Song of the South

Discussion in 'Disney Rumors and News' started by raidermatt, Mar 16, 2007.

  1. raidermatt

    raidermatt Beware of the dark side. Anger...fear...aggression

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    Hadn't seen this mentioned here.

    At last year's shareholder meeting Bob Iger was asked about Song of the South being released, and he basically said "No."

    When asked again this year, he said they were revisiting that decision.

    The saga continues....
     
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  3. pkgman

    pkgman Mouseketeer

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    Disney just need to release SOTS and be done with it. Record sales or bust - either way it will end the debate. If it sales well then people really wanted it. If not, nobody buys it, its vaulted quickly and firestorm disappears.

    Disney just need to release SOTS and be done with it.
     
  4. MJMcBride

    MJMcBride Barely lost is barely found

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    I can't imagine they would bust this out of the vault.
     
  5. exDS vet

    exDS vet "How in the world can the words that I said send s

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    Where is the real drama with Song of the South? Is it racial or sexual? Or is it both? I watched it a while back (bootleg from Europe) and I didn't get it. The movie didn't really hold my attention very well. I had heard rumors of a racial issue. Did I miss it? Could somebody please explain this part? I can't find my copy of the movie.

    One thing I did notice that may be considered inappropriate was Uncle Remus referring to children as "Honey." That seemed kind of wierd to me and it was the only negative thing that I took away from it. Maybe people will think Uncle Remus was a pervert. Especially when he called the boys "Honey."
     
  6. YoHo

    YoHo If you have any poo to fling, now is the time.

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    It's not overtly racists, but it's offensive in that stepinfetchit kinda way.
     
  7. MJMcBride

    MJMcBride Barely lost is barely found

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    I agree. By the way, Yoho, I miss that pirate on your sig
     
  8. JimB.

    JimB. DIS Veteran

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  9. Horace Horsecollar

    Horace Horsecollar <font color=blue>DVC members represent a unique ca

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    That article ("Why Disney won't re-release 'Song of the South'", by EARL SWIFT, The Virginian-Pilot, 3/5/2007) does a great job explaining my some people find the 1946 feature "Song of the South" objectionable.

    But this article is out-of-date in one regard. The article from March 5, 2007, mentions Robert Iger's remarks at the 2006 Disney annual meeting. But a few days after the article was published, on March 8, 2007, Disney held their 2007 annual meeting. This time (as raidermatt noted), in response to a question, Robert Iger suggested he is reconsidering his earlier, absolute opposition to releasing "Song of the South" on DVD.

    I would much rather see Disney release a definitive version of "Song of the South," which would include discussion of the film's merits and flaws, than for "Song of the South" to be available only on bootleg DVDs (which are now widely available and easy to buy).

    Viewers -- whether they are adults or children, serious animation buffs or simply seekers of entertainment -- will get more out of the film if they understand more about the period in which the story takes place, more about the period in which the movie was made, and can hear intelligent discussion about why the film makes many people cringe, despite no racist intent (and, in fact, despite a genuine effort to show African Americans in positive roles).

    Obviously, not everyone would choose to watch such "bonus material," but it would be there for anyone who wants to see it. And if it's well done, I think most people will choose to see it.

    In comparison, the bootleg DVDs contain no such interpretive material. In fact, they're packaged to look like the Disney DVDs that people use as electronic babysitters for their children. "Song of the South" should be a Disney Treasure release (or something along those lines). It should be uncut, uncensored, and properly restored.

    The other advantage of a DVD release by Disney is that if people are going to see "Song of the South," they should see a properly restored version, with the best possible picture and sound quality. The film is a work of art, with wonderful character animation and merging of animation and live action that far exceeded anything that had been done previously.
     
  10. YoHo

    YoHo If you have any poo to fling, now is the time.

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    Horace, I agree, every film student in the country is required to watch Birth of a Nation. Movie that IS racist, because of it's importance to the Film arts. Song of the south is no different.
     
