Song of the South

3 Stars

This film was a big issue here for a while, and it is back in the news: https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/disney-accused-of-whitewashing-its-troubling-past-for-omitting-raciallyinsensitive-classics-from-streaming-service-181330560.html

Maybe Disney could answer this charge by licensing the film to a company like Criterion that could cover all aspects of the film in their special features.

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Kevin Collins

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204 Comments

  1. Looking at the recent kerfluffle about Kate Smith and sports teams, it seems like you're damned if you do and damned if you don't nowadays.
    -Rich (who lives a block away from the formerly named Jefferson Davis Highway)

  2. Let’s not forget that the Kino Lorber Insider mentioned a while ago that they’re are apparently legal issues holding up Song of the South in addition to all the racism issues.

    Looking at that article, I’m more concerned about the possibility of Dumbo being censored (which I hope is not true). I’ve never found the crows racist, but more importantly, they’re far too integral to the plot so censoring the crows would leave a pretty big plot hole.

  3. Not sure what the legal issues would be, but apparently the film has fallen into the public domain in Japan under local law (according to Wikipedia). Perhaps Disney is afraid if they put out a restored version, it would be used to create pirate copies in that territory (and could spread worldwide out of their control).

  4. It's a lost cause. I expect Disney's efforts to censor its past will be going up, not down. I'm glad I have copies of "Lady and The Tramp" because I expect that film and others to be subjected to Disney's "sensitivity adjustments" in future releases.

  5. There are plenty of 'black face " numbers that have been left intact in films that are shown on TCM and have been on video. "Abraham" in " Holiday Inn", "Waiting For the Robert E Lee" in "Babes On Broadway" (corrected), "Mammy " from the "Jazz Singer" etc. Even as late as 1974 "That's Entertainment" included a clip of "Waiting For the Robert E Lee" with Mickey Rooney in blackface. Of course these are not Disney. I remember hearing about a scene from the "Three Little Pigs" being redrawn and dubbed many years after its release because the Wolf dressed as a peddler which was a stereotype of a Jew.
    Here is that scene from youtube with the original drawing and audio.

    And is a comparison between original and redrawn and dubbed versions.

  6. OK first off not to offend, because anymore, the color of the sky could offend someone and they expect the Government to change it to suit there needs, It's Disney's property and it more than likely will never see the light of day or the darkness of a Theater ever again, lucky for me i was able to view it once in 1972, on a elementary school field trip. And i understand the need to not promote racial stereo types but educate people about the time frame that the film or work of art was created in.

    Unfortunately most of these enlightened people are looking at the past and judging it by their current standards and they are only seeing the negative, would any think of covering Michelangelo's statue of David because they find it offensive, Mel Brooks early films, the work and humor of Lenny Bruce, Richard Pryor and George Carlin would be totally lost to them,because the wouldn't understand the social commentary that it was referencing, they have all the answers in the palm of their hands with the word, google tell me, instead of experiencing something. at no time in human history is information so easily accessible, but then it also depends on where you are getting it from, is it viable, accurate and verifiable.

    Censorship sometimes is a necessary evil, but not at the expense of completely dumbing down of an entire society, or to completely steer it in the direction of a state run media controlling every thing we think and see. P.S. criterion is going to be releasing 1984 on blu ray, and while not perfect Universal did release Fahrenheit 451. it seem we are moving it the direction of an uncertain future some times.

    "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

    Disney is going to do what Disney wants to do, WB will do what it feels right, but it has a somewhat better track record, except where it comes to completing all of the Tom and Jerry Theatricals. Thank goodness for outlets like Thunderbean and Cartoons on Film for not allowing many past animated treasures to languish in obscurity away from future generations. Didn't mean for this to be a rant,

    I am committed to excellence and the fair treatment of all.

  7. atcolomb

    That is the one thing I fear about streaming is that at anytime content can be taken out for any reason.

    Yep, they get a couple letters about something, they can quickly take it down, make edits, and put the altered version up without having to worry about any pesky discs out amongst the hoi polloi that they cannot control.

  8. JoeDoakes

    This film was a big issue here for a while, and it is back in the news: https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment…lassics-from-streaming-service-181330560.html

    Maybe Disney could answer this charge by licensing the film to a company like Criterion that could cover all aspects of the film in their special features.

    Disney isn't going to touch Song of the South with a ten foot pole. For now, the version at the Wayback Machine is going to be the best way to view it unless you own the Japanese LaserDisc or the European VHS. Though Song of the South can still be seen occasionally uncut on British TV as late as 2006.

    The Dumbo Jim Crow scene bugs me. Disney should keep it intact and do what TCM does when it shows films with blackface by mentioning before the film runs that this film or Disney should issue warnings like the Tom and Jerry cartoons that this cartoon contains scenes with racial stereotypes that were once commonplace but the depictions are unacceptable in today's era.

