PERFORMING ARTS

The Queens of Animation: The Untold Story of the Women Who Transformed the World of Disney and Made Cinematic History

Little, Brown. Oct. 2019. 352p. notes. ISBN 9780316439152. $29; ebk. ISBN 9780316439169. FILM
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Released in 1928, Walt Disney’s cartoon Steamboat Willie perfected synchronicity between image and sound and encouraged Disney to continue his technological innovations with the founding of Walt Disney Studios. As a result, viewers were treated to feature-length films such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, and Cinderella—many of which would not have been possible without the work of female artists. Holt (Rise of the Rocket Girls; Cured: The People Who Defeated HIV) rectifies a serious wrong committed by authors of books on Disney and his studio as she tells the often-omitted stories of these enormously talented women: shy Bianca Majolie, creator of the cartoon short “Elmer Elephant”; daring and idealistic Grace Huntington, who pushed boundaries both as an animator and test pilot; and the grand dame of animators, Mary Blair, whose artistry mystified her male colleagues and earned her the respect of Disney.
VERDICT This eye-opening and empowering title at last places in the spotlight many of the groundbreaking women who worked for Walt Disney Studios.

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