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the fairest one of all

the making of walt disney's snow white and the seven dwarfs
11 x 12.5 inches; 320 pages
october 2012
ISBN 9781616284381
category: art + design
about this book

Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs  was first shown to a theatrical audience in December 1937 and brought overwhelming, joyous applause from a house full of hardened film-industry professionals. In subsequent months it would open around the world, happily acclaimed by audiences and critics everywhere as one of the best films of the year, if not the decade.

From today’s perspective, its stature is even greater—named as one of the best movies of all time by the American Film Institute, and still beloved by children and adults around the world, Snow White  can be seen as the flowering of an all-too-brief Golden Age of animation as well as a fascinating document of its time.

Such a level of artistic achievement doesn’t happen by accident. Walt Disney and a staff of exceptionally talented artists labored over Snow White  for four years, endlessly working and reworking their scenes to achieve an ever higher standard. The result, as we know, was magnificent and game-changing for the Disney Studios and, indeed, for the art of animation itself.

This book is the first to reconstruct that process in exacting detail, with the loving attention it deserves from an internationally noted film scholar. Author J.B. Kaufman spent years researching the film’s history, interviewing participants, and studying the marvelous archival art that appears in these pages. The result is a work that can be appreciated equally as a piece of film history and as a collectible art book, a joy for anyone who loves film, animation, and the magical world that Walt Disney created.

"Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is one of the true landmarks of film history. JB Kaufman's book The Fairest One of All is by far the most complete telling yet of the making of this spectacular film, which paved the way for a medium and industry that has been healthy and vibrant for 75 years. Filled with phenomenal stories, details, and artwork, this book is a treasure equal to that of the movie itself. If you love Snow White, Disney, or animation, this book is a must-have."

–John Lasseter, Chief Creative Officer, Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios

“What a magnificent achievement! No one has ever explored the making of this milestone feature with such thoroughness, or with the ability to place it in the larger context of movie history as well as the Disney timeline. I learned a lot, and I’m sure other Disney aficionados will echo my praise.”

–Leonard Maltin, Film Critic and Historian

"Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was the one that started it all, setting such a high bar that animated films today still struggle to match its creative and technical artistry.  As this thoroughly researched book reveals, its success was no accident. No detail was too small to escape the scrutiny of Walt Disney and his staff. J.B. Kaufman provides a jackpot of information and stories about the amazing people who made this pioneering film."

–Pete Docter, Academy Award-winning Director of Up and Monsters, Inc.

"A tour de force of historical research and insightful writing about the making of one of the greatest films ever! The text of author J.B. Kaufman's gorgeously illustrated book is comprehensive, scholarly, and entertaining, filled with myriad details about Snow White, from folk tale to film and beyond."

—John Canemaker, Academy Award-winning Director of The Moon and the Son


about the author

J.B. Kaufman is an author and film historian on the staff of the Walt Disney Family Foundation, and has published extensively on topics including Disney animation and American silent film. He is the author of South of the Border with Disney, and coauthor, with Russell Merritt, of Walt in Wonderland: The Silent Films of Walt Disney (winner of the Kraszna-Krausz Award and the Society for Animation Studies’ Norman McLaren-Evelyn Lambart Award, and chosen by The New York Times as a Notable Book of the Year), and Walt Disney’s Silly Symphonies. He has also been a regular contributor to the Griffith Project at Le Giornate del Cinema Muto, the distinguished annual silent-film festival in Pordenone, Italy, and speaks frequently on Disney, silent film history, and related topics.

more on this book

The Walt Disney Family Museum, owned and operated by the Walt Disney Family Foundation, opened in 2009 in San Francisco. Co-founded by Walt’s daughter, Diane Disney Miller, and grandson, Walter Miller, the museum celebrates the genius and spirit of Walt Disney, a risk-taker whose artistry, imagination and vision influenced popular culture through animated and live-action films, television programs, theme parks and new technologies. Walt’s contributions live on today in the museum’s exhibits and education programs, which share the fascinating story of the man who raised animation to an art, transformed the film industry, tirelessly pursued innovation, and created a global, distinctively American legacy.

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