If there is one film any fan of Disney should see, it’s Disney’s own documentary, Waking Sleeping Beauty. Comprised of tons of archival and personal footage, the documentary takes a no-holds-barred look at the state of The Walt Disney Company in the early 1980s when Hollywood big shots Michael Eisner, Jeffrey Katzenberg and all showed up in the parking lot with their fancy cars and turned the company and the animation department on its ear, taking it from the lows of The Black Cauldron to the highs of a series of animated films that helped to define a generation.
Narrated by Don Hahn (who assembled the documentary along with fellow then-animation exec Peter Schneider), the film also brings back Eisner, Katzenberg and others back into the fold to reminisce about their days at some of the company’s most exciting and volatile times. In this clip from the film, titled ‘First Culture Clash,’ the film looks at the rifts within the company during the time of The Black Cauldron both during and even before the new regime settled in.
In this clip titled ‘A Truthful View’ from an extra from the DVD, Don Hahn and Peter Schneider are joined by film composer Alan Menken, Beauty and the Beast director Kirk Wise, The Lion King director Rob Minkoff and animator Randy Cartwright as they talk about the need for an honest view of the Studio’s proudest achievements which didn’t always seem like it would be at the time it all happened.
During the film (and in one of the extras), the extremely emotional document pays its respects to integral people who would never see the film’s release such as lyricist Howard Ashman and story artist/supervisor Joe Ranft (who would leave Disney to join fellow animator John Lasseter at Pixar). In this clip titled ‘The Sailor,’ the filmmakers and participants also pay their respects to Roy E. Disney who was very much involved in its production.
These are just a few of the many clips that have been released by Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment for Waking Sleeping Beauty which will be able to be owned on DVD on November 30. To see more, visit the official WDSHE YouTube channel.
Along with other just as riveting documentaries The Boys: The Sherman Brothers’ Story and Walt & El Grupo, Waking Sleeping Beauty will be released on November 30 and are currently available for pre-order.