  11. Horace Horsecollar

    Horace Horsecollar <font color=blue>DVC members represent a unique ca

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    The difference, of course, is that pretty much the only people who watch "Birth of a Nation" are film students. But people plop their small children in front of TVs showing Disney DVDs over and over.

    A DVD release of "Song of the South" would probably sell more copies in a week than "Birth of a Nation" sells in a decade.

    In fact, I imagine that the current bootleg DVDs of "Song of the South" far outsell "Birth of a Nation," and have an entirely different audience.

    Precisely because people are watching "Song of the South" anyway, Disney owes it to audiences (including children), as well as to the people who made "Song of the South" over 60 years ago (without racist intentions), to release this feature properly, as described in my previous post in this thread.
     
  12. dwaters

    dwaters Mouseketeer

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    Great points Horace!

    I agree that they should just release it and be done with it already.

    There is a small part of me that kinda likes that there is a black sheep of the Disney family of movies (pun absolutely unintentional). The one they are holding back from us. There is a little bit of intrigue and mystery and a "release or not release" tension.
    It makes me want to get a bootleg and see it simply because I think "Disney releases everything- (Cinderella 3, Bambi 2, Lady and the Tramp 2, I'm looking at you.) this must be really bad if they pass up a chance to make a big profit from a DVD release.
     
  13. raidermatt

    raidermatt Beware of the dark side. Anger...fear...aggression

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    Can't be much worse than some of the stuff in Dumbo.
     
  14. DisneyGirl4188

    DisneyGirl4188 <font color=purple>Mike's Princess<br><font color=

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    I got a copy of SOTS and neither DH nor I could figure out what was so bad about it.
     
  15. TheRustyScupper

    TheRustyScupper Just once, I want to see a liar's pants on fire.

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    1) Sometimes, polictical correctness simply gets in the way of anything.
    2) Sometimes, of everything.
    3) There are only a few that hold offense with SOTS.
    4) They wish to rewrite history, I guess.
    5) I am sorry, but what was, was - and it can't be changed.
    6) One day - when I am very old (am already old/gray) - it will release.
     
  16. Horace Horsecollar

    Horace Horsecollar <font color=blue>DVC members represent a unique ca

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    It really isn't "so bad" -- but there are legitimate reasons why many reasonable people consider some aspects of the movie objectionable. If you haven't already read the article cited earlier in this thread -- "Why Disney won't re-release 'Song of the South'" by EARL SWIFT, The Virginian-Pilot, 3/5/2007 -- please do so.

    There are also criticisms that are not legitimate, such as the complaint that "Song of the South" is about happy slaves. (The story actually takes place during reconstruction, but this isn't clear even if you watch the movie.)

    I don't agree that critics of "Song of the South" are trying to rewrite history. If anything, they wish that "Song of the South" would be more true to history.

    "Song of the South" is clearly not an accurate, serious depiction of reconstruction, nor was that the goal of the movie. In a way, "Song of the South" tells us more about the entertainment industry in the 1940s than about the period in which the movie is set.

    Earlier in this thread, I advocated a Disney Treasures (or similar) release with interpretive material that would help children and adults understand the context of the "Song of the South."

    I hope Disney will not try to re-dub the lines to remove the stereotypical dialects and phrases or to somehow make the 1946 movie look and sound more as if it had been made in 2007. (Remember how the Disney Company digitally removed Pecos Bill's cigarette?) "Song of the South" deserves to be restored and to be seen as it was originally made.

    But it wouldn't hurt to let modern audiences understand about the period when the movie takes place and the period when it was made.
     
  17. Uncleromulus

    Uncleromulus <a href="http://www.wdwinfo.com/dis-sponsor/index.

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    Leonard Maltin in his book "The Disney Films" says:--"As for the original, SOS can speak for itself. Accusations of Uncle Tomisms and quibbles over it's syrupy story line are ultimately defeated by the films sheer entertainment value. It has some of the most delightful moments Disney ever captured on film--and that's what really counts".
    I tend to agree with that and it would be nice if Disney were to release it.
     
