The Untold Story of the Women Who Transformed the World of Disney and Made Cinematic History “From Snow White to Moana, from Pinocchio to Frozen, the animated films of Walt Disney Studios have moved and entertained millions. But few fans know that behind these groundbreaking features was an incredibly influential group of women who fought for respect in an often ruthless male-dominated industry and who have slipped under the radar for decades.In The Queens of Animation, bestselling author Nathalia Holt tells their dramatic stories for the first time, showing how these women infiltrated the boys’ club of Disney’s story and animation departments and used early technologies to create the rich artwork and unforgettable narratives that have become part of the American canon. As the influence of Walt Disney Studios grew—and while battling sexism, domestic abuse, and workplace intimidation—these women also fought to transform the way female characters are depicted to young audiences.With gripping storytelling, and based on extensive interviews and exclusive access to archival and personal documents, The Queens of Animation reveals the vital contributions these women made to Disney’s Golden Age and their continued impact on animated film making, culminating in the record-shattering Frozen, Disney’s first female-directed full-length feature film as this is what the book is about as today i review this wonderful book.
Queens of Animation by Nathalia Holt Review
I grew up loving Disney animation yet I haven’t heard the stories of many things Disney hidden form us until i read books about them as i learned more about them and their past I learned from books like Walt. Until The Queens of Animation: The Untold Story of the Women Who Transformed the World of Disney and Made Cinematic History. I remembered my love of Mary Blair and thought, Nathalia Holt has something here. I wanted to know the names and the contributions of these unknown women. This book was a wonderful read that enlightened me about these women that never got their due for their work with Disney as you may wonder the names of these animators or creators as you may have heard of Mary Blair whom is considered walt’s greatest artist and designer of artwork for Walt Disney for his movies and parks. Holt concentrates on the women’s careers but includes enough biographical information to make them real and sympathetic. I was so moved to read about Mary Blair’s abusive marriage. Holt also does a stellar job of explaining the rising technologies that would impact animation, eventually eliminating the jobs of hundreds of artists. We learn about Walt’s interest in each story that inspired the animated movies and the hard work to develop the story, art, and music, along with the conflicts and competition behind the scenes. I learned so many interesting facts! Like how Felix Salten’s novel Bambi: A Life in the Woods was banned in Nazi Germany because it was a metaphor for Anti-Semitism! How Mary Louise Weiser originated the grease pencil, one of the many technologies Disney developed and perfected or quickly adapted as she created that object which was used widely by his artists. I loved the story of Fantasia. Bianca Majolie presented the music selections to Walt, including The Nutcracker Suite’s Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Waltz of the Flowers. Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker ballet had never yet been produced in the United States at the time! The male animators did not want to work on illustrating fairies (they instead created the Pastoral Symphony’s centaurs and over sexualized centaurettes, including an African-American servant who was part mule instead of horse).as they refused work on faries they left that to the women to work on those things. Choreographer George Balanchine was touring the studio with Igor Stravinsky, whose The Rite of Spring was included in Fantasia, and he loved the fairies in the Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairies. Fifteen years later he debuted The Nutcracker at the new Lincoln Center and it became a Christmastime annual tradition. Holt also shares the story of Mary, a talented artist known for her watercolor style work. She managed to get a job at Disney because her husband worked there, but her talent made her a favorite of Walt’s, which then led to jealousy and resentment from her co-workers, including her husband. At one point, Walt personally invites her to a highly coveted work trip, and her husband practically throws a tantrum because his wife got to go and he didn’t. Mary’s one of the few women in this book where we get a much deeper sense of her life beyond her work at Disney, and Holt paints us a heartbreaking portrait of Mary’s unhappy marriage. I love how Holt highlights how important female friendships were for the women who worked at Disney, and how challenging it was sometimes when broader issues challenged those friendships. One example is the animators’ strike in the mid-20th century, where a pair of animators who were close friends found themselves on opposite sides on the strike. They also happened to be roommates, and so went in to work together every morning, with one of them joining the picket line and the other crossing it. Holt does a good job in showing how even those who didn’t strike were likely aware of the injustices the strikers were fighting against, but they were too scared of losing their jobs to join the picket line. It’s a troubling, at times rage-inducing, history, and I’m just happy that this book finally turns a well-deserved spotlight on these women’s work. Thankfully, the book ends on a happy note, with the story of Frozen, which was the first Disney animated feature film written, directed and led by women. I loved reading about the sister summit that the film’s team organized, where women throughout the company came together to share stories about sisterhood and their loving-and-complicated relationships with their sisters. I remember watching Frozen with my sister, and how much we both related to Elsa and Anna’s relationship. Thanks to this book, I know now that that’s largely because of the women of Disney sharing their own experiences of sisterhood, and more importantly, because of the team of Frozen listening to these experiences, and bringing them to life in Elsa and Anna. There’s likely a long way to go for Disney — and to be fair, lots of other companies — to be truly inclusive for women. Hopefully, books like this help begin to bridge that divide, and raise awareness of how much women have been doing for years, and how much their accomplishments have been minimized in favor of their male colleagues so we can work towards a better tomorrow. As this book is a marvelous book to read from start to finish that will enlighten you upon something you never knew about in the past.