A spectacular new book about Ray Harryhausen is cause for celebration—but more about that later. The estimable Mr. H was inspired to pursue his art, and craft, by the films he saw as a boy, especially The Lost World (1925) and King Kong (1933). But the man who created the stunning animation in those films, Willis O’Brien, wasn’t the only person experimenting with the wonders of stop-motion. Steve Stanchfield, Stewart McKissick and Ken Priebe at Thunderbean Animation have compiled a dizzying DVD collection of rare short subjects appropriately titled Stop-Motion Marvels! and it’s a must for anyone interested in this field.
The centerpiece of the disc is the Kinex collection, a series of ingenious silent shorts that were created expressly for the 16mm home-movie market in the late 1920s, and marketed as—
Mary Blair now has her own website. This is a giant leap forward for a woman whose name was virtually unknown to the general public during her lifetime, but whose reputation has grown with each passing year. Walt Disney had the highest regard for her work, and her bold use of color and charming character designs had a profound influence on a number of movies we all saw (including Alice in Wonderland and Peter Pan) and attractions we attended at Disneyland, notably It’s a Small World. Insiders and colleagues knew how talented she was, but it’s only in recent years that her name has come to the forefront among animation aficionados. John Canemaker’s book The Art and Flair of Mary Blair (Disney Editions, 2003) had a lot to do with that; nowadays, her original artwork commands lofty prices at animation auctions. She was also part of the Disney tour to—
by Walt Stanchfield; edited by Don Hahn
I stand in awe of great animators and the way they bring characters to life through a series of drawings. This massive two-volume set of lectures, edited by longtime Disney producer Don Hahn, offers practical advice to anyone who aspires to master this amazing art. Roy E. Disney is quoted as saying, “For nearly thirty years, the artists that passed through the gates of Disney Animation, and even...
You might think that everything to be said about Walt Disney and his career has been said by now...but you’d be wrong. Film buffs and scholars are unearthing all sorts of material on the many facets of Walt’s life and career. Ted Thomas, son of legendary Disney animator Frank Thomas, has written and directed a fascinating new documentary called Walt & El Grupo that’s now showing in specialized theaters around the country (and will continue to rack up play dates throughout the fall). It’s an eye-opening look at Walt’s Good Will tour of South America in 1941—the trip that inspired Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros. Thomas uses home movies, photographs, sketches and paintings made by the artists who traveled with Walt, and their eloquent letters home (read aloud by—
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