    [​IMG]

  9. I've long thought that Disney should do a documentary (a la "Walt and El Grupo") on the production of the film. Explore the origins of the source material and how Joel Chandler Harris was involved. Explain how this material was influential on the culture of the period and how Walt Disney became interested in it. Talk about the film's production and release. Of course, you also discuss the controversy which has accompanied the film since its 1946 release. Interview people like Floyd Norman and Whoopi Goldberg. Bring in scholars like Henry Louis Gates and let them speak frankly. Let's hear a series of diverging and informed opinions ranging from "I love it" to "I hate it" and everything in between. The film is marked by both virtues and flaws so explain them to us. Give the generation that has never seen the movie and only knows it as "that racist Disney movie" a more balanced and nuanced view. Of course, the DVD and blu-ray would include the original film with the documentary, and Disney should take care in releasing it. In other words, don't market it as you would "Frozen," and keep it from easy access of the Walmart soccer moms who use Disney films as electronic forms of babysitting. Sadly, I don't think Disney would consider doing this, and it's a shame.

  10. Arthur Powell

    I've long thought that Disney should do a documentary (a la "Walt and El Grupo") on the production of the film. Explore the origins of the source material and how Joel Chandler Harris was involved. Explain how this material was influential on the culture of the period and how Walt Disney became interested in it. Talk about the film's production and release. Of course, you also discuss the controversy which has accompanied the film since its 1946 release. Interview people like Floyd Norman and Whoopi Goldberg. Bring in scholars like Henry Louis Gates and let them speak frankly. Let's hear a series of diverging and informed opinions ranging from "I love it" to "I hate it" and everything in between. The film is marked by both virtues and flaws so explain them to us. Give the generation that has never seen the movie and only knows it as "that racist Disney movie" a more balanced and nuanced view. Of course, the DVD and blu-ray would include the original film with the documentary, and Disney should take care in releasing it. In other words, don't market it as you would "Frozen," and keep it from easy access of the Walmart soccer moms who use Disney films as electronic forms of babysitting. Sadly, I don't think Disney would consider doing this, and it's a shame.

    I could see that as a special on either PBS or CNN, and I would watch some of it as well. Criterion would be the only company to handle and release this film at this point, as they've got nothing to loose.

  11. Honestly, I think there's very little upside for Disney to do something like this. It would be involve a significant amount of work and expense for something that probably wouldn't sell more than a couple of thousand copies, and they'd still get hell from the social media outrage machine. At best, I could see them letting TCM air it and let them deal with putting it in historical context.

  12. Worth

    Honestly, I think there's very little upside for Disney to do something like this. It would be involve a significant amount of work and expense for something that probably wouldn't sell more than a couple of thousand copies, and they'd still get hell from the social media outrage machine. At best, I could see them letting TCM air it and let them deal with putting it in historical context.

    If this was 90's and early 2000's Disney might of done a limited run of Song of the South, but with today's climate of saying something that could be preceded as even the tiniest bit racists YOU'RE CANCELLED. TCM would be the best to show this film and then have a discussion afterwards, as TCM does monthly spotlight's on different themes and they could do a nice job on selecting a few controversial titles such as this film.

  13. Well we just watched the news and the "official" word is that the Crow Scene will be cut. This scares the crap out of me and it should you as well. The precedent it sets is chilling.

    I want to go on a rant about streaming and the ability of studios to decide what past movies we see and what content they contain but I won't. I'm just glad the studios can't get to my library.

  14. Who are they citing as a source other than the report from the blogger that's been circulating for a week?
    Did they say they had confirmed with Disney Home Video or give the name of a person/department?

    Not dismissing that they said it or that you heard it, but since the news and entertainment sections don't always operate as if they're related.

  15. David Norman

    Who are they citing as a source other than the report from the blogger that's been circulating for a week?
    Did they say they had confirmed with Disney Home Video or give the name of a person/department?

    Not dismissing that they said it or that you heard it, but since the news and entertainment sections don't always operate as if they're related.

    Go as you will. I will make the logical assumption that as it is being reported on ABC and since they are Disney that this news has been "passed". We will await their retraction together.:cool:

  16. Arthur Powell

    I've long thought that Disney should do a documentary (a la "Walt and El Grupo") on the production of the film. Explore the origins of the source material and how Joel Chandler Harris was involved. Explain how this material was influential on the culture of the period and how Walt Disney became interested in it. Talk about the film's production and release. Of course, you also discuss the controversy which has accompanied the film since its 1946 release. Interview people like Floyd Norman and Whoopi Goldberg. Bring in scholars like Henry Louis Gates and let them speak frankly. Let's hear a series of diverging and informed opinions ranging from "I love it" to "I hate it" and everything in between. The film is marked by both virtues and flaws so explain them to us. Give the generation that has never seen the movie and only knows it as "that racist Disney movie" a more balanced and nuanced view. Of course, the DVD and blu-ray would include the original film with the documentary, and Disney should take care in releasing it. In other words, don't market it as you would "Frozen," and keep it from easy access of the Walmart soccer moms who use Disney films as electronic forms of babysitting. Sadly, I don't think Disney would consider doing this, and it's a shame.

    My thought on a license to Criterion is that would be a good forum for documentary material about the issues in the film. It could be marketed to adults without the use of animation on the cover. That would be a good compromise.

