It has been demonstrated that images of madness in the media powerfully influence the general public and serve to perpetuate popular stereotypes of mental illness (Philo et al, 1993). While the cinema's treatment of psychiatric issues has received critical attention (Gabard & Gabard, 1987), there is one area of film-making that has, so far, been neglected: the work of Walt Disney. Perhaps, because it has been primarily regarded as entertainment for children, Disney's work has not been subjected to serious examination. This neglect, however, is surprising in view of the current debate about the influence of the media on children. When one also considers that Disney films are now available on video and are being seen by millions, it seems worthwhile to look at the images of madness they present.
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