Snow White , Fantasia, and other animation classics were the work of a brilliant Disney team assembled in the thirties. The remaining members have spent four years on a new full-length cartoon, The Rescuers. It is, in its way, a legacy to a new generation.
In 1930, while Walt Disney was busy in the United States making primitive Mickey Mouse sound cartoons, a wealthy French nobleman, Vicomte Charles de Noailles, commissioned Jean Cocteau, that prodigious poet, novelist, and caricaturist, to make an animated cartoon in France. "But soon realized," recalled Cocteau in 1958, "that a cartoon would require a technique and a team nonexistent at that time in France. Therefore, I suggested making a film as free as a cartoon, by choosing faces and locations that would correspond to the freedom of a designer who invents his own works." Thus, Cocteau made The Blood of a Poet, and went on to make a number of other important live-action films.
But Walt Disney, who would afterward claim that he had been too naive to see the formidable difficulties in what he was trying to do, built the animation team that was nonexistent at that time anywhere in the world. Disney and his team developed a technique, and then a style; and together they created many of the great works of the animated film, including the best-loved of all, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
On June 19, the Walt Disney Studio's twenty-seventh cartoon feature, The Rescuers , will have its world premiere at the American Film Institute Theater in Washington, D.C. This tale of a child's kidnapping and her rescue by dauntless mice (Miss Bianca, voice by Eva Gabor, and Bernard, voice by Bob Newhart) is directed and chiefly animated by the last members of that original team, the team that animated Snow White.