Using sketches and four-color art, two veteran artists and authors ( Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life , LJ 12/15/81) analyze Walt Disney Studios' animated scoundrels, from Peg Leg Pete to Aladdin's Jafar. Walt Disney's input and his later delegation of authority are discussed. The authors assert that the golden age of animation ended at the close of World War II as a result of postwar costs and a dearth of imagination not remedied until 1950 with the production of Cinderella. They evaluate ensuing successes and failures, the emergence of new animators, and computer enhancement techniques. An appendix contains portraits of all the studio's villain creators. This balanced critique is recommended for art and film collections of public libraries. - Kim Holston, American Inst. for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriters, Malvern, Pa. Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Since launching its Hyperion book division two years ago, the Disney Company has been practicing synergism by mining its archives for material suitable for compiling into lavish gift books. The latest such project is an oversize volume spotlighting memorable villains from more than six decades of the studio's animated films. The rogues' roll call begins well before the wicked queen in Snow White (1937), reaching all the way back to Mickey Mouse's early nemesis Peg Leg Pete, who actually antedated Mickey, and extending through The Three Little Pigs' Big Bad Wolf down to The Little Mermaid's Ursula and Aladdin's Jafar. All are depicted in hundreds of illustrations that include plenty of full-color frame enlargements and animators' sketches. Veteran animators Johnston and Thomas, there at the creation of most of the studio's masterworks, describe the characters' development and provide fascinating insights into the making of the films and the changes in Disney's approach over the years. The resulting volume is sure to appeal to audiences' fascination with villainy--especially when it's presented as frighteningly as Sleeping Beauty's Maleficent or as humorously as 101 Dalmatians' Cruella de Vil. Gordon Flagg
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Johnston and Thomas Together Again!Feb. 3 2000
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Anything by these two wonderful authors and amazing animators should be a must in anyone's collection. Yet, I am baffled that all of their books are currently out of print. I am sure one will not have trouble looking at a used bookstore for a copy of this. This book deals precisely with what the title says: The Disney Villians. In their usual classic and lucid style, the authors discuss the troubles they ran while devising a villian. One that is wicked, yet appealing to the audience. Going through their catalog of movies from Snow White to Aladdin, they discuss in detail what a villian is all about, and how the villian relates to the story, style and main character of each film. Whether one should be more realistic, or have harder edges, or what kind of mannerisms will this villian have. Highly reccomended for the animator and artist, as well as the Disney book lover as these are presented so well. For the enthuseist, which I also own, there is also a more expensive version of this book, hardcover with a slipcase, signed by each of the authors and a print of the filmstrip from Snow White.
The Villains Get Their Own BookFeb. 27 2015
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The Disney villains are amongst the most celebrated Disney characters and for good reason. And whom better to write a book about them than 2 of their creators Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston. Every villain/antagonist from the short subjects and feature films up to Aladdin are discussed and analyzed. Like all of their books, this one has an abundance of artwork throughout, which is the best part. There's even a concept sketch from Bambi of "man" after his death from the fire. another plus is that there's an appendix at the end that shows what animators were responsible for every villain (something that I wish was done for all the Disney Characters). Unfortunately, like many Disney history books, this one is out of print. They really should keep these in print, so that they could remain accessible to newer generations of Disney enthusiasts.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A Worthwhile Read For Any Disney Fan!July 11 1998
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Who better to bring us the history of the villain in Disney films than two people responsible for the creation of so many of them? Ollie Johnson and Frank Thomas' remarkable survey of the history of bad guys begins with the obligatory history of Disney animation and proceeds to describe all of the villains created from the earliest cartoon shorts to Aladdin. Concept drawings, poster art and stills from the film make up the many illustrations and each film is described along with interesting information on each villain discussed. The one drawback - an obvious one when dealing with so prolific a studio - is the fact that this book cuts off at Aladdin, missing the many sinister villains that followed, notably Scar, and Hades.
