Review
Walt Disney Treasures Wave 3
© Disney. All Rights Reserved.
During WWII, the US Government enlisted Hollywood in a number of capacities to help further the allied cause. The Disney Studio, for reasons of patriotism and pay, were at the forefront of Hollywood's wartime activities. Theu created propaganda films, military insignias, public information posters and more. All of these are included and/or represented in On the Front Lines, many being shown for the first time since their initial release.

Two of the "gems" in this set are the Donald Duck Academy Award winner Der Fueher's Face and the feature-length Victory Through Air Power, a mix of animation, live-action and info-graphics that was created to boost public support for long-range bombers.

In addition to the items already mentioned, the Disney studio made over 200 training films for the war; two of those are shown here in their entirety while clips from several others are also presented. Although not very exciting, it's interesting to watch these and remember that there was a time when the Walt Disney Studios were not a global behemoth but a standard Hollywood studio, taking what work it could to get by.

The story of Walt Disney and the contributions he and his studio made to the American war effort is a long and complicated one. While this 2-disc DVD set offers a look at some of the results, more detail about the work and maneuverings that proceeded these films can be found in a number of places, including the books Disney Does Dogtags by Walton Rawls (Abbeville, 1992) and Richard Shale's Donald Duck Joins Up: The Walt Disney Studio during World War II (reprinted in 1982 by UMI Research Press). The next issue (#11/12) of Paul Anderson's Persistence of Vision will feature an extremely detailed account of the Disney studio's activities during the WWII era. Mr. Anderson claims that this will be the definitive resource for this material.

Knowing that this may be the most popular set in the Walt Disney Treasures set yet, they are wisely releasing more of these than of the other discs. Still, there are just 250,000 copies and with Disney, animation and WWII historians sure to be chasing them, you'll need to act fast to get a copy.

Tomorrowland: Disney in Space and Beyond is the gravy of this wave of DVD releases. This DVD will most likely get overshadowed by its more big-name brothers and sisters, which is a shame because it holds some really remarkable segments.

There is a solid argument that Walt Disney was a driving force behind America's push into space exploration. While he never stepped into a rocketship, he was behind some extremely influential films, which fueled American's space fascination. Mr. Disney and Ward Kimball (among others) worked closely in the 1950s with Dr. Werner von Braun, America's chief rocket scientist, on a number of short television "specials" that helped illustrate what space travel and exploration would be like. Those films, along with several other science-themed short features (such as Our Friend The Atom) are a part of this 2-disc set. A special note should also be made concerning the inclusion of the short EPCOT, Mr. Disney's last "film," detailing his plans for Disney World and the surrounding areas.  

This set provides an interesting look at the Disney company's other works and influences and with just 105,000 releases will be worth searching out.

There is no denying the Walt Disney studio's influence over animation and in many ways American life. These DVDs will offer some insight into that work, provide some entertainment and may just help you remember why you care enough to argue about Disney in the first place.
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