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Song of the South

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Jeff Swearingen, Jul 11, 2003.

  1. Jeff Swearingen

    Jeff Swearingen Well-Known Member

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    It's well known that Disney doesn't want to release Song of the South because of groups that claim it to be racist. Who should we contact that would be able to coerce/convince Disney that this should be preserved - at least as a historical document and a great performance by an African American actor - and finally get this film back in the public and out of the vaults?

    Who would have the clout to do this?

    Leonard Maltin?

    Roger Ebert?

    John Canemaker (animation historian)?

    Robert Harris?

    The NAACP?

    The AFI?

    Library of Congress National Film Registry?
     
  2. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Well-Known Member

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    No one

    Wait for it to be released in Japan and/or Europe

    get region free deck

    enjoy
     
  3. Jeff Swearingen

    Jeff Swearingen Well-Known Member

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    I submitted a nomination for this film to the National Film Registry today. Maybe if others do the same this will help.
    From http://lcweb.loc.gov/film/vote.html http://lcweb.loc.gov/film/vote.html
    Librarian of Congress James H. Billington seeks nominations for the National Film Registry. To be eligible for the Registry, a film must be at least 10 years old and be "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."
    Congress first established the National Film Registry in the 1988 National Film Preservation Act, and most recently extended the Registry with passage of the National Film Preservation Act of 1996. Along with mandating continuing implementation of a plan to save the American film heritage, this law authorizes the Librarian of Congress (after reviewing public suggestions and consulting extensively with film experts and the 40 members and alternates of the National Film Preservation Board) to select up to 25 films each year for inclusion in the Registry.
    The 325 films chosen during the first thirteen years illustrate the vibrant diversity of American film-making, and range from well-known Hollywood classics (Casablanca, The African Queen, and A Night at the Opera) to landmark independent, documentary and avant-garde masterpieces (Nothing But a Man, Louisiana Story, and Meshes of the Afternoon).
    For consideration, please forward recommendations (limit 50 titles per year) to:
    National Film Registry
    Library of Congress, MBRS Division
    Washington, D.C. 20540
    Attn: Steve Leggett
    Nominations may also be e-mailed to sleg@loc.gov.
     
  4. Patrick McCart

    Patrick McCart Well-Known Member

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    Maltin is pressuring Disney to release a DVD. I wouldn't be surprised if he got them to do it within the next year or so. (Of course, I could be wrong)

    Plus, it was supposedly one of the last restoration projects Scott MacQueen worked on before leaving Disney.

    In the mean time, check out the greyscale clips on the Disneyland USA and Behind The Scenes "Disney Treasures" DVDs.
     
  5. Jeremy Anderson

    Jeremy Anderson Well-Known Member

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    It had literally been years since I had seen Song Of The South, and recently a friend wrangled me a Japanese VCD of the movie. I had forgotten how great this movie is! It's an absolute crime that our new political correctness is being used as an excuse for not releasing this to DVD. But if it ever is released, count me in!
     
  6. Jon Robertson

    Jon Robertson Well-Known Member

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    Maybe if they did some sort of Sunrise-like mail order promotion, they could get it out that way, but not have to put up with any irate pickets at BestBuy, etc?
     
  7. Brian Kidd

    Brian Kidd Well-Known Member

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    The full "Zippidee Doo Da" number is on the BEHIND THE SCENES AT THE WALT DISNEY STUDIOS set in color!
    Still no substitute for a full release, but it's the best we Americans can hope for at the moment.
     
  8. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    I'm afraid that I'd be little help in getting the film released. The idea must come from within Disney.

    I have seen the film, not much more than a year ago, and I don't find anything about it objectionable.

    You have two sets of adults -- the family members and friends on the white landowner side, and the slaves on the other, who are brilliantly portrayed by two of the finest actors in Hollywood --

    Hattie McDaniel as Aunt Tempy and James Baskett as Uncle Remus. Mr. Baskett was a little known, but brilliant actor who was only 42 years old when he played the Remus character. It was his final film.

    Are some of the slaves treated sterotypically?

    A bit, but not to any excess, and certainly not to the derogation of the characters.

    Young Johnny, Driscoll, who is virtually disregarded by his family, which seems to always have better things to do, finds companionship, warmth and affection from the family slaves.