  17. Disney may be in a difficult situation. If a spokesperson refutes the rumor, then the twitter outrage mob will hyperventilate (HOW DARE THEY PUT OUT THAT HORRENDOUSLY RACIST FILM! WHAT YEAR DO THEY THINK THIS IS? 2011?). If the rumor is confirmed, they will receive flack for censoring art and history. They might be thinking that they can ride out this "storm" and that the matter will be largely forgotten in a few weeks when some new shiny controversy will be the outrage du jour.

  18. Mysto

    Well we just watched the news and the "official" word is that the Crow Scene will be cut. This scares the crap out of me and it should you as well. The precedent it sets is chilling.

    I want to go on a rant about streaming and the ability of studios to decide what past movies we see and what content they contain but I won't. I'm just glad the studios can't get to my library.

    Well, you can't get accurate climate information anymore. You can't get…well…a lot of stuff we once took for granted even a few years ago. You're right. It is scary. Buckle up…it's going to be a bumpy future.

  19. Arthur Powell

    Disney may be in a difficult situation. If a spokesperson refutes the rumor, then the twitter outrage mob will hyperventilate (HOW DARE THEY PUT OUT THAT HORRENDOUSLY RACIST FILM! WHAT YEAR DO THEY THINK THIS IS? 2011?). If the rumor is confirmed, they will receive flack for censoring art and history. They might be thinking that they can ride out this "storm" and that the matter will be largely forgotten in a few weeks when some new shiny controversy will be the outrage du jour.

    The only way to make progress with anything like this is to keep hammering away at it and not grow complacent, regardless of how many new "controversies" arise threatening to bury it…and there will be plenty of those, I fear.

  20. Mysto

    Was broadcast on the 5 o'clock ABC news – you know, the one owned by Disney.

    I wonder if this means that future releases of DUMBO on video will be absent the crow sequence. If so, that'll bring the running time down to about 58 minutes!

  21. They'll erase the feather and the crows. Dumbo will be seen stirring up a cloud of dust and then he will, magically be flying. No explanation will be offered other than "will power, Dumbo. Will power."

  22. Edwin-S

    They'll erase the feather and the crows. Dumbo will be seen stirring up a cloud of dust and then he will, magically be flying. No explanation will be offered other than "will power, Dumbo. Will power."

    It worked for Captain Marvel.

  23. If “The Birth of A Nation” can be released with its controversial content then why can’t “Song of The South” ?

    And if they cut out the crows sequence from “Dumbo” then that is utterly ridiculous as it’s critical part of this wonderful movie which is already lean and mean. Looking at the situation as glass half full we could get the release of the movie if Disney cut out everything after the opening credits until the start of the end credits :rolling-smiley:.

    Full disclosure in that I’ve actually never seen “Song of The South” but that is not the point.

    Regards

  24. The criticism that "Song of the South" is racist is overblown. It borders on bizarre. The film is a period piece set at a time when plantations existed and Blacks worked on them. I mean, are people going to try to deny that Blacks ever worked on or were forced to work on Plantations? One of the biggest criticisms that could be leveled at the film is that it shows Blacks to be happy working on a Plantation, when the reality was very different; however, none of Disney's output could ever be accused of displaying actual reality.

  25. darkrock17

    If Song Of The South is so controversial, how has Splash Mountain been allowed to stay at the Disney parks for all these years?

    Most people now wouldn't be able associate the "Splash Mountain" ride with "Song of the South". I've been around for a long time and even I didn't know that the ride was inspired by "Song of the South", until now.

  26. Edwin-S

    Most people now wouldn't be able associate the "Splash Mountain" ride with "Song of the South". I've been around for a long time and even I didn't know that the ride was inspired by "Song of the South", until now.

    You're telling me you never knew that the song Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah came from this movie? Did you never have or watch those Disney Sing-Along VHS from the 80's and 90's?

    [​IMG]

  27. SAhmed

    If “The Birth of A Nation” can be released with its controversial content then why can’t “Song of The South” ?

    And if they cut out the crows sequence from “Dumbo” then that is utterly ridiculous as it’s critical part of this wonderful movie which is already lean and mean. Looking at the situation as glass half full we could get the release of the movie if Disney cut out everything after the opening credits until the start of the end credits :rolling-smiley:.

    Full disclosure in that I’ve actually never seen “Song of The South” but that is not the point.

    Regards

    Disney would say that they didn't release The Birth of A Nation. Also, that there isn't a film studio today that has to worry about the fallout from releasing Birth of a Nation.

  28. darkrock17

    You're telling me you never knew that the song Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah came from this movie? Did you never have or watch those Disney Sing-Along VHS from the 80's and 90's?

    [​IMG]

    I know where the song Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah came from. Unfortunately, I was thinking of the wrong ride and the wrong mountain. Carry on.

  29. Something tells me the Siamese cats in Lady and the Tramp will be next. This sets an ugly precedent in my mind. Glad I still have the discs for all these films (well, except for Song of the South of course).

    Heck, James Baskett got an Honorary (Special) Academy Award for his performance in Song of the South. For that reason alone the film should have a release.

  30. skylark68

    Something tells me the Siamese cats in Lady and the Tramp will be next. This sets an ugly precedent in my mind. Glad I still have the discs for all these films (well, except for Song of the South of course).

