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Possible Release of Disney's "Song of the South"?

Discussion in 'DVD' started by George Fogel, Dec 30, 2004.

  1. Joe Lugoff

    Joe Lugoff Cinematographer

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    Yeah, I guess you're right. White history has hidden the truth: Most African-Americans in the postbellum South were nuclear physicists and spoke impeccable English.
     
  2. Keith Paynter

    Keith Paynter Screenwriter

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    James Baskett has the best screen presence. Conversely, Bobby Driscoll has the worst (He would be marginally better in Treasure Island). The animation is top notch, but sadly, inexperienced people may likely skip over most of the songs (other than the landmark "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah").

    As indifferent as I have become over the ability to sit through the film anymore (after viewing poor-quality illegal source versions) I did shell out $100 for a 2nd generation Japanese LD on eBay this month. I'm not that desperate to go after the subtitle-free Hong Kong disc, and I have been zealous in reporting boot DVD's on eBay.
     
  3. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    And, Rex: Are you trying to make the point that you disagree with Joe's opinion? And, if so, you would know this how exactly?
     
  4. Stephen_J_H

    Stephen_J_H All Things Film Junkie

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    Frankly, how is the portrayal of African Americans in SOTS any worse in terms of stereotyping than gangsta rap? Think about the similarities..... it boggles the mind.
     
  5. Brian W.

    Brian W. Screenwriter

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    That is very true.
     
  6. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Director

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    All recent posts relating to a bootleg version have been removed. Any more such posts will result in removal of the poster. First, last, and only warning.

    M.
     
  7. Rex Bachmann

    Rex Bachmann Screenwriter

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    Joe Lugoff wrote (post #320):


    Actually, what matters most in such a debate is to whom a given idea/portrayal/concept/whatever is offensive. Obviously, if you don't find anything of yourself in the object or subject of a given concept or portrayal, you're not likely to care whether it is or isn't offensive to somebody else (or, consequently, to see what all the "fuss" is about).
     
  8. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    but that's not what I meant. I meant that the people who put up the biggest stink, aren't always the most offended people out there...they're just the most vocal.
     
  9. Joe Lugoff

    Joe Lugoff Cinematographer

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    That's exactly it -- I totally disagree with Rex B.'s thesis, although he writes extremely well.
    We'll only hear from the most offended and the most vocal -- and their viewpoints will probably be atypical. Some people go out of their way to be offended.

    I'm wondering why only the offended peoples' viewpoints "matter." Why would someone who's not offended have their lack of offense be dismissed? Isn't it significant at all?
     
  10. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    Rex:

    Greed be damned. I believe the point most have been making here is if the Disney Company would go ahead and release the film (which, I believe, it is poised to do) people will see that their concerns are much ado about nothing. That is, that the expected offensive characterizations are not as bad as some have made them out to be.

    When you questioned Joe's ability to know that:


    you failed to make a case yourself as to why you believed him unable to have that opinion. I would suspect that he's seen the entire movie and has some knowledge of history and is capable of making personal judgments. I don't know that to be true...because I am not Joe nor do I know him. But your terse reply seemed to be challenging his assertion...without relating the basis of your doubt.

    I recall no one here claiming that SotS is a piece of "noncritiqueable Americana." In fact, many have noted their belief that much of the film is a plodding, dull mess. Regards the discussion of racial prejudice, I would again say that if you've read this entire thread you'd know that while many understand the sensitivities of the racial depictions, they merely are expressing their belief that the characterizations in this film should stand alongside those of other films like GWTW and Birth of a Nation and be judged by their viewers.

    I will go out on a limb here and say that most of the HTF community is more interested in the place of Song of the South in American film history than the depiction of history within the film itself.

    And I am guessing that when you call SotS "this trivium of a film", you are trying to call it a trivial film. Are you questioning its importance in the entire catalog of film since its creation or perhaps saying it's unworthy of the amount of discussion devoted to it on this forum? I wonder on what basis you make that claim of triviality? To some this film holds an important place in film history. I see no reason to attempt to thumb your nose at it.
     
  11. Rex Bachmann

    Rex Bachmann Screenwriter

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    Joe Lugoff wrote (post #329):


    Quote:



    We'll only hear from the most offended and the most vocal . . . .






    Not necessarily so at all. There are plenty who may take deep offense and, yet, not be "activist" at all. Their nonactivism does not necessarily betoken nonexistence---or nonoffense. Richard Nixon won election to the presidency by appeal to what was then called the (nondemonstrative) "silent majority".

    Actually, the majority of people don't usually get involved in anything. (Nowadays that includes democratic elections in the U.S.) They're still out there, though.


    Quote:



    . . . . and their viewpoints will probably be atypical.





