DISNEY ANIMATION: The Illusion of Life, by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston (Abbeville Press, $49). Two of the original Disney animators document for future generations just how they made those unforgettable characters like Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Bambi come alive on the screen. This is also a history of the Disney Studios as seen from the inside, with the authors re-creating the excitement and enthusiasm behind each marvelous animated film. Hundreds of their sketches and color photos illustrate the principles of animation and make this book a visual treat.
MASTERPIECES, commentary by Alistair Cooke (Knopf, $25. The knowledgeable host of "Masterpiece Theater," believe it or not, has embellished his commentaries and published them on the 10th anniversary of the distinguished series. Cooke calls the book a "family album," but it surpasses that simple description because it reveals his own evaluation of the difficulties and achievements of the series' literary adaptations--Pride and Prejudice, I, Claudius, The Mayor of Casterbridge.
MOVIES MADE FOR TELEVISION, by Alvin Marill (Arlington House, $29.95). The first reference book of its kind to deal specifically with television films and mini-series. Complete cast and production credits are given for the shows made between 1964 and 1979. Handsomely illustrated with over 300 stills, the book is a reminder of the many movies designed for the small screen that have become classics--Brian's Song, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, Sybil. A valuable addition to the sparse number of reference books on television.
TOGETHER AGAIN: Stories of the Great Hollywood Teams, by Garson Kanin (Doubleday, $24.95). An irresistible book that brings together 20 fabulous film twosomes, including Tracy and Hepburn, Bogart and Bacall, Hope and Crosby, Redford and Newman. The writer and director of numerous popular films, Kanin enlivens the "teaming up" stories with his own reminiscences. There are many wonderful photographs and several whimsical touches, as Kanin pictorially splices together his Dream Teams (Robert De Niro and Clara Bow, Jean Harlow and Marlon Brando) and gives a light- hearted look at Wrong Teams (Tab Hunter and Sophia Loren, Katharine Hepburn and Bob Hope) and Crazy Teams (W.C. Fields and Mae West).
THE HOLLYWOOD MUSICAL, by Clive Hirshorn (Crown, $30). "Every Hollywood Musical From 1927 to the Present Day" boasts the cover, and this impressive reference book is packed with the summaries and credits of 1,344 films. Gene Kelly has written the foreword, and the synopses follow in chronological order. There is an exhaustive index of song and music titles, performers and composers.
HOLLYWOOD MUSICALS, by Ted Sennett (Abrams, $50). This appears to be the year for books on Hollywood musicals, and film historian Ted Sennett and the art book publishers, Harry N. Abrams, have certainly produced the most spectacular. Astaire and Rogers practically dance off the pages of this large-formated book. The exquisite and lavish photographs (over a hundred in color) capture the lavishness of the films themselves. And the text, which begins with The Jazz Singer (1927) and ends with The Jazz Singer (1980), makes this a most readable book.
ANATOMY OF THE MOVIES, edited by David Pirie (Macmillan, $15.95). A serious, fascinating look at Hollywood from a business angle. The editor has collected articles by film journalists and critics that evaluate The Money and the Power, The Creators, The Craft, and The Product. Industry insiders like director Martin Scorsese, screenwriter Robert Towne and actor Donald Sutherland write candidly about their roles. Numerous charts and graphs further document the financial history, with special emphasis on the major Hollywood studios.