    Heck, James Baskett got an Honorary (Special) Academy Award for his performance in Song of the South. For that reason alone the film should have a release.

    Along withthe Siamese cats, there's Peter Pan for how the Indian's are portrayed. What might end up happening is that a lot of the classics could end up being banned for just about anyone reason people can think of.

    Hattie McDaniel won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Mammy in Gone With The WInd, the first African American woman to do so. It would be another 51 years before another African American women would win it again with Whoopi Goldberg in 1990.

  31. Garysb

    There are plenty of 'black face " numbers that have been left intact in films that are shown on TCM and have been on video. "Abraham" in " Holiday Inn", "Waiting For the Robert E Lee" in "Strike Up The Band"…

    Waiting for the Robert E. Lee was from Babes on Broadway – not Strike Up the Band, and you also neglected to mentioned Garland and Rooney were in blackface for 1939's Babes on Broadway. The point here is that 'blackface' was then noted as a time-honored minstrel tradition and not considered racially insensitive. Indeed, during the Vaudeville era – which both these movies are emulating – blackface was actually performed live and often by black actors. Is it a grotesque caricature? Yes. Is it racially insensitive? To an audience today, -yes and antiquated to a fault. But you don't censor the past simply because you disagree with it because once you do you enter a slippery slope where anything can be construed as 'racially insensitive'.

    J. Carrol Naish does a pretty funny – but stereotypical – Italian in Hit The Deck, as does Chico Marx in any of the Marx Bros. movies. Lou Costello masquerades as a Spanish dancer in Rio Rita. Are they being racially insensitive to Italian and Mexican Americans? Funny how no one ever asks these questions when it's white on white. Only when it's black on white. Not saying blackface is right or wrong. It simply is, and should not be censored because it fails to conform to our present age of tolerance and/or intolerance toward such displays. If anything, such representations serve to illustrate just how far we have come – and, conversely, how far there is left to go.

    In the past, when I brought up this argument I was shamelessly told that 'white people do not get to decide what is racist' to which I am now able to comment, that 12.1% of the population (the actual census numbers of what makes up Black and African Americans currently living in the U.S.) should not dictate what gets seen and/or unseen by the remaining 87%!

    Presumably, we still live in a democracy. Majority rules. Perhaps, with a disclaimer to precede the pictorialization of such episodes and promote better cultural diversity through an open and friendly discussion, instead of merely blaming the other side. It serves no good end – either to art or our cultural well being as men and women of a free thinking and progressive society to simply judge, condemn, ridicule and admonish. No one wins that argument, folks. But NO ONE!!!

  32. Nick*Z

    Waiting for the Robert E. Lee was from Babes on Broadway – not Strike Up the Band, and you also neglected to mentioned Garland and Rooney were in blackface for 1939's Babes on Broadway. The point here is that 'blackface' was then noted as a time-honored minstrel tradition and not considered racially insensitive. Indeed, during the Vaudeville era – which both these movies are emulating – blackface was actually performed live and often by black actors. Is it a grotesque caricature? Yes. Is it racially insensitive? To an audience today, -yes and antiquated to a fault. But you don't censor the past simply because you disagree with it because once you do you enter a slippery slope where anything can be construed as 'racially insensitive'.

    J. Carrol Naish does a pretty funny – but stereotypical – Italian in Hit The Deck, as does Chico Marx in any of the Marx Bros. movies. Lou Costello masquerades as a Spanish dancer in Rio Rita. Are they being racially insensitive to Italian and Mexican Americans? Funny how no one ever asks these questions when it's white on white. Only when it's black on white. Not saying blackface is right or wrong. It simply is, and should not be censored because it fails to conform to our present age of tolerance and/or intolerance toward such displays. If anything, such representations serve to illustrate just how far we have come – and, conversely, how far there is left to go.

    In the past, when I brought up this argument I was shamelessly told that 'white people do not get to decide what is racist' to which I am now able to comment, that 12.1% of the population (the actual census numbers of what makes up Black and African Americans currently living in the U.S.) should not dictate what gets seen and/or unseen by the remaining 87%!

    Presumably, we still live in a democracy. Majority rules. Perhaps, with a disclaimer to precede the pictorialization of such episodes and promote better cultural diversity through an open and friendly discussion, instead of merely blaming the other side. It serves no good end – either to art or our cultural well being as men and women of a free thinking and progressive society to simply judge, condemn, ridicule and admonish. No one wins that argument, folks. But NO ONE!!!

    Better not let anyone on Twitter see any of these movies, because all it takes these days is for someone to say something is racists for everyone to jump on the bandwagon and say the same.

  33. I'm floored by the hysterics I see in some posts. Song of the South has a long history of not being available. It's been annoying people and creating heated discussion for decades. It's nothing new. It's not because of today's climate. All these alarmist comments about "State run media", "censoring", "banning" and George Orwell are completely absurd. This is a commercial company making decisions based on business. You don't have to agree with those decisions. I certainly don't, in this case, but this is in no way some kind of government oppression. Other movies, such as Birth of a Nation and even Gone With the Wind have been continuously available. For whatever reason, Disney has had a long standing attitude of wanting to pretend some of their material doesn't exist. It's annoying, but it's their business decision to make, no matter how mistaken it may be.

