Song of the South

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Zack Scott, Aug 12, 2001.

  1. Zack Scott

    Zack Scott Stunt Coordinator

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    Ok so, I work at Disneyland. That cat is out of the bag. I get so many questions about Video releases and why some movies haven't been released and such and I have to come up with a good bullshit ansewer. SOng of the South comes up alot and I always tell my "Guests" about Disney's reluctance to release this movie and to write a letter to Disney about their wishes and I also mention Anchor Bay.
    SO anyway, today I'm helping a "guest" who just happens to be a "cast member" (i.e. Disney employee) who just happens to work at Buena Vista Home Video in charge of DVD authoring. In fact she's working on the Snow White DVD at this very moment!!!!. When she tells me this I ask her about "Song of the South" and she says " it isn't in our immediate plans for the coming year." I say "well, I know that and I know about how We (being Disney) shy away from S.O.T.H." Then I mention Anchor Bay. She got kind of uncomfortable about that and tried to change the subject real quick.
    So to make a long story short...I tried to give other options and They didn't listen. It looks like We won't see S.O.T.H. for at least a couple of years but Hopefully Disney will give it to Anchor Bay.
     
  2. Daniel Schenk

    Daniel Schenk Stunt Coordinator

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    I really don`t think that Disney ever would give away an Animated Movie to another Studio. I don`t know why you mentioned Anchor Bay,but it would be the same to ask Lucasfilm to give Indiana Jones to Disney for a DVD release! Highly unlikely.
     
  3. Geoffrey_A

    Geoffrey_A Second Unit

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    Anchor Bay has released a number of films that Disney has been unwilling or uninterested in releasing. Notably The Black hole and Watcher in the woods. There may be others, but it's late right now and I can't remember. Song of the South was only partially animated. Tha majority of the film is live action. As such, Anchor Bay might be a good route for Disney to go with this one, allows them to distance themselves from it a bit.
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  4. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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    I realize that for Disney this is a tricky issue.
    Imagine, say, the reaction they would receive if they went to the NAACP and asked them, "How would you guys react if we put SoTS out on home video?".
    "Well, we'd organize a massive protest and boycott against you, of course!" would be the most likely response, in my mind.
    Disney's BEST move, from a PA/marketing standpoint, would be to try to put any release of this title on home video into a historical perspective: get co-operation from someone important and upstanding in the black community. I personally would suggest General Colin Powell! (God, I admire that man!)
    Whoever it ends up being, this person should appear shoulder-to-shoulder with Roy Disney on an introduction to the film. They should discuss how we have, in our history, some unfortunate (to say the least!) attitudes concerning relationships between different groups and races. That we all did bitterly disappointing things to one another, and among the very worst of those was slavery. And how, on the road to enlightenment, the slaves were freed...but it took a looooong time for the common person - who grew up with one set of attitudes about the races! - to change over into a more understanding set of attitudes. And how Song of the South is set during this particular historical period in the United States. And how, less than a hundred years later, many studios (including Disney) were telling stories about the life and times of the people in that era.
    They should assure everyone that no such attitudes are endorsed today, least of all by the Walt Disney corporation or any of their affiliates or partners.
    It should be then noted by Roy and his guest that, for archival purposes, Song of the South is next going to be presented in it's orginal, unedited, unmodified form...as first seen in theatres back in 1946.
    Do you think this idea would fly at all? What Disney needs to do here is receive the NAACP's endorsement on any SoTS release...not their condemnation. And, after all, we should face our past...not hide from it! That's the only way to make things better...and to learn from our mistakes.
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  5. Richard Kim

    Richard Kim Producer

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    How ironic that Disney wants to sweep SOTS under the rug, when just last night I saw a Disney commercial that used "Zip-a-dee Doo-Dah" as its theme song!
    Also, regarding the NAACP, I've heard that they never made any protest or demonstration against the film, this is just Disney protecting its "wholesome family entertainment" corporate image.
    [Edited last by Richard Kim on August 12, 2001 at 09:25 AM]
    [Edited last by Richard Kim on August 12, 2001 at 09:25 AM]
     
  6. Jan Strnad

    Jan Strnad Screenwriter

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    I think the scenario above is a great one. Disney could definitely do this. A built-in discussion would be great for parents who want to see the movie and show it to their kids but who are uncertain how to talk about it with them.
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  7. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    The VHS tape (PAL and SECAM) is (legally) still available from stores all over Europe. Of course, I hope a DVD would be released here too, but I guess it won't happen very readily. Disney's representative (or the licence holder) over here would have to make a digital copy - I don't know how likely that scenario is.
    Probably no current licence will cover that.
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    [Edited last by Cees Alons on August 12, 2001 at 11:05 AM]
     
  8. Scooter

    Scooter Screenwriter

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    I have had my LD of this for a LONG time..since the early 80's, a Japanese import. I am SOOOOO glad I got it when I did...and it shows ZERO laser rot infliction! That being said:
    Forget a serious discussion...historical perspective from Roy or any of that. Just release the damn film! And if Disney wanted to put it out there and really get distance...let it be released in Malaysia or some other far off land, Region Zero! That way anyone who wants it can watch it.
    I've frankly had it with this PC stuff. My son Morgan and I got into a discussion about this last night re: The censored Disney thread...and I gave him the example of Pecos Bill and the eradicated gun and cigarette issue. I mean...in a release of Birth Of A Nation is there a dissertation on the historical revelance of the film..or an apology for it even being made???? Just let us watch the damn movie!
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  9. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Producer

