Once Upon a Dream
From Perrault’s Sleeping Beauty to Disney’s Maleficent
Disney Editions, an imprint of Disney Book Group, 2014
Part 1 – La Belle au Bois Dormant – The Beauty of the Sleeping Forest – The author takes the reader through the long history of Sleeping Beauty, first as an oral tradition, then written and published by authors such as Charles Perrault in 1672. He also reviews the many illustrators of the story including several of my favorites, Arthur Rackham, Edmund Dulac and Maxfield Parrish. The author then takes the reader on the musical and stage adaptations of the fairy tale.
Part 2 – Hail to the Princess Aurora – Because this book is published by Disney, the main focus of the book is on the animated film, Sleeping Beauty. This section gives the reader a detailed look at how the movie was illustrated and why its’ animation is so different from the films that came before it (Snow White, Cinderella, the Lady and the Tramp, for instance). Here’s a bit of trivia for you – Disney’s animated Sleeping Beauty took 5 years, $6 million dollars (in the 1950’s!) and an estimated one million drawings to create!!! (pg 91)
“Working on Sleeping Beauty was such a task. It was a wonderful task if you look back at the beautiful work, but you just couldn’t wait to put it aside and move on to something fresh and new. One Hundred and One Dalmatians was a lot easier to animate and a lot easier to draw. After slogging through Sleeping Beauty, working on Dalmatians was like a paid vacation.” Floyd Norman, Disney artist
Part 3 – Maleficent – This part reviews the making of the live action film Maleficent starring Angelina Jolie. The author takes us from the first whisperings of the movie, to the writer, costumes and production. Filled with full size photos of costumes and storyboards of the movie, the reader is treated to a behind the scenes look at the movie and what its creators where thinking.
“There are many villains, but people love Maleficent because she was smart and calculating and beautiful. But what’s she all about? What were the artists who created her thinking? Where did she come from? . . . We just had to come up with her roots and where she was from.” Producer Don Hahn (pg 113)
“The first time Angelina walked onto the stage in the iconic black outfit with the collars and bells and whistles, you could see the entire crew stand wide-eyed and step backward. It was truly the character we know come to life.” Director Robert Stromberg (pg 156)
This book is truly beautiful and informative. The author writes in a way that is informative but not dull or dreary. How many people actually read coffee table books? This is one you’ll want to read and dwell on the lush illustrations.
Rating 4 out of 5 paws
by Edmund Dulac
by Maxfield Parrish
by Arthur Rackham