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Disney's "Song of the South"

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by JohnRyan, Sep 4, 2001.

  1. JohnRyan

    JohnRyan Stunt Coordinator

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    I know this movie has been banned from the U.S. But I got the chance to watch a Japanese version of it for the first time. I don't see what the big deal about it is.
    I am asking that Disney reconsider a release of "Song of the South" as this is a different place and time than what times were like when first released. I would love to see this wonderful film on DVD. It great animation!
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    "I've got to get me one of them DVD rewinders!"
     
  2. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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    I forgot. The last time this subject went around, less than a month ago (here: http://www.hometheaterforum.com/uub/Forum15/HTML/029232.html
    2) This film isn't as "magical" for me now, as it was 20-25 years ago. It's alright, but afterward I wished I could recall why I always thought the film was so special. Maybe you have to be in your pre-teens to think it's magical.
    3) Having said that, I still hope it gets made available on DVD, so my son can have the opportunity to experience that "magic" when he's, say, 8-12...like me.
    4) I didn't see much to be upset about. The three biggest objections were
    ...A) The use of the phrase "Tar Baby" in one of the cartoon sequences,
    ...B) That the black servants seen seemed to be more concerned about the young white boy than their own black child(ren), and
    ...C) that the young black boy wasn't invited to the birthday party.
    Responses:
    ...A) The "Tar Baby" was an inanimate thing, part of Brer Fox's attempt to trick Brer Rabbit. The phrase is not used in an insulting manner. It is a THING, used with no more emotion than to name the rope trap that Brer Fox first ensnares Brer Rabbit in. It's never presented as a slur, and can NOT be interpreted as a slur by a person watching the movie unless they have prior knowledge it is a slur.
    ...B) Yes, the movie is somewhat unclear as to whether the blacks on the plantation are slaves or servants or what, but then Disney shouldn't need to say, right? It ought to be assumed that this takes place after emancipation, and that therefore all seen are (now) paid servants. And the info in the story leads that way. As such, they are PAID to worry about what their employer tells them to...in this case, the little white boy.
    ...C) as for the birthday party, if this was a British setting would you expect the butler's son to be invited to his employer's grandson's birthday party? Not really, unless it was a crucial plot point, because in stories where there is class separation (and post-Civl-War Georgia qualifies, I am afraid to say). So, it is not *appropriate* for the employers of the house to invite the son of the servants to the party. Not to say it couldn't have been worked in, but actually that would be cheating history. It probably wouldn't have happened that way, right?
    Again, it is not difficult to compare SotS to Gone With the Wind, and find that neither one is objectionable at all. But if you had to pick one to offend more, GWtW is definately it.
    Lest anyone think my perceptions are skewed because they see in my profile that I live in Memphis, TN, let me tell you that I was born and raised in New York, New York. I've only lived in Memphis for the last 8-9 years, because the company I worked for then gave me a huge raise to move here and open up some new stores in new market for them (I changed careers about 4 years ago). I can also say that many of my friends here in town - of all possible segments of the community INCLUDING the black community, agree that they would love to be able to buy this film. I've never personally met anyone who has been upset by this film in any fashion.
    "And that's all I've got to say about that". [​IMG] Cheers,
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    DAVE/Memphis
    Widescreen is Family Fun!
    [​IMG]
     
  3. Chuck L

    Chuck L Screenwriter

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    I think that biggest thing that upsets me about Disney not having released this in the States, is the fact that it HAS been released in other countries.
    Was at a horror film convention last year and was amazed to find bootlegs fo the the film there. Plus, they were going at $60.00 a pop. AND SELLING!
    With a company as concerned about money as Disney is, the fact that they would let the blackmarket reap the rewards of their effort baffles me. But of course, we in the states are almost us to this form of censorship. (What also does not make sense to me is the fact that the DVD for Fantasia is tagged as beeing the original uncut classic and it is not.)
    I relate the non-release of this title in the states in the same light as the demand the companies that are aware of the releasing of unrated films. By not releasing the films in quality formats, they have made a huge marketplace for backyard and bootleg video, thereby, decreasing their own market potential for these titles.
    In the states, it is funny how concerned they are race issues, but yet is seems they have an open market on releasing films regarding other minority issues that could prove demeaning toward that population. While I do admit that we should be responsible for how we treat other people, that right should apply for everyone in any race or lifestyle.
    By sweeping under the rug "Song of The South," Disney is sending out a double message. The first being that maybe they are ashamed that they released the title to begin with. On the flip side of that, Disney is awfully proud of the money that the film has generated for them over the years in both overseas sells and in edited segments for video compilations.
    I don't find the film insulting in anyway. It isn't like anyone in the movie is made to feel less important or belittled. What is though insulting to me is the fact that Disney does not feel like America public can determine what is good for them and what is bad. Though on the flip side of things, it isn't like there are a lot of American's that can think for themselves.
     
  4. JohnRyan

    JohnRyan Stunt Coordinator

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    Not to mention....that Splash Mountain, which is based on Song of the South (HELLO!), is still in Disneyland and I've never heard anyone opposed to it being there because of any reasons that "Song of the South" could not be released in the USofA. The way I feel about the "Disney Empire" these days, after they have made some pretty poor choices and investments (California Adventure! [​IMG], DVDs, etc.), I'm not too happy with them anyway.
    But I would like for Disney to re-examine the situation with "Song of the South" and release it in the USA on DVD.
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    "I've got to get me one of them DVD rewinders!"
     
  5. Scott Weinberg

    Scott Weinberg Lead Actor

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    What's most bizarre about Disney's stance is this:
    We all know the movie exists and is considered 'forbidden' by Disney Inc. Instead of just releasing the movie with perhaps a disclaimer about "differing moral values througout the generations, etc.", they choose to pretend that the movie doesn't even exist. Which makes it seem all the more scandalous.
    Surely there's a better way to address these racist issues of the past other than simply sweeping the movie under the rug forever...
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    Scott
    Check out my Movie Reviews at Epinions. Help support my debilitating DVD addiction!
    AOL IM: TheAngryJew29
     

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