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The miracle of Disneyland was made through television and movies. It's no surprise that Walt Disney used his television and film dominance to create a vision of Disneyland in the public's eye that made it part playground, part historical recreation of a time that never really existed. The American vision of the idealistic 1950s that we have today is so thoroughly tied to the vision presented by Walt on Disneyland and Walt Disney Presents that the source material Walt used for his visions may as well be completely obscured.
And it was.
Disneyland Dream deals with the personal view of what a trip to Disneyland meant to that family. It was a document of their trip, made by a creative dad. Disneyland USA is Walt's vision of what he wanted people to walk away with. We start with a view of the park as it would have appeared in those early days, and a voice-over that makes it seem like Walt was over-seeing the terraforming of Mars, not the transformation of Orange County. It feels like an industrial film, and that's exactly what it is. It's a narrator telling us "This is what's magical" and we buy into it. The camerawork is fluid, and well crafted.
Of course, the segment on Tomorrowland is, by far, the most fascinating, and for good reason. 1950s Futurism is hot! It tells us what was seen as important from today, and thus worthy of carrying-through to tomorrow. The one piece that I had not known about, and not having seen this film for more than twenty years I guess that's understandable, is the model airplane club flying area. This tells you that Walt, even though he's often portrayed as a money-grabbing tyrant, was looking towards education, and particularly the sciences.
Overall, this is a film that helped make Disneyland into that sparkling dream. The shots of young African-American children enjoying the rides, of families, young and old, and of smiling happy-go-lucky fun being had made this into a film that broadcast the mass appeal of Disneyland, and that still rings through to today.
Klaus at Gunpoint
A Film Journal dedicated to all film.A segment of Office Supply Publishing.