    [Hmmmmm]. Again your means of knowing this? Do you want to apply this generalization to, say, the recent "nappied-headed ho's" remark made against a college women's basketball team by a certain (semi-)disgraced radio broadcaster ("shock jock")?

    Was the "outrage" expressed by some really vocal types "atypical"? If so, the implication would seem to be that the vast majority of the public (that is, that part of the public that was exposed to the comments at some point along the way) was, at the very least, indifferent to the comments---and, if this is so, why would that be, yah think?---or (perhaps) worse (depending on one's own sociopolitical views), quite receptive of them.



    Quote:



    Some people go out of their way to be offended.





    Well, some go out of their way to express their offense, I think would be more accurate. But then, too, there are the self-appointed spokesmen: the professional provocateurs, the charlatans, and the self-seekers. We all know that.


    Mike Frezon wrote (post #330):



    Quote:



    you failed to make a case yourself as to why you believed [Joe Lugoff] unable to have that opinion.





    Obviously, each of us is able to have any opinion he likes. I asked about knowledge and its sources, not about opinions.


    Quote:



    I would suspect that he's seen the entire movie and has some knowledge of history and is capable of making personal judgments. . . . But your terse reply seemed to be challenging his assertion... without relating the basis of your doubt.





    Well, simply put, I would---and do---doubt any statement about history and accuracy that is based on viewing any filmed Hollywood product. I would no more believe that the depictions in Song of the South give a full and undistorted ("accurate") look at postbellum black American sharecroppers---no matter how "accurate" the intended viewing audience might find the dialects and characterizations---than I would that Cleopatra (1963) gives an undistorted depiction of life in the nascent Roman Empire, or King David (1985) renders that of the ancient Hebrews, or, for that matter, that The Conqueror (1956) renders that of the Mongol hordes during their expansion into and conquest in Western Asia and mainland medieval Europe. Like everything else in these movies, what you get is a construct. I have a hard time taking seriously the statements of anyone who himself takes seriously as "truth" what comes out of Hollywood-produced mass-audience films. Period.


    Quote:



    I recall no one here claiming that SotS is a piece of "noncritiqueable Americana." In fact, many have noted their belief that much of the film is a plodding, dull mess.





    By "noncritiquable . . . piece of 'Americana'" I meant that it seems to me the film is held by many as some "national treasure" whose "Americanism" (e.g., as embodied by its supposedly accurate depictions of a historic part of the society) is somehow above reproach, which, in my opinion, it most certainly is not.



    Quote:



    . . . . if you've read this entire thread . . . . .





    I've read enough of it, and both read and participated in previous discussions of the exact same topic and the same old same-old (SOSO) comes through every time.


    Quote:



    . . . . many understand the sensitivities of the racial depictions, . . .





    Do they? See, that's where we part. I get the definite impression that many don't. They have a perspective and that's it. Period. ("I never saw anything wrong with it, so what's the problem?")


    Quote:



    I will go out on a limb here and say that most of the HTF community is more interested in the place of Song of the South in American film history than the depiction of history within the film itself.





    Okay, so what is its place in "American film history", according to this theory?


    Quote:



    To some this film holds an important place in film history.





    To whom would that be, I wonder, and on what basis? What has the film done to revolutionize (or whatever is claimed) film history? How will its absence or oblivion harm "film history" or American history, for that matter?


    Quote:



    Are you questioning its importance in the entire catalog of film since its creation or perhaps saying it's unworthy of the amount of discussion devoted to it on this forum?





    It is unworthy of all the heat (pro or con) that surrounds its release (or nonrelease). Americans have not been deprived of an invaluable piece of their inalienable birthright if the Disney company decides to sit on/suppress/hold back---pick your term---its lawful (private) property. Americans are not, and will not, be mortally wounded, aggrieved, or debased if the Disney company decides to release/purvey/unleash---pick your term---its lawful (private) property. Both, in my view, are equally valid (and nonmutually exclusive) statements.


    Quote:



    I wonder on what basis you make that claim of triviality? To some this film holds an important place in film history. I see no reason to attempt to thumb your nose at it.





    I can't imagine what it could possibly offer with (perhaps) the lone exception of pioneering a film technique of mixing live action and animation, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? did that as well (and better!), and what substantial impact has it had on overall film history? Negligible, as I see it.



    Quote:



    I'm wondering why only the offended peoples' viewpoints "matter."





    That wasn't the claim (on my part, at least).


    Quote:



    Why would someone who's not offended have their lack of offense be dismissed? Isn't it significant at all?





    It would not be significant "in such debates" simply because that person or persons have, for whatever reason, not involved themselves in the debate.

    My assertion came in reäction to the claim that degree of offense is the key issue in "such debates". My observation is that the real debate surrounding the whole (so-called) "political-correctness" issue, which not a few in this thread and many another thread on this and other films/tv programming have whined on and on and on about, is, at its core, about who gets offended and who gets to decide what is an "appropriate source" of offense.