  18. Jason71

    Jason71 Brother to pirates and corsairs...

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    I did read the article, and, except for the fact that the cartoon characters have exaggerated accents, I still don't see what makes SOTS more objectionable than, say, The Shawshank Redemption or a half dozen other Morgan Freeman movies.

    BTW, don't stories of an oppressed rabbit using guile and courage to overcome his stronger adversaries (which happen to be Americanized versions of African folklore) seem more powerful coming from a freed slave? I know Disney's primary intent was to save money, but the framing device adds a depth to the story a straight animated feature would have lacked.

    That said, since the company is so gun-shy about this movie, and most of the criticism seems to be of Uncle Remus's Oscar-winning peformance, why not animate a new framing device to replace the live action sequences? The classic animation could be seen, and no one's sensibilities need be offended.
     
  19. Horace Horsecollar

    Horace Horsecollar <font color=blue>DVC members represent a unique ca

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    It's not just the "exaggerated accents." Please read the article about "Song of the South" at Snopes.com: http://www.snopes.com/disney/films/sots.htm

    Nobody is saying that "Song of the South" is a vile, disgusting, racist movie. But the movie sends messages at several points that the black workers know their place and welcome it -- not simply due to an employer-employee relationship, but because they enjoy their role of being subservient to the white gentry.

    Yes. But the 1946 Disney movie didn't even make it clear that the Uncle Remus character was a freed slave. The movie took place on a plantation, and glorified plantation life. People reading this thread know that the story takes place after the Civil War, during reconstruction, but the movie itself does not make it clear when the story is taking place.

    Without a proper context, the movie sends the creepy message, "The slaves were happy to serve their masters."

    My sensibilities would be extremely offended if this work of art were butchered in such a way. Fortunately, the chance of that happening is essentially zero.

    The charm and artistry of "Song of the South" isn't just due to the classic animation. The scenes that combined live action and animation were a milestone in that technique and continue to be some of the most enjoyable parts of the movie. And the scenes that are 100% live action are integral to the overall movie. James Baskett as Uncle Remus gave a wonderful performance.

    There's nothing wrong with the movie that an introductory segment and some intelligent "bonus material" couldn't address. The DVD should not be marketed as a "plop your kids in front of the TV" product. It should be marketed as an important milestone for Walt Disney and Walt Disney Productions, with the acknowledgment that such a film would be made differently in 2007.
     
  20. MadScouser

    MadScouser DIS Veteran

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    Interesting discussion.

    Maybe because I am from the UK (and actually own a video of SOTS, and seen it in the last month) I cannot see the fuss about it.

    Like all films /books / related media - it needs to be seen in context.

    I know some americans who hate the Will Smith film 'Independance Day' with its 'Americans beat the aliens' theme. Personally, I chuckle at the dialogue and the storyline.

    Is it racist ? IMHO, no. Dated compared to 2007 - yes. But no more so than something like 'Pride and Prejudice' or 'A Christmas Carol' is.

    I would probably take more 'offence' at Dick Van ****'s cockney accent in Mary Poppins, but then again, as I said, I am British not American.

    Overall I think the film promotes tolerance and has some fantastic characters like Uncle Remus. Surely better to celebrate the postive things then accentuate a few negatives ?
     
  21. HarambeGuy

    HarambeGuy Jambo!

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    :lmao: Yep, it's pretty pathetic. Sounds even more appalling when paired with the songbird-like Julie Andrews.

    One comment: I own one of the Mickey collections, which contains cartoons featuring Amos/Andy type voices for some of the bit characters. These cartoons are introduced by Leonard Maltin and he explains how the cartoons were a product of their times etc. etc. and how it wouldn't be right to edit them or ignore them. All good points, but he's such a dweeb! I hope if they ever do let SOTS out of the vault that they'll get somebody better to do the interpretive stuff. Like Whoopi Goldberg on the Looney Tunes collections.

    Anyway, carry on. I'm almost a carbon copy of Horace Horsecollar on this issue, so I'll go back to being a spectator popcorn::
     

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