The idea of treating animated movies as fine art can seem laughable when the film in question is a cartoony, formulaic, hyper-promoted affair like, say, Disney’s Hercules. But the studio’s 1940 masterpiece Pinocchio deserves that moniker, and in Pierre Lambert’s coffee-table catalog of production sketches, backgrounds, and finished ”cels,” certifiable genius radiates through the pages. Lambert, a French animation buff and sometime consultant to Christie’s auction house (which, not coincidentally, will soon be hawking items pictured herein), provides only a scattershot text with no fresh interviews. His exegesis of which artists did what, however, and of how their individual strengths were matched to particular characters and scenes — such as broody, beefy draftsman Bill Tytla’s work on the volcanic puppet master Stromboli — is invaluable. So is the fact that this book enshrines the fullest flowering of a medium increasingly overtaken by marketing concerns. A-

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  • 100 minutes