  34. Edwin-S

    That is the 2016 remake though, not the original from 1915. Who owns that one?

    The original was released by Epoch Producing Co., but it looks like since 1915 it's now fallen into Public Domain. In 2011 Kino Video released an HD version to blu-ray, making this maybe the official version.

  35. That is why I don't like the idea of Disney assuming ownership of more and more content providers. The prudes running that company think they have the right to erase the existence of the work of master animators, film makers and actors for reasons of PR.

  36. Edwin-S

    That is why I don't like the idea of Disney assuming ownership of more and more content providers. The prudes running that company think they have the right to erase the existence of the work of master animators, film makers and actors for reasons of PR.

    Gotta agree with that.

  37. darkrock17

    The original was released by Epoch Producing Co., but it looks like since 1915 it's now fallen into Public Domain. In 2011 Kino Video released an HD version to blu-ray, making this maybe the official version.

    I’m pretty sure the one Twilight Time released a couple years ago is considered the definitive one, but I don’t know if it’s passed it’s run allotment. I grabbed one, just for historical significance.

  38. JohnRice

    I’m pretty sure the one Twilight Time released a couple years ago is considered the definitive one, but I don’t know if it’s passed it’s run allotment. I grabbed one, just for historical significance.

    That came out last year, so it should still be available at Barnes & Nobel and on Amazon.

  39. The race issue is (partially) a smokescreen for the other aspect of the film no one wants to talk about…

    Johnny's lace shirt collar. His being bullied over that is one of the reasons he seeks Uncle Remus's advice in the first place.

  40. darkrock17

    That came out last year, so it should still be available at Barnes & Nobel and on Amazon.

    Just as a note, I looked at TT's web site, and it is still available. It should be noted that nobody on Amazon is an authorized seller of new TT titles. I don't know about B&N, but I'm pretty sure TT's own web site and Screen Archives Entertainment are the only authorized sellers.

  41. darkrock17

    The original was released by Epoch Producing Co., but it looks like since 1915 it's now fallen into Public Domain. In 2011 Kino Video released an HD version to blu-ray, making this maybe the official version.

    Speaking of Birth of a Nation for many years the Director’s Guild of America handed out the D.W. Griffith Award until 1999 when the DGA president said “he helped foster intolerable racial stereotypes” and then changed the name of the award.

  42. Edwin-S

    The prudes running that company think they have the right to erase the existence of the work of master animators, film makers and actors for reasons of PR.

    As the rights’ holders, they absolutely do have that right.

  43. Except nothing has been erased.

    For Dumbo, the original camera negative remains intact at Disney. Non-profit archives around the world have IB Technicolor prints which will never fade. The film itself is readily available on a variety of consumer platforms including physical media formats new and old and digitally through storefronts like iTunes.

    At worst, there is a rumor that Disney’s twenty-first century equivalent of a TV station may show an edited version of a film that’s available unedited in a variety of formats.

    This is a non-issue right now.

    Please stop putting words in my mouth.

  44. Josh Steinberg

    Except nothing has been erased.

    For Dumbo, the original camera negative remains intact at Disney. Non-profit archives around the world have IB Technicolor prints which will never fade. The film itself is readily available on a variety of consumer platforms including physical media formats new and old and digitally through storefronts like iTunes.

    At worst, there is a rumor that Disney’s twenty-first century equivalent of a TV station may show an edited version of a film that’s available unedited in a variety of formats.

    This is a non-issue right now.

    Please stop putting words in my mouth.

    Nothing's been erased…yet

    Disney's already altered several of their packaged films from the 40's and 101 Dalmatians for smoking and violence. What's to stop them to altering future editions of these classics.

  45. Disney has created new versions of those works for modern consumer audiences, as is their right. The original versions are secure in Disney’s vaults and in archives worldwide.

    I think you are mistaking access for existence. You may not personally have access to an older version of a work, but that does not mean it no longer exists.

  46. Josh Steinberg

    Disney has created new versions of those works for modern consumer audiences, as is their right. The original versions are secure in Disney’s vaults and in archives worldwide.

    I think you are mistaking access for existence. You may not personally have access to an older version of a work, but that does not mean it no longer exists.

    Restricting or eliminating access can be as effective in erasing the existence of a work as burning it. Would you be so understanding of a publisher's "rights" if it was books that we were talking about instead of popular entertainment?

  47. Since Disney+ does not exist yet, and since we have no information that confirms that the version of Dumbo that will appear on Disney+ is being edited, I don’t see how any conclusion can be reached at this moment about what is being restricted.

    And again, Disney+ isn’t an ownership platform. It’s a new TV channel. TV channels frequently edit existing content to suit their own internal standards. This editing for one specific distribution channel does not in any way change or alter the availability of the original work. Disney+ having an edited version of Dumbo doesn’t destroy the original any more than HBO showing a pan and scan copy of a movie would destroy its original widescreen version. If you’re not interested in this new channel, vote with your wallet and abstain from using it. Whether or not you use it will not change the fact that the unedited version of Dumbo remains readily available both for academic study and consumer consumption.

