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Song of the South


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259 replies to this topic

#1 of 260 Jeff Swearingen

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Posted July 10 2003 - 05:33 PM

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 Who should we contact that would be able to coerce/convince Disney that this should be preserved - at least as a historical document and a great performance by an African American actor - and finally get this film back in the public and out of the vaults?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 of 260 Jeff Kleist

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Posted July 10 2003 - 05:46 PM

No one

Wait for it to be released in Japan and/or Europe
get region free deck
enjoy

#3 of 260 Jeff Swearingen

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Posted July 10 2003 - 05:56 PM

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

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 of 260 Patrick McCart

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Posted July 10 2003 - 07:36 PM

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 of 260 Jeremy Anderson

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Posted July 11 2003 - 12:12 AM

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 of 260 Jon Robertson

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Posted July 11 2003 - 12:17 AM

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 of 260 Brian Kidd

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Posted July 11 2003 - 01:33 AM

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.
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#8 of 260 Robert Harris

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Posted July 11 2003 - 01:38 AM

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

"All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." T.E. Lawrence


#9 of 260 Mark Zimmer

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Posted July 11 2003 - 01:59 AM

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 of 260 Robert Crawford

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Posted July 11 2003 - 02:13 AM

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.

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.

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.




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#11 of 260 Lew Crippen

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Posted July 11 2003 - 03:21 AM

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.
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#12 of 260 Chad R

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Posted July 11 2003 - 03:39 AM

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 of 260 Reagan

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Posted July 11 2003 - 04:26 AM

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
The truth doesn't care whether you believe it.

#14 of 260 Jeff Swearingen

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Posted July 11 2003 - 04:35 AM

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.

#15 of 260 Eric Emma

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Posted July 11 2003 - 04:34 AM

Quote:
No one

Wait for it to be released in Japan and/or Europe
get region free deck
enjoy


I have a region free deck only because I needed to update the firmware on my DVD player and the guy made it region free too. So is there going to be an overseas release of Song of the South?

#16 of 260 Reagan

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Posted July 11 2003 - 04:45 AM

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
The truth doesn't care whether you believe it.

#17 of 260 Russell G

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Posted July 11 2003 - 04:46 AM

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.)
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#18 of 260 Chuck Bogie

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Posted July 11 2003 - 04:56 AM

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 of 260 Jon Martin

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Posted July 11 2003 - 05:04 AM

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 of 260 Lew Crippen

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Posted July 11 2003 - 05:30 AM

Quote:
Ebert said no way, that it should be made available to film scholars but not the general public.

With all respect to Mr. Ebert’s encyclopedic knowledge of film and film history (but perhaps not of his knowledge of history overall), that argument has been used for centuries in support of censorship.

It is all right for us (the knowledgeable) but; the public is too (take your choice) naïve, unsophisticated, uneducated, too easily swayed by specious arguments, ignorant or stupid to be able to discern the truth behind this material and we must therefore protect the public.

For me, this is a specious argument.

I expect that any further discourse on my part would begin to cross the line on forum rules.
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