Susan Smith on Pixar and Hitchcock

One of the sources I am interested in exploring further is a book written by Susan Smith, Toy Story: How Pixar Reinvented the Animated Feature (2018). Pixar, the world-renowned production company, was founded in 1986 in California. Toy Story was the first release, coming out in 1995. Other timeless animated films like “A Bug’s Life”, “Monsters, Inc.”, and “Finding Nemo” were produced prior to Disney acquiring the company for approximately $7.4 billion in 2006. Susan Smith is a senior lecturer and professor of film studies at the University of Sunderland in England. She has been teaching there for almost twenty-five years, since 1998Most of her work centers around Alfred Hitchcock, one of the most influential filmmakers of all time. Her most successful work about Hitchcock is her book Hitchcock: Suspense, Humour, and Tone (2000). She is also the author of the chapter “Hitchcock as Saboteur”, co-authoring the book Alfred Hitchcock: Centenary Essays (1999) with Richard Allen and Ishii Gonzales. She has a plethora of articles about Hitchcock, her most successful being “Cineaction (1999)- The Spatial World of Hitchcock’s Films”. As her time at the University of Sunderland has gone on, she has shifted her focus to animated film and musicals.

4 thoughts on “Susan Smith on Pixar and Hitchcock”

  1. 10) I’d love to know more about this professor and how the reading of her works has shaped your interest in the field. Does she have any criticisms or insights into the role of animated films that you had not considered before? Perhaps there are other scholarly works that she refers to or insights on particular films that you have used as well to forward your research and formulate your own arguments. Since animated films are such a beloved genre for so many, including myself, I think there is a lot to be looked at on their impact on our cultures and societies.

  2. Thanks for this piece, Julia; ostensible facts on Susan Smith as a scholar. Now it’s time to dive under. Why Smith and not others? Does her vision of Hitchcock evolve over the years? What is the transition like from Hitchcock to Pixar? Is there a transition? Why the shift? Does it matter? Disney bought Pixar: this seems to be monster corporate tendency to buy other company towards their monoply; does this figure in what Smith has to say? How have Smith works received; how many times cited? Disagreement? Contradiction? Good luck.

  3. Julia, this was an interesting summary about Susan Smith and I would like to hear more about why she is significant to your research. The title of her book, Toy Story: How Pixar Reinvented the Animated Feature, sounds very fascinating and I wonder if there is any scholarly work that speaks of the effects of Disney in the animated film world, and if Disney and Pixar affected the film industry in different ways or if they had relatively the same effect.

  4. I would love to hear more about Pixar’s motivation for Toy Story. I wonder what sort of motives they had and what type of message they wanted to share through the film. Also, it would be interesting to track any changes that were made in the films after Disney acquired Pixar. To connect to my own interests, the idea of archetypes manifesting themselves in movies is quite clear to me. Our culture loves movies and it is not so obvious why.

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