  48. So Disney believes this movie should be taboo but a 9-year-old Ricky Schroder in his underwear in The Last Flight of Noah's Ark, which couldn't even beat it at the box office as a new release, is just fine and dandy and worthy of a Blu-ray. That shows where their priorities lie. Especially when they are more forgiving of James Gunn's human imperfections than of Roseanne's. I never saw that movie until I became an adult and I was shocked by it. When Roger Ebert excoriated it, this didn't come up. Yet it still got a G rating when Midnight Madness, where no one even takes their shirt off, was rated PG and released without the Disney name. That's got an HD master just waiting for a disc release.

    Helen Reddy's bloomers in Pete's Dragon* were one thing; she was in her 30s in a movie set in the early 20th century. But this made me want to call child protective services. Bit late for that, I'm afraid. This is why I consider them hypocrites.

    Josh Steinberg

    Since Disney+ does not exist yet, and since we have no information that confirms that the version of Dumbo that will appear on Disney+ is being edited, I don’t see how any conclusion can be reached at this moment about what is being restricted.

    And again, Disney+ isn’t an ownership platform. It’s a new TV channel. TV channels frequently edit existing content to suit their own internal standards. This editing for one specific distribution channel does not in any way change or alter the availability of the original work. Disney+ having an edited version of Dumbo doesn’t destroy the original any more than HBO showing a pan and scan copy of a movie would destroy its original widescreen version. If you’re not interested in this new channel, vote with your wallet and abstain from using it. Whether or not you use it will not change the fact that the unedited version of Dumbo remains readily available both for academic study and consumer consumption.

    For now, maybe, but for always? And with the slowdown of catalog disc titles and inconsistent presentation of what they do release, can you blame people for feeling skeptical about their intentions here? My concern is this: will this be in addition to continued disc releases or instead of it?

    *This is not, I repeat, NOT what Nora had in mind by "throw off the past and everything in it."

  49. MatthewA

    So Disney believes this movie should be taboo

    We don’t yet know what Disney believes one way or the other, because there has been no official announcement or confirmation that the film will be edited for this new distribution channel.

  50. It's ironic that Dumbo was spared that kind of ostracism from the top corporate offices when the leader of the crows had a white man, Cliff Edwards, doing his voice. Being fully animated contributed to that. With Song of the South, they cast black actors as the voices of the animated characters.

  51. MatthewA

    It's ironic that Dumbo was spared that kind of ostracism from the top corporate offices when the leader of the crows had a white man, Cliff Edwards, doing his voice. Being fully animated contributed to that. With Song of the South, they cast black actors as the voices of the animated characters.

    That is interesting. I didn't know that bit of history behind the two films. Based on that knowledge, the decision to banish SoTS seems more racist than the actual movie.

  52. The own the film, they have the right to anything they want to. Just as many producers and directors have changed their films over time. Is it artistically right, probably not, but they have the legal right.

    I just don’t understand how this subject continues to receive new threads and posts knowing that nothing will change.

  53. Eddie Cantor and Shirley Temple did a blackface minstrel number in a film as did Bing Crosby. Next they will be banning Model T Fords in films because, as Henry Ford said, you can have any color you want so long as it is black. Heck, in my country they have been trying for years to ban Christmas songs in Pre-schools(Kindergartens), Christmas decorations in suburban shopping streets etc so we don't offend people from other lands and religious beliefs. Doesn't explain why so many Chinese people in my country send their sons and daughters to Catholic and other Christian schools, celebrate Christmas and Easter and have Christmas parties for their non-Chinese & Chinese staff alike. I do have a DVD of Song of the South with extras like trailers and TV spots and seen many 16mm prints, which I also had once.

  54. ahollis

    The own the film, they have the right to anything they want to. Just as many producers and directors have changed their films over time. Is it artistically right, probably not, but they have the legal right.

    I just don’t understand how this subject continues to receive new threads and posts knowing that nothing will change.

    I don't understand it either as people outraged by this subject are clearly in the minority because Disney is doing what's best for their brand and have not received enough blow back from their consumer base to change their actions.

  55. moviepas

    I do have a DVD of Song of the South with extras like trailers and TV spots and seen many 16mm prints, which I also had once.

    Yes, folks who want to see Song of the South can find copies of it by looking around a bit on the net. I ran across a dozen VHS copies of it (extracted from that Japanese laserdisc) at a swap meet about ten years ago, and there are several DVDs available from places in Thailand and the Philippines that have a decent picture for those who just HAVE to see it.

    Sure, I'd love to see a pristine HD transfer of the film; I'm sure its Technicolor would simply burst off the screen, but it looks as though that is never going to happen. To be honest, I think it's the animated sequences with the Amos 'n Andy-like shenanigans of the participants that are what Iger finds so distasteful. Uncle Remus himself is a sharecropper, not a slave, who is kindly and the soul of warmth and love. There is nothing about him that is problematic that I can see.

  56. darkrock17

    Nothing's been erased…yet

    Disney's already altered several of their packaged films from the 40's and 101 Dalmatians for smoking and violence. What's to stop them to altering future editions of these classics.