    And then there are the animated sequences, which literally pop from Uncle Remus' head.

    Gregg Toland's three-strip Technicolor cinematography is merely brilliant.

    Song of the South is one of the finest products to have come from the Disney studio, can stand on its own even through "modern" political correctness, and has the dual capability of both entertaining to the hilt and teaching important life lessons along the way.

    If more children growing up in the south half a century ago, had the ability to interact with a neighbor like Uncle Remus, the lessons of hate and bigotry learned and continued durng that period might well have been weakened.

    Imagine a world in which the work of Mr. King and others might have been a bit less difficult, and what it might be like to have him with us today as an elder stateman.

    Song of the South, placed in distribution today, still would not solve our remaining problems of bigotry, but if children could grow up on its warmth and its message, it might just allow some of those young who might become part of that system to think for themselves and discover that people are not automatically bad because of race, religion, national origin or sexual preference.

    I'm off the soapbox now.

    Song of the South is a great film.

    RAH
     
  9. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Well-Known Member

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    Well said, Mr Harris. This is not a racist film by any stretch of the imagination. Indeed, the adult black characters come off much better than the white ones.
     
  10. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I'm all for releasing "Song of the South" on dvd because I just feel that no film should be denied from the general public if they want to view it.



    RAH,

    However, I have to disagree with you about the above quote because I think you're being a little too naive and optimistic about how it was back then in the deep south. As my grandparents have told me many times, you had to be there to experience it first hand to understand the depth of such hatred and that's all I have to say about it at this time.

    Crawdaddy
     
  11. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Well-Known Member

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    I find it interesting that we have DVDs available of films like The Birth of a Nation and Triumph of the Will which (trivially) actively promote the repression of blacks by the KKK and the Nazi party, the availability of Song of the South should not be an issue.

    Of course I realize that young children are not likely candidates for avidly watching either of those films, but benign, self-imposed censorship is potentially even more dangerous than the overt kind.

    I am not, however persuaded by Robert Harris’ argument and I think that we should openly acknowledge the incipient racism in films like Song of the South, rather than rationalizing it away.
     
  12. Chad R

    Chad R Well-Known Member

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    I thought the largest objection has to do with the animated "tar baby" sequence, not necessarily the portrayal of slaves. I'm also not sure if it's just the term that offensive or something else in that sequence (haven't seen it in quite some time).
     
  13. Reagan

    Reagan Well-Known Member

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    For tons more info on Song of the South, check out the website
    http://www.songofthesouth.net/
    which even has the entire script. You can judge for yourself whether the movie is offensive.
    Leonard Maltin has said in interviews that there is "a chance" this will see a DVD release.
    That's all I have to say about Song of the South.
    -Reagan
     
  14. Eric Emma

    Eric Emma Well-Known Member

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  15. Jeff Swearingen

    Jeff Swearingen Well-Known Member

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    I think it's more important that the classic Uncle Remus folktales were saved from being lost to history and retold here than the implications. You can argue that any movie is offensive to some point.

    Hearing that Scott MacQueen worked on SOTS restoration is great news.
     
  16. Reagan

    Reagan Well-Known Member

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    Speaking of the Uncle Remus tales, you can walk into almost any research library and check out a copy of the entire catalog of the tales. The movie has three stories, but the book I read had at least 20.

    That's definitely the last thing I have to say about Song of the South.

    -Reagan
     
  17. Russell G

    Russell G Fake Shemp
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    I've been waiting to own this for I don't know how long. Having seeing this recently, I think the objection come in the portrayal of Brer Bear and Brer Fox, which are definitely racial stereotypes (not worse than any other animation stereotype done at the time however.)
     
  18. Chuck Bogie

    Chuck Bogie Well-Known Member

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    The same people who don't like this also don't like Huck Finn. And they likely haven't watched the film or read the book.
     
  19. Jon Martin

    Jon Martin Well-Known Member

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    Leonard Maltin would be the one who would have the clout to do this. He has a close relationship with Disney and knows the proper history.

    However, Roger Ebert has stated he doesn't want it released on DVD. On an episode of his show, when Harry Knowles was co-hosting, Knowles stated that he felt it should be released on DVD. Ebert said no way, that it should be made available to film scholars but not the general public. He felt it was still very offensive and did not want Disney to release it.
     
  20. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Well-Known Member

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