Monday September 12, 2016
Disney v. La Nouvelle Vague
From Neal Gabler's extensive bio on Walt Disney (I'm finally nearing the end). The quotes are from the period in the early 1960s when Disney Studios began to do more live action fare, like “The Absent-Minded Professor,” “The Shaggy Dog,” and Haley Mills movies:
As for the increasingly mature competition in Hollywood that was tackling serious issues, Walt turned philistine. “These avant garde artists are adolescents,” he griped to a reporter. “It’s only a little noisy element that’s going that way, that’s creating this sick art. I don’t think the whole world is crazy!” Referring to a recent film about alcoholism, Days of Wine and Roses, he said, “I don’t want to see that kind of thing. If I did, I’d go down to the county nut ward, or something” ...
Yet even Walt, for all his belligerence toward Hollywood’s new frankness, seemed to have misgivings about being stuck making puerile movies. After watching To Kill a Mockingbird at a screening in his home, he lamented, “That’s the kind of film I wish I could make.”
You can sense the coming culture wars in this comment from Dr. Max Rafferty, the superintendent of public instruction in California: “[Disney's] live movies have become lone sanctuaries of decency and health in the jungle of sex and sadism created by the Hollywood producers of pornography.”
Sex, sadism, pornography. From 1962? Somewhere, “A Clockwork Orange” hangs out in the future, thinking, “Wait'll they get a load of me.”