    When was 101 Dalmatians altered and how? I'm well aware of the alterations to the package films, but this is the first I've heard of Dalmatians being altered.

  57. richardburton84

    When was 101 Dalmatians altered and how? I'm well aware of the alterations to the package films, but this is the first I've heard of Dalmatians being altered.

    I don't they have though some have discussed the nearly non stop smoking scenes in 101 Dalmatians — both the Dad's pipes and Cruella's cigarettes. I do think some countries changed the ratings levels, but I'm not aware any official release has changed the actual video.

    Of course even the previously changed scenes in SA/TTC were replaced with the last release.

    I guess we'll see if that applies to MMM/MT if and when they are ever re-released.

  58. The reasoning I see given is analogous to if the Louvre decided to shut off the public from artwork deemed offensive and made copies of pieces of art that were brushed over to edit the offensive content as long as they still owned the original and it was safe. Interesting. The Louvre owns the works so it's okay, right? Disney might be doing what is best for their company "interest" but it's spitting on the grave of the creative teams that made these films as well as the man himself, Mr. Disney. Oh well, rant over.

  59. Robert Crawford

    I don't understand it either as people outraged by this subject are clearly in the minority because Disney is doing what's best for their brand and have not received enough blow back from their consumer base to change their actions.

    But will it be available for public view ever again? That is the issue. Disney may own the film, but if they lock it away never to be seen again, that would be a tragedy. That is where the outrage stems from I think.

  60. The "but Disney is a business" excuse gave us The Hunchback of Notre Dame II along with other almost-as-bad sequels. The "but Disney is a business" excuse gave us remake after remake after remake. The "but Disney is a business" excuse gave us labor disputes at the park. The "but Disney is a business" decision has been used to justify ever bad decision they ever made.

    Edwin-S

    That is interesting. I didn't know that bit of history behind the two films. Based on that knowledge, the decision to banish SoTS seems more racist than the actual movie.

    It's not just racist, but homophobic in light of the fact that the bullying Johnny receives includes the Favors boys teasing him and saying "look at the little girlie, look at the little girlie!" Toby, on the other hand, said nothing. For those of us who received that same kind of bullying (from both whites and blacks) in that same part of the country, which still largely goes on to this day, who took comfort from this film knowing we are not alone, siding with the studio means siding with the bullies.

    At least Uncle Remus is actually black. Disney banned the wrong movie, and I am not kidding here when I say that this is the one that should have been banned instead. Someone needs to pull Nell Carter's "don't you realize you're making fun of black people" monologue from Gimme a Break! on them. Meanwhile, the brilliant Portobello Road dance sequence from Bedknobs and Broomsticks, whose choreographer, Donald McKayle, was black, and which included dancers of multiple races, is only available cut in half.

    Matt Hough

    Sure, I'd love to see a pristine HD transfer of the film; I'm sure its Technicolor would simply burst off the screen, but it looks as though that is never going to happen.

    That's a self-fulfilling prophesy. If you want things to change, then boycott Disney. Stop settling for less from a company that's proved capable of doing more. Stop settling for lies when we deserve the truth. Giving them money means you support what they do. They don't care if you support one thing they do while opposing another; to them it's all the same. It didn't used to be that way. And it was around the time that Song of the South disappeared that that changed.

    Matt Hough

    To be honest, I think it's the animated sequences with the Amos 'n Andy-like shenanigans of the participants that are what Iger finds so distasteful. Uncle Remus himself is a sharecropper, not a slave, who is kindly and the soul of warmth and love. There is nothing about him that is problematic that I can see.

    If Uncle Remus had still been a slave, would he have been able to walk away as casually as he did? That more than anything else places the film after the Civil War. And it's the animated parts of the film that are showcased in Splash Mountain, with the women of the film pushed to the side. In light of the Lasseter and Weinstein scandals, I don't believe that's a coincidence.

    And as for Amos 'n' Andy, the same people who vilified that show into oblivion are the same people who argued Bill Cosby is a role model and vilified every black sitcom in the 1970s and 1980s, when this film was still part of the regular re-release schedule, other than his. Where are the apologies? And why the need to target the work of black artists for suppression while making excuse after excuse for protecting and making ubiquitous the works of actually problematic white artists? I, for one, would shed no tears if everything Tony Danza did after Taxi was locked away in a vault never to be seen again, and everything Kirk Cameron* (and his criminal enabling sister), and Scott Baio did went with it.

    *I reject any and all arguments against the release of Song of the South while all 7 laugh-free seasons of his show are on DVD. Disney enabled his career by casting him in Ike Eisenmann's place in Beyond With Mountain while Ike had moved on up in Star Trek II after playing the son of a Klansman on The Jeffersons.

  61. ahollis

    The own the film, they have the right to anything they want to. Just as many producers and directors have changed their films over time. Is it artistically right, probably not, but they have the legal right.

    Dialogue from Scrooge:

    Two old ladies: But we scarcely make that in a week!
    Scrooge: If you would prefer that I confiscate your store, as is my legal right, I will do so.
    Two old ladies: We'll pay, sir.

    The point, of course, is that the "legal right" is not the issue.