Chillin' Like a VillainDec 8 2011
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This was an engrossing read and an exclusive behind the scenes look at the masterminds behind some of the greatest villains in animated history. This book gives the blow by blow development of these nefarious evil-doers from before Steamboat Willie up through to Beauty and the Beast. Ollie Johnston provides those secrets of the masters straight from the animators drawing boards. Unfortunately, you won't get any details on Scar or Hades as this book stops pretty much right before the Lion King. That's no matter. Pretty much all of the baddest of the bad are to be found here. I strongly recommend this for anyone seriously interested in animation and for the novice Disney fan :D
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
An Amazing Look at the Disney Villains by Two MastersJune 7 2008
George H. Taylor, Jr.
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The Disney Villain is a beautiful work by Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas, two of Walt's Nine Old Men. I'm not sure if there were ever two people more suited to describing the Disney Villain--Frank and Ollie were supervising animators at Disney for almost 50 years. More than meets the eye, this book does more than just look at the Disney Villains, it also sheds light on what makes a villain and why some Disney Villains were much better than others.
"Because the concept of evil is the most terrifying and thrilling concept in our language. We need terror by which to measure and enjoy our comfort; we need thrill to ameliorate the tedium. We need evil to locate our good. And evil is a concept that has been increasingly undervalued and ignored. We require a devil with whom our gods can do battle, lest our gods become reduced to mere royalty-splendidly clothed, gossiped about, but superfluous."
--T. Jefferson Parker (1992, January 19). The Obsession with Evil Why we are transfixed by serial killers :[Home Edition]. Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext),p. 1. Retrieved February 16, 2008, from Los Angeles Times database. (Document ID: 61560068).
Part of the quote above is used by Ollie and Frank in the preface of the book to illustrate one of the reasons they did a book about Disney Villains. That and so many of their colleagues and friends requested it.
They look at 59 villains (only 8 of which were female) over the course of almost 70 years. In the beginning, they talk about the Alice shorts and how Peg Leg Pete was the first villain, although Ollie and Frank refer to him more as a bully. Pete made the transition from Alice to Oswald to Mickey. Ultimately, he was in 32 shorts with Mickey and friends, but he never achieved a starring role.
Throughout the rest of the book, they look at each animated film and discuss the villains. Not just which ones were truly scary (the Evil Queen) but which ones added to the hero's quest and ultimately made the hero a much more beloved character. It is difficult to sum up a work of this caliber. Ollie and Frank are not only terrific animators, but they tell a great story. Each villain is the center of a debate that is bookmarked between the Evil Queen and Jafar. The authors do more than just talk about villains, they also talk about the highs and lows of Disney animation. This book could be used as a starting point for anyone looking for an introduction to the Disney animated library.
Some of the villains are villainous simply because of their nature. The rat in Lady and The Tramp, the bear in The Fox and the Hound and Monstro from Pinocchio. Not that they are true villains, but because their nature is to forage for food, protect their environs or because they are monstrous in size--they act as villains to the hero. Other villains never quite made it. Ollie and Frank point to Ratigan from The Great Mouse Detective, Mr. McLeach from The Rescuers Down Under and Prince John from Robin Hood. For various reasons, they felt that these characters, along with a few others, never quite made the bold statements that were needed. In some cases, the hero was so powerful that it negated the villain's actions entirely.
Beautiful artwork flows throughout the 232 pages of the book. There are full-page shots, thumbnail sketches, storyboards and rough sketches. We see, through the animator's eyes, how a character is developed and comes to life on the page. Both Captain Hook and Gaston were originally seen as foppish characters that were larger than life. In both cases, the animators were instructed to bring the villain down to scale and inject more human characteristics into them. Mainly so we would see them either with flaws or as people we have known--more like a villain archetype.
Bottom Line: This is a wonderful book for any collection. It does center specifically on animation, but through the course of discussing the villains, a lot of history of the films and the Disney Company rises to the top. Frank and Ollie have a wonderful narrative that is interspersed with anecdotes and knowledgeable insights into the world of the animated villain. The amazing artwork alone makes it worth picking this title up--the text is the icing on the cake!