responsible for some of the best artwork ever produced by the studio.

But....Anyone who is expecting an entertaining book with many nice pictures from the Silly Symphony cartoons will probably be disappointed. While some images from each cartoon are included, the choice of illustrations for inclusion in this otherwise exemplary book is markedly uninspired. For the most part the illustrations are scans from the actual cartoon footage, but in a single instance (More Kittens), original story drawings are used instead.
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Format: Hardcover
Only half-remembered today (and almost impossible to see except for a few titles until, at last, they were released on DVD in the "Walt Disney Treasures" series), the Silly Symphonies shorts were at the forefront of Disney's art in the 1930s, the place where his best animators experimented and pushed the field until, finally, he was ready to expand the Silly Symphonies' lavish, dark fairy-tale universe into feature films like Snow White and Pinocchio. As the authors, who wrote the equally groundbreaking Walt in Wonderland about Disney's pre-Mickey career, point out, the series' importance in the 1930s was far more widely recognized, as it won the Oscar for best animated short every single year during the decade-- sometimes with only other Silly Symphonies for competition.

This groundbreaking history sets out the importance of the Silly Symphonies as a laboratory of Disney's art. Usually this is seen in terms of technical achievement-- from the revolutionary marriage of animation and music in the charmingly crude Skeleton Dance, to the introduction of Technicolor in Flowers and Trees, to the sleek use of the multiplane camera for 3-D effects in The Old Mill. But the authors also make the case that it was crucial in the development of Disney's almost preternatural understanding of child psychology; long before Bambi struck toddlers with all the force of King Lear, shorts such as The Flying Mouse and The Ugly Duckling had already mined that territory.

A lengthy essay on the history and importance of the series is followed by an amazing film-by-film history which serves as a perfect companion for adults watching the series today; and the text is liberally illustrated with stills, posters, production drawings and more. This is likely stand for all time as the definitive work on one of the most important, yet neglected, series of films in cinema-- not just animation-- history.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book; no doubt about it. The authors did an outstanding job researching and compiling the data that went into this fine volume. And therefore, the authors, and ONLY the authors deserve to be fully compensated for their work, research, and contribution to the historical legacy of Disney's golden period. However, this book needs to be kept in print and out of the hands of price gougers. I'm so glad that I have my copy and I would certainly buy more to give as gifts if this book was back in print. But NO WAY in hell will I pay those ridiculous prices that gougers are trying to get for this book (and YOU, the consumer, shouldn't either!). I paid about $30 for this book when it first came out... brand spanking new (and that's the price that YOU should pay as well). So give the royal finger to the price gougers and support the authors; demand the publisher to put this book back in print!
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