Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Ub Iwerks- The Hand Behind the Mouse

Leslie Iwerks documentary on her grandfather Ub Iwerks is a must see for anyone who is interested in animation and especially Disney animation.

Ub Iwerks was Disney's partner and right hand man. He was the guy who took Disney's idea for Mickey Mouse (and everything else) and made it work. He had a falling out with Disney in the early 1930's and went off and to do his own thing. Unfortunately he didn't have the business sense that Disney did and things went south. Of course it didn't help that Iwerks was doing much of the animation on his own. Eventually he returned toDisney where he put his technical knowledge to good use revolutionizing how films were made.
Now trust me it's more amazing and more interesting than it sounds. Actually it's so well done that when I read the book that Leslie Iwerks wrote as a companion to the film I found it rather anti-climatic.

The documentary works better than the companion book because it’s full of all of these fantastic visuals of the early Disney produced stuff he animated, plus the stuff he did in his own studio.

What I like is that the film clearly puts to rest about the debate as to who created Mickey Mouse and why Disney as producer managed to succeed where Iwerks failed. For the first time we really get to see what each man brought to the table, and why after his own studio went belly up, Disney welcomed Iwerks back and let him work on solving all of the technical problems of making films like Mary Poppins and others.

I can’t say enough good about this film.

I love this film. I liked it so much that after seeing it on the Disney Channel I went out and bought the VHS tape even though VHS was on the way out. I only got rid of the tape when Disney released the film as an extra on the Oswald the Lucky Rabbit Gold Tin set a few years back.

If you love animation history of Disney films in general you need to run this film down. Its one of the best films on film you’ll see.

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