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    It amazes me that Disney and others are so concerned with revising history. They had enough commitment to the project back then to finance it and release it, and accept profuts off it, but now they want to erase that from the collective conciousness. If I were a minority, I would be insulted that films which show racism are being withheld from the market. Black people were slaves, Jews were persecuted by the Nazis. Withholding films from and about those eras is doing a disservice to future generations, who need to know how to recognise discrimination and racial hatred, otherwise they are doomed to repeat it.
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  10. Brian Kidd

    Brian Kidd Screenwriter
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    Let me go on record here with an opinion that may not be popular to some folks. SOTS isn't racist. Truly. It portrays a time in our history when Blacks were not treated very well. However, the character with whom we fall in love and respect the most is Black. Uncle Remus is wise and loving. If anything, the rich White folks are looked on as being a tad stupid for treating Uncle Remus with less respect than he deserves. The idea that SOTS is racist is one that has been fostered in the collective subconscious of the American public. In truth, not that many folks have seen the film in a very long time. When you add time to negative suggestions, you can often change a person's perspective on something, even if the negative aspects have no real basis in truth. I think it's a shame that Disney is so scared of potential, unfounded controversy that they have shelved one of their greatest films. Alas, we live and die by market research. Welcome to the Corporate Century!
     
  11. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Lead Actor

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    Reasons why Song of the South doesn't deserve this "banishment":
    1. James Baskett won an Oscar for his role.
    2. Oscar winner Hattie McDaniel plays Aunt Tempy
    3. Gregg Toland is the director of cinematography.
    4. Baskett is also the first live-action actor to be hired by Disney (Excluding Deems Taylor from Fantasia...he wasn't really an actor in the film)
    5. The movie is based on the stories published by Joel Chandler Harris, which in turn are based on stories told by slaves in the middle of the 19th century.
    6. Won an oscar for best song.
    7. Terrific animation!
    Disney will eventually have to release the movie to DVD or some other home video when they renew the copyright. Disney avoids the public domain like a door-to-door salesman.
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    [Edited last by PatrickMcCart on August 12, 2001 at 01:19 PM]
     
  12. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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  13. Jeff Adkins

    Jeff Adkins Screenwriter

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  14. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    Jeff,
    Yes, but isn't there an important difference between a public exhibition and a private viewing inside one's home?
    Although it can be said that no-one is forced to the theatre as well, there is a difference between the selection process in a (rental- or sales-) store, followed by a sheltered viewing at home.
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  15. Larry Bevil

    Larry Bevil Second Unit

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    Zack:
    I wrote to Buena Vista Home Video last year with the same question you had. And I got the same answer you did. They didn't say NO! But, they didn't say YES! either. My impression of their response was that they didn't want to answer the question and it was a "put off". Fortunately I have SOTS on laserdisc. But I would love a dvd if for no other reason but to get rid of those Japanese subtitles during the songs. It's a great little movie - far better than So Dear To My Heart - which it seems that Disney released to sort of appease those of us that would like SOTS on dvd. Didn't work for me, however.
     
  16. Scott Strang

    Scott Strang Screenwriter

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    Jeff sez;
     
  17. Alex Johnson

    Alex Johnson Stunt Coordinator

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    song of the south is not really part of the disney animated film series, although it does boast animation from their peak period..
    here's to hoping they do license it out because of that, or give it a vista release (yes, that's technically wishful thinking, but maybe somebody from the mouse will read that and agree [​IMG]).
    here's the list with release year:
    1snow white and the seven dwarfs (1937)
    2pinocchio (1940)
    3fantasia (1940)
    4dumbo (1941)
    5bambi (1942)
    6saludos amigos (1943)
    7the three caballeros(1945)
    8make mine music(1946)
    9fun and fancy free(1947)
    10melody time (1948)
    11the adventures of ichabod and mr. toad (1949)
    12cinderella (1950)
    13alice in wonderland (1951)
    14peter pan(1953)
    15lady and the tramp (1955)
    16sleeping beauty (1959)
    17101 dalmatians (1961)
    18the sword in the stone(1963)
    19the jungle book(1967)
    20the aristocats(1970)
    21robin hood (1973)
    22the many adventures of winnie the pooh(1977)
    23the rescuers(1977)
    24the fox and the hound(1981)
    25the black cauldron(1985)
    26the great mouse detective(1986)
    27oliver and company(1988)
    28the little mermaid (1989)
    29the rescuers down under(1990)
    30beauty and the beast(1991)
    31aladdin (1992)
    32the lion king (1994)
    33pocahontas(1995)
    34the hunchback of notre dame(1996)
    35hercules(1997)
    36mulan (1998)
    37tarzan(1999)
    38fantasia 2000(2000)** *
    39the emperors new groove (2000)***
    40atlantis: the lost empire(2001)
    a
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  18. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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  19. Alex Johnson

    Alex Johnson Stunt Coordinator

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    oh, i'm down with having it released on dvd - i've wanted the title for some time, but did not want to repost my thoughts on that aspect of the release as i almost feel talked out about it at this time.
    i have been making due with the japanese ld and will until it is eventually rereleased.
    a
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  20. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    CAUTION-RACIAL EPITHETS USED IN SERIOUS DISCUSSION BELOW:
    I don't think that the objection is so much the portrayal of Uncle Remus or the other blacks (they're presented as highly sympathetic, much more so than the white adults). Spoiler: I think it's the animated segment relating to the Tar Baby. While "tar baby" is an accurate description of the trap laid by Brer Fox for Brer Rabbit (and I believe the source of the phrase as commonly stated), it is of course an ethnic slur today. I can readily understand why Disney is reluctant to release a cartoon that is aimed at children but uses what is today a highly offensive term equivalent to "jigaboo" or "spearchucker." The black public wouldn't stand for that, and not without reason. If Mary Poppins referred to Jews as "kikes" or blacks as "Sambos" we probably wouldn't see that movie either. But that's just a theory.
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