WALT DISNEY by Bob Thomas (Hyperion, 377 pp.) provides a picture of the world's best-known animator that is certainly radically different from that outlined by Marc Eliot in his recent Walt Disney, Hollywood's Dark Prince. Thomas sees Disney as the man who "molded the cultural mythology of mankind in the twentieth century," a talented, compassionate man with a vision and a great capacity to translate it to the screen. Where Eliot was largely negative -- Disney the FBI informer, Disney the racist, Disney the virulent anti-semite -- Thomas focuses on Disney's accomplishments, his creation of Mickey Mouse, his rescue of the Disney studios from financial disaster, his skill and his ability to put together an extraordinary team of animators. Frankly, even without having read Eliot's book, one gets the feeling that Thomas is determined to create a positive "Uncle Walt" image. If there were negatives -- and Eliot's book leaves no doubt that there were -- Thomas ignores them. That's strange since the former AP correspondent certainly didn't spare the horse when it came to forming a realistic image of Harry Cohn, the late president of Columbia Pictures, a foulmouthed, objectionable individual on whom Thomas unleashed the impact of his considerable writing skills. Eliot's book is certainly more interesting and more provocative. Thomas' account, though full of anecdotes and Disney history, is much kinder -- also much less interesting.
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|Publication:||Video Age International|
|Article Type:||Book Review|
|Date:||Oct 1, 1994|
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