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Magic Kingdoms

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"Magic Kingdoms"

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I am very, very excited about Waking Sleeping Beauty, a new documentary about the artists who are responsible for Disney’s second Golden Age:

How can you not be charmed by the sight of animators dancing like teapots in pitch meetings? The revelation that Tim Burton actually looked creepier before he had the money it takes to be extravagantly eccentric?

But the real question the movie raises for me is how has there not been a fantastic, Oscar-bait biopic of Walt Disney?  The truly sensible way to do this would be an upstairs-downstairs duo story, based on Bill Peet’s autobiography, which is both completely charming and eccentric, and a model of the genre.  Peet joined the company as a junior man during the making of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, rose to do all the creepy-crawlies in Sleeping Beauty (they were something of a speciality), and became Disney’s chief storyman, responsible for The Sword in the Stone and 101 Dalmations.  He quit the company after he and Walt Disney had a disagreement over the creative direction of The Jungle Book, but was devastated when Disney died.  It would be a productive relationship to explore: Peet is discerning but affectionate.  I wish someone would buy the rights and make it happen.

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