I read some of the book "The Disney Version" by Richard Schickel. If you think that I'm misrepresenting anything about it, feel free to say. While I consider myself an admirer of many things about Walt Disney, his passion and artistry (if you have any doubt, just check my thread about Bambi), Schickel makes some interesting comments and criticisms about Walt Disney. I'm probably not intellectual enough to understand all that he is saying, but he makes some points that are interesting to think about, like Walt's obssession with realism, technology and control might have limited Walt's artistic growth in animation by comparison with the Looney Tunes, the Tom & Jerry shorts and the Pink Panther shorts, which weren't unafraid of using artifices such as limited animation and had an anarchic energy and open-mindedness that Walt couldn't ever fully understand. He offers a critical view of Walt's development of the multiplane camera, for example. He makes criticisms In an article outside the book, Schickel talks about how many european intellectuals that came to America and how Walt, who was initially heavily praised by them, lost their favor from Fantasia (Schickel argues that Walt's lack of understanding and deep appreciation about the original classical music, and his staff of animators as well, led to distasteful and crude visual representations of this music, Schickel uses Stravisnki's Rite Of Spring as a big example) and the rest of his life. Schickel praises the simpleness and creative energy of Dumbo and criticizes the realistic animals from Bambi as being at odds with the backgrounds. Even the very existence of Snow White had already caused some complaints by the intellectual crowd that hated cinema's adherence to any form of conventional narrative, loved animation for its limitless potential and looked upon Disney's feature-length films unfavorably compared to the Silly Symphonies and Fleischer's cartoons. Adorno criticized the Donald Duck's cartoons in the 40s and 50s as manipulation people to behave well in a conservative way because Donald Duck always got in trouble for his temper. By contrast, Adorno loved the provocative sexual aspect of Betty Boop. Yet Schickel acknowledges that this view hold by many intellectuals of that time, who also criticized the arrival of talkies as a vulgar cheapening of cinema and what made it unique, was too simplistic, though their complaints were not entirely without merit worthy thinking about. In the case of Snow White, Walt was right in concluding that the anarchic model of traditional short cartoons would never hold an audience's attention for a feature-length film. Even when I disagree about many conclusions that Schickel makes about Walt as a person and artist, he rarely seems like someone who just wants to be a radical contrarian wanting to tear apart Walt and his achievements. He seems well intentioned and also firmly believes that the limitations of much of Walt's artistic views are a fruit of him being essentially an untutored average person who never received intellectual instruction, and did what he truly believed was right, a man who was faithful to his vision. In the decades after writing book, Schikel says that he had come to respect Walt's achievements a lot more. One big thing that I disagree with Schickel is when he says that Walt didn't have the soul of an artist because of his treatment of Stravinsky. And while I agree, at least based on what this book tells, that Walt was disrespectful and ruthless with Stravisnky as an artist, I'm not so sure in saying that this means that Walt didn't have the soul of an artist, whatever that means. Walt was ruthless in pursuit of his own vision of what he truly felt and loved, however narrow his vision could be. And he wasn't unafraid of making his own vision without caring about the original work. He reportedly said to his animators in Alice In Wonderland something more or less like: "**** what Lewis Carrol's fans think". Whatever you think about this from a moral and ethical perspective, I'm sympathetic to the idea of making your own vision no matter what. This defines an artist in my opinion. Does this necessarily makes the person an amazing artist? In the case of Walt, I would say that the answer is yes and no at the same time. And, as Schickel himself said in the preface of the third edition, Schickel might have been too influenced by folklore purists in much of his criticisms of Disney's adaptations. I would like also to mention something that Schickel, maybe due to lack of knowledge about this, didn't ever mention in his book, feel free to correct me if I'm mistaken. Walt complained that Alice and Peter Pan didn't look anywhere as unique and bold as Mary Blair's art. While he was disrespectful of Stravinsky, he loved the work of Mary Blair, who made concept arts for Alice In Wonderland and Peter Pan. He felt that her bold vision had been watered down by Disney's house style. Considering that one of the big criticisms that Schickel throws at Walt is the need to fit everything to his own style (and it's not a criticism without any merit, to be clear), leaving out this seem dishonest or Schickel just didn't know about this. And whatever is your opinion on Sleeping Beauty, a film that Schickel seems to declare the pinnacle of Walt ruining his best, most energetic and joyful impulses in favor of cold love for technology (the glorious visuals supposedly contrastic with a cold and passionless film), it was still a result of Walt deliberately wanting to break out from his house-style. He wanted a film that looked as bold an unique as its concept art. Many animators resisted drawing differently from what they used to. Sleeping Beauty ultimately is at least a noble artistic effort and I think that Schickel was too harsh on it as well as Fantasia, Bambi and Alice. I think that he missed some of the point of these works and the new delightful stuff they bring to the table. To some extent, he seems to agree, if not fully, that some of his criticisms were exaggerated. Interestingly, the third edition came in the middle of Disney's renaissance and Schickel says in the preface that some of the things that happened ever since he had written the book, in 1968, improved his impression of Walt, like the huge decline of Disney's company and specially their animated films, ever since Walt's death. How Walt's spark for innovation and new risks have been deeply missed by Disney before the Renaissance. And Schickel also says that a film such as Beauty And The Beast, which he calls a "delight", wouldn't have been possible without Walt's template Overall, I would say that the book is an interesting, though often very questionable, reading. Personally, I'm not a fan of the distinctions between high and low culture that intelectual analyses like this seem so prone to make. Ultimately, anyone who wants to read this book has to keep in mind the year in which it was originally written, 1968, and also the generation of critics that Schickel belongs to. This book was perhaps the first notable attempt of truly understanding Walt Disney and take him seriously in a time in which he was often dismissed by the intellectual crowd as just Mr. Conservatism and Middle Brow or seen by mainstream as just loveable Uncle Walt. This book was a necessary first step. But Schickel ultimately can't come close to fully break free from all the prejudices and misconceptions of back then and probably never fully did. He was still a prisoner of the ideas of his time and I don't blame him. Newer generations of critics have taken a far kinder look at Walt's work as a whole due to a greater benefit of hindsight and also have access to far more information about the films and Walt that Schickel could ever have hoped for. The reputation of all those Walt-era films have significantly increased and acknowledgment of their amazing artistry too. Fantasia is perhaps the best example. All of this is great to see. This text was written without revision, so I apologize for some possible clunkiness and grammar errors.