In 1940 Walt Disney found himself in financial deep water. That Spring, he had completed moving his 1000 employees into a spanking-new $3-million, air-conditioned studio on 51 acres in California's San Fernando Valley. He had 30 short films in various stages of completion, with some 15 additional shorts in the story stage. Two new feature cartoons were also on the burner that year: DUMBO (released in 1941) and BAMBI (1942).
Although Disney's first feature-length cartoon, SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS (1937) had made nice profit, it was quickly eaten up by the production of the two subsequent features, PINOCCHIO (1940) and FANTASIA (also 1940), both of which failed at the box office on their initial release. And there was the war in Europe which closed important markets to the Disney product.
BEHIND THE SCENES AT THE WALT DISNEY STUDIO richly deserves wider exposure than it has had, to date. It is historical and a behind-the-scenes experience for the general public. Its instructional footage should be of particular interest to film classes, both in history and techniques. It is also valuable as career-insight film for high school students, as well as being a precious bit of Americana.