Pierre Lambert Is Back, This Time With Mickey
The text is also peppered with overly literal translations, misspellings and small, but surprising factual errors. When Lambert translates an interview with Walt Disney reflecting on the limits Mickey acquired over the years into French, he concludes, "Que voulez-vous faire avec un tel premier rôle," which Herman renders as, "What are you going to do with a leading role like that." The obvious meaning is "a leading man like that," and it would have been easier to quote the original interview than retranslate it. Similarly, Chip 'n Dale are "squirrels" (écureuils) in France, because there are no chipmunks in Europe; they're indigenous to North America. But Herman keeps them squirrels in English. Friz Freleng and Ben Sharpsteen are listed as producers, rather than directors.
The oddest gaff -- which appears only in the English edition -- is the note that "the 'Moonlight Sonata' by Debussy" was recorded by Leopold Stokowski for Fantasia. Walt planned to add Debussy's 'Claire de Lune' to Fantasia, but abandoned the idea when the film did poorly on its initial release. The animation was later re-cut and set to 'Blue Bayou' in Make Mine Music. Hyperion is owned by Disney, and their editors should have caught the mistakes about the studio's history.
But these caveats are too minor to weaken the appeal of this beautiful book, which made a splendid 70th birthday present for Mickey when it appeared in France last year.
Mickey Mouse, by Pierre Lambert. Foreword by Roy E. Disney. New York, New York: Hyperion, 1998. 298 pages. ISBN 0-7868-6453-2 (US$150.00)
Charles Solomon is an internationally respected critic and historian of
animation. His most recent books include The Disney That Never Was (Hyperion,
1995), Les Pionniers du Dessin Animé Américain (Dreamland, Paris,
1996) and Enchanted Drawings: The History of Animation (Knopf, 1989;
reprinted, Wings, 1994). His writings on the subject have appeared in TV
Guide, Rolling Stone, The Los Angeles Times, Modern Maturity, Film Comment,
The Hollywood Reporter, Millimeter, The Manchester Guardian, and been reprinted
in newspapers and professional journals in the United States, Canada, France,
Russia, Britain, Israel, the Netherlands and Japan.