November 1, 2002

Walt: The Man Behind The Myth (2001)
Buena Vista Home Entertainment

119 mins. · Not Rated
Letterboxed · 1.66:1

Format
DVD

Audio
English - DD 2.0

Subtitles
English, French, Spanish

Extras
Featurettes, Interviews, Home Movies, and more


Review by
Guido Henkel


Rating



(2001)

"Walt: The Man Behind The Myth" is a TV production that was shown on ABC last year and that is now available on DVD from Walt Disney Home Video. It is a documentary about Walt Disney, the visionary, the affectionate father and husband, and the man who changed the world. Running 119 minutes, this documentary covers all aspects of Walt Disney’s life, from his childhood as the son of a poor farmer all the way to his last days planning Epcot Center. Told through the eyes of those who knew him best, this documentary is a testimony to Disney’s genius. The film includes countless interview snippets by his children, grandchildren, his friends and collaborators, all of whom manage to paint a very vivid picture of Walt Disney, the way he really was. It is a touching documentary that makes you wish this man had lived longer so he could have achieved even more, to help make the world a happier place. It often seems as if the Walt Disney company we know today has little in common with the company Walt and his brother Roy created in the late 1920s, and while in a sense it is true and "Disney" is hardly the innovative leader they used to be, we also get to see that some things haven’t changed all that much, really.

We get to see how Walt and his brother Roy set out to build an entertainment empire that was unique at the time and that still grows every day. The documentary shares with us the failures, the problems and the successes of the two brothers, while always keeping an eye on Walt and his private life. We get to see how Walt’s perspective and interests changed over the years and how his ideas came to fruition, one by one.

"Walt: The Man Behind The Myth" is presented in a 1.66:1 widescreen aspect ratio on this DVD. The quality of the transfer is very good. Since the film uses a lot of home movies, old archival footage and family photos, the presentation is a bit vintage at times, of course, but throughout the material has been nicely restored for best possible presentation. The disc contains a stereo audio track this is very clear and free of defects. Even the old recordings of Walt Disney himself have been cleaned up and are of very good quality.

"Walt: The Man Behind The Myth" is filled with great supplements to complement the feature documentary. "An Intimate View" is a feature that is split in different segments, such as "Meeting Walt for the first time," "Walt as a boss," "Walt at home," "Walt’s passing" and so on. The entire featurette consists of first-hand accounts of people who knew Walt Disney and share their memories and experiences with us.
"Disney Legends" is a feature that honors the people how have been working with Walt early on and are still among us. People like Marc Davis, Ollie Johnston, Frank Thomas and others have the chance to talk about Walt and their involvement with him. "Actors, Directors & Friends" does the same thing for people who knew and socialized with Walt over many years.

"The Making Of Walt" is an 8-minute featurette that takes viewers behind the scenes of the making of this documentary. From his grandson, who produced the documentary, to the other crew and cast members we hear what their aspirations were when they created this film.

Next up on the release is "Location Visits," a segment that covers the four main places that Walt Disney used to live in – Chicago, Marceline, Kansas City and Los Angeles. Narrated by Walt’s daughter Diane, this featurette is beautifully put together and gives us a comprehensive look about the places that defined Walt Disney as a man. Many photographs and vintage footage manage to really paint a picture of the places.

A good number of home movies are also included on the DVD, showing us Walt Disney as the everyday man. Whether he is having fun with his kids, spending Sunday afternoons with friends, hugging and kissing his wife or spending a vacation with his whole family, this footage is the true gem of this release. We get to see Walt Disney as personal and private as we ever will, making him more tangible than ever.

The DVD also contains a weblink to the Walt Disney Museum at http://www.waltdisney.com where you can find even more information and facts about the man behind the myth.

Walt Disney was one of the greatest innovators and visionaries of the entertainment industry. Like Charlie Chaplin, he was on a constant quest to make the world a better place, to put smiles on people’s faces and to constantly perform at the top of their energies to ensure that they bring enjoyment and entertainment to the masses. "Walt: The Man Behind The Myth" is a beautifully put-together tribute to Walt Disney that every fan of his work and legacy should add to their library. It will give you so much more appreciation and insight into the world of Disney that we all have come to love so much.

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