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The Movie Date That Solidified J.R.R. Tolkien’s Dislike of Walt Disney

J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis were friends and carried on epic literary and religious discussions. They also went to see Disney's first animated feature film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, together in 1938 or '39. They hated it. Tolkien was particularly repulsed by how Disney portrayed dwarves.

Years later, in a 1964 letter to a Miss J.L. Curry at Stanford University, likely spurred on by the controversy surrounding Disney’s treatment of Mary Poppins, Tolkien further laid bare his true feelings on Disney’s work. He described Disney’s talent as “hopelessly corrupted,” writing, “Though in most of the ‘pictures’ proceeding from his studios there are admirable or charming passages, the effect of all of them is to me disgusting. Some have given me nausea…” He goes on to call Disney a “cheat,” noting that while he too had a profit motive behind his work, he wouldn’t stoop to working with Disney.

Read the particulars of Tolkien's and Lewis' criticism of Disney at Atlas Obscura. 


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