    It's not about "freedom" or "justice", it's about power: who has the "right" or, more accurately, the prerogative of deciding for others what they should find "offensive", and, consequently, what should be done about the offense. It's all very well to say that, once something has been aired or released to the public, "people"---again, which people do you mean?---will find whatever it is "not so offensive" just because you and your like-minded associates don't.


    Quote:



    I believe the point most have been making here is if the Disney Company would go ahead and release the film (which, I believe, it is poised to do) people will see that their concerns are much ado about nothing. That is, that the expected offensive characterizations are not as bad as some have made them out to be.





    And, if a given item is published or released and those with substantially different background and life-experience, and, consequently, substantially different perspectives on common issues don't see it as you do, what then?

    It ultimately comes down to one's willingness to take seriously other people's perspectives on given matters. If you say, "Well, I don't find X offensive, so what's the fuss?, and if 'they' [those with opposing views] don't like it, there it is anyhow, so there! . . . ." (which, by the way, seems to be the way our two major (U.S.) political parties behave these days), what kind of perspective-taking ability do you have? If none, do you care? If one doesn't care, there's probably no chance of ever reaching common ground (or of solving big problems, which more often than not require some kind of general consensus). "Preaching to the choir" is ultimately an empty exercise.
     
  12. David_B_K

    David_B_K Advanced Member

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    Rex, your verbosity on this subject overwhelms me. You seem to want to make the case that film is not worthy of all the controversy (pro-and con) and proceed to write reams about it. Can you (for my sake) state your opinion about the proposed release in a nutshell without debating every single phrase of every poster that replies to you?

    Am I correct that your opinion is that the film isn't very good, and that if it offends some mother's son it should not be released? If I am mis-stating it, forgive me. I am not used to reading such epic posts on such trivial subjects as SOTS.
     
  13. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    David: I suspect Rex' verbosity is simply intended to obfuscate his real mission to challenge posters in this thread without staking his own claim re: the film.

    Neither Joe nor I ever claimed that viewing SotS would give an audience an accurate representation of life in a post-Civil War South. You are making argument for the sake of it.

    While Rex may opine that Song of the South is a trivial film in the catalog of American feature films, the place of this much-loved film in American film history is clear: from the ground-breaking use of animation with live-action, to it's superb & lovable performance by James Baskett, through to its inclusion of one of the most recognizable songs (possibly) in the whole world...and a whole lot more.

    Why someone who admits to having only seen "snippets" of the film would think they are qualified to declare its impact on film history "negligible" and also be able to draw comparisons of it to another film (Who Framed Roger Rabbit?) is beyond me.

    Rex: If you had read more of this thread, I believe you would have found your assertion that "Americans have not been deprived of an invaluable piece of their inalienable birthright" with the lack of release of SotS is a charge that has not been made. People just want the film released on a medium they can purchase and enjoy.

    Posters recognize the Disney company's ownership of the property and ability to handle it as seen fit. Most members of the HTF community, however, are of the opinion that Disney has no real reason to keep the film from being seen.

    What a surprise that members of a home theater community wants access to a film....regardless of what others may think of its content. While you may deride the majority of posts in this thread as simply "preaching to the choir" and not attempting to understand the sensitivities to the racial concerns of others...well, then, you are mistaken.

    People here understand that any work of art is going to be received in distinct ways by the various individuals that view it. Some may see it as offensive...others may praise it. Regardless, the art should be viewed and discussed...to stimulate, educate and enjoy.

    EDIT** To include reference to James Baskett's performance.
     
  14. Joe Lugoff

    Joe Lugoff Cinematographer

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    Rex B., your lack of logic negates your argument. I said we'll only hear from the most offended and the most vocal. And you said: I can't prove it -- and, of course, no one could ever prove it (or anything, I'd guess) to your satisfaction -- but most people couldn't care less about how African-Americans were portrayed in 60 year old movies.
     
  15. Dave Kalloch

    Dave Kalloch Stunt Coordinator

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    Link removed by moderator. Bootleg? I found a link to this site on Rotten Tomatoes.
     
  16. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    I would say it's a bootleg. Isn't that U (inside the green logo) a European ratings symbol?
     
  17. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Director

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    It doesn't matter where you find the link. If there were an official release, you can be sure that one or more of the participants in this thread would know about it.

    M.
     
  18. Dave Kalloch

    Dave Kalloch Stunt Coordinator

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    My bad. Haven't posted in a while. Thanks for removing link.
     
  19. WillardK

    WillardK Second Unit

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    I just wanted to see that again. Lovely.
     
  20. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    Unfortunately, most people couldn't care less about 60 year old movies. Period.
     

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