As mentioned in yesterday's post, a lot of work is going into making the list I'll be working from when viewing these films. I've been using various sources, including IMDB and the Big Cartoon Database. But the most invaluable source has been Leonard Maltin's book, The Disney Films.
The book covers all of Walt Disney's films, including locations, release dates, actors, directors and a review of all the films. It's indispensable if you are trying to watch a film that Walt had something to do with.
The book is also interesting in what it reveals about the company after Walt, and how they made film choices. Did you know that Walt Disney Pictures' second biggest hit came after Walt died? The Love Bug may have been the best and worst thing that could have happened to the studio, as it confirmed that the family pablum that they had been producing would be the way to go, and they proceeded to churn out bad sequel after bad sequel.
It's funny how cyclical all of these things turn out to be. I mean, in the 50s and 60s, Walt's family friendly films were derided as unrealistic and forcing a vision of America on people that was not true. Today, people harken back to those films as a means to hold up a vision of what America could be, and as what values should be like.
Not to mention that the studio has run in cycles as well. From Walt's death until Michael Eisner came in, the studio made some terrible movies, trying to follow in Walt's footsteps. Then, as Eisner came in, they began to make great, daring films again, like Who Framed Roger Rabbit? or The Nightmare Before Christmas. True, both of those films were released under Touchstone, but you cannot deny that they may be the most influential Disney films in the last 25 years.
This all strays somewhat from the topic of Maltin's book, which is a must read if you want to explore these ideas and issues. Maltin lays down the facts about each of Walt's films, then gives you a complete list of the shorts, the post-Walt films, the Disneyland TV show, and much more. All Disney fans should have a copy. I know it's coming in quite handy as I complete this *%*%^ list.