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The Hand Behind the Mouse: The Ub Iwerks Story (1999)

A documentary on the life of the under-appreciated animator Ub Iwerks, who played a major role in the creation of Mickey Mouse.




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Cast overview, first billed only:
Himself / Narrator (voice)
Mark Kausler ...
Bob Broughton ...
John Hench ...
Joseph Adamson ...
Himself (as Joe Adamson)
Ed Friedman ...


A documentary on the life of the under-appreciated animator Ub Iwerks, who played a major role in the creation of Mickey Mouse.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis








Release Date:

17 December 2008 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

La main derrière la souris - L'histoire d'Ub Iwerks  »

Box Office


$600,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

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Did You Know?


The film was directed by Ub's granddaughter, Leslie. See more »


References Alice Gets in Dutch (1924) See more »

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User Reviews

An Absolute Must See
7 August 2004 | by (Glen Cove, New York) – See all my reviews

The story of the real man behind Mickey Mouse is must see viewing for anyone who wants to know where Mickey Mouse, Warner Brothers or any of the other classic cartoons came from.

Iwerks was Disney's "go to" guy who could figure out how to do anything, first with animation,later with work behind the scenes that brought Iwerks and the Disney Studios several Oscars.

Using dozens of clips and interviews this documentary makes the work and life of Iwerks wonderfully alive. We see how he went from the "simple" doodles of the 20's with Disney to the more complicated spectacles of the 30's at his own studio. We also see how the task of running a studio began to make his work suffer. And we see what magic he worked when he went back to Disney.

The joy of this film is seeing the mostly long forgotten cartoons and realizing where many of the gags that we take for granted came from. (Although if you want to see the magic in all its glory there are two DVDs worth of Iwerks non-Disney output available cheaply and they make for a great couple of evenings of viewing)

In some ways this film is more satisfying than the companion book, which often sent me scurrying to my video collection to see the cartoons they were talking about. Here what you see is what they are talking about.

This is simply one of the best films on animation and our cultural history. It fills a need that needed filling.

10 out of 10 for the gee whiz factor alone.

A personal comment. Despite the fact the Disney Studio financed and released this film, it was only released on VHS tape (granted DVD was coming in as this was first released) and has only been occasionally run on the Disney Channel. Its a grave injustice since this film deserves to be seen many more people. Search it out on tape or cable, its worth the effort.

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