Mortal Mouse

Composer Philip Glass takes on the last days of Walt Disney

As the curtain rises on the perfect American, a man clings, twisted and cowering, to the bars of his hospital bed. Music pulses, and an owl descends--a mere cartoon, but terrifying nonetheless--while a team of artists, almost menacing in their obsequiousness, sketch sets of circles that arrange themselves into a familiar mouselike form. The drawings function as a reveal of sorts: the man in the bed is Walt Disney, and he is dying. "Go away!" he cries. "I drift between knowing what is real and not real."

This is not the Uncle Walt of your childhood. The kindly, avuncular man who...

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