Starting today, we will be running a new series on Yesterday, Tomorrow, and Fantasy. This fairly monumental project will be to watch as many of the theatrical films produced during "Walt's Era" as practicable, in order. It's a project we've been wanting to do for a long time, as our collection of those films has grown exponentially with a Disney Movie Club membership. Now we're finally taking the plunge!
For the format of this project, we owe a debt to FoxxFur of Passport to Dreams Old and New, who did a similar project with the films made in the decade immediately after Walt Disney's untimely passing. On the second Saturday of every month, we will be looking at another handful of films in their sequence of release, reviewing each film and drawing observations from how Disney's cinematic art progresses over time. This will include both feature films (films over 40 minutes) and theatrical shorts (films under 40 minutes) but not the Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, Silly Symphony or other such cartoons that were often packaged with and preceded the films. We will, however, be putting the films in their historical context against those cartoons and what Disney was doing on TV and in theme parks at those times. I'll also include some historical data about the films themselves, letting historical box office returns and that sort of thing factor into my reviews.
Our journey will take us through a 30-year period from 1937's release of Disney's first theatrical film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to 1967's The Jungle Book, the last film which bore the direct influence of Walt Disney. Unfortunately there are a handful of films that we are forced to bypass because they are simply not available, like the People and Places series that ought to have been released alongside the True-Life Adventures in the Legacy Collection. There might even be a small number I'll deliberately skip, since we must face facts that not everything made by Walt Disney was pure gold. Nor can I promise to have something insightful to say about everything... I'm already pretty sure that my review of The Fighting Prince of Donegal will be something to the effect of "Like many films released in 1966, this film was also released in 1966."
I do hope that I may be able to say something interesting some of the time though, and that the exercise of watching them in order will open up some new ways of looking. I heartily invite you to watch along with me and share your own thoughts in the comments. Our series will begin next Saturday with, of course, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.