  62. It does seem to be the issue. Disney is not going to release it for it is their legal right to do so, for to them, it to their benefit not to release it. It’s not going to happen, so all this blowing off steam every few months is not going to change one thing.

  63. Then Disney is dead. I couldn't care less about their legal rights. They forfeited any moral right to anything years ago. And please spare me the lie that what took its place is superior; it isn't. ALL these remakes are cheap imitations of heirlooms of old with no exceptions whatsoever. The new versions of Dumbo and Lion King just look so painfully literal and unnecessarily padded. Taking the pink away from Elliott the Dragon's hair and Piglet's leotard was a way of reinforcing the outdated boy colors/girl colors dichotomy. I have no interest in anything marvelstarwars has to offer, but only my aesthetic objections are fair game for HTF discussion, it seems. I wish there had never been a Star Wars. Ever. Seeing Spaceship Earth turned into a weapon of war is a textbook example of "missing the point," and this is the same mentality we are dealing with.

    Put the absence of this film in the context of the fact that two of its successors have been repeatedly cut for no good reason. Three if you want to count the minor alterations to Who Framed Roger Rabbit over the years. No, I don't believe Disney's intentions are good. No, I don't buy any of the defenses of their behavior.

  64. SAhmed

    If “The Birth of A Nation” can be released with its controversial content then why can’t “Song of The South” ?

    Because the former is a silent film aimed at adults and the latter is a Technicolor "classic" made with families in mind. Just guessin', you understand.

    And if they cut out the crows sequence from “Dumbo” then that is utterly ridiculous as it’s critical part of this wonderful movie which is already lean and mean. Looking at the situation as glass half full we could get the release of the movie if Disney cut out everything after the opening credits until the start of the end credits :rolling-smiley:.
    Well, the music score is fun. put out a nice Blu-ray that features a series of still images from unoffensive parts of the movie and run the full underscore and songs alongside. Same for SOTS…just no Uncle Remus or tar baby stills.

    Full disclosure in that I’ve actually never seen “Song of The South” but that is not the point.

    Well, it is part of the point. You haven't seen it because you can't see it.

    Regards

  65. I've suddenly realized that years of learning to cope with family members having "discussions" by yelling at each other from different rooms is an invaluable tool for coping with social media debates.

  66. darkrock17

    Along withthe Siamese cats, there's Peter Pan for how the Indian's are portrayed. What might end up happening is that a lot of the classics could end up being banned for just about anyone reason people can think of.

    That's the trend in America now. Texas school book writers and publishers are further dumbing-down out students and bad so-called "educational" trends that had been phased out of classrooms are quietly sneaking back in. Making controversial materials more difficult for students to even hear about, let alone access, is something I expect will become more pervasive.

  67. There were also those Leonard Maltin disclaimers on similar and concurrent Disney content, which were the product of white artists and actors. The Disney Treasures set would have been the perfect venue for this, but they let that opportunity pass them by. Eventually, they're going to have to bite the bullet by releasing it because the problem is not going to go away just by ignoring it. Whether the Dumbo censorship is just a rumor or not we'll just have to wait and see, but it seems absurd to backtrack now when that film was in print uncut since before I was born. In fact, if they are guilty of anything, it's not doing more to publicize the original voices of the supporting crows, who were black and members of the Hall Johnson choir, sooner.

    Dick

    Is racism a political or religious issue? I think not, although it can and does get politicized.

    On that note, why is the racial aspect always the one brought up and never the sexual politics of the film? Doesn't Ruth Warrick deserve some credit for her thankless role as Johnny's mother? At least she was wise enough not to play it over the top, making her prejudices that she disguises as concern for her son's safety — which ultimately only ending up making things worse when he almost dies — seem all the more insidious. The filmmakers were smart enough to realize that racism is not always as obvious as subsequent works such as All in the Family and Mississippi Burning, both made after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that this film did nothing to stop, would make it look. There's a lot at play here that went over the heads of both black and white audiences, things that offer no easy answers and expects the audience to find those answers for themselves, but modern Disney would rather sweep it under the rug like the forest animals in Snow White so pale imitators can usurp its limelight. Moral outrage is the proper response to that.

    And saying "but it's Disney" or something to that effect assumes that Disney means nothing but conflict-free Laughing Bunnies-type films*. No one who ever saw any of the darker pre-Baby Boom Disney films, or even the late 1970s/early 1980s' attempts to return to that kind of tone, would say that. Here, the tone is all over the place just as much as it is in Bambi or Pinocchio, and making "Zip-a-dee-doo-dah" the only part of the movie they can bring themselves to show creates a false perception that the whole movie is like that when the plot is about a boy whose parents' marriage is on the rocks learning from an old man how to defend himself against bullies, with whom he is arguing about the ownership of a dog, by using analogies about animals avoiding being eaten. It's actually similar to The Karate Kid in that respect, if Mr. Miyagi had had a cartoon sequence in a koi pond talking to a frog.

    *One wonders whether Charles M. Schulz ever saw 1934's Funny Little Bunnies. Eisner was at Paramount for both of the two Peanuts films they made. At least some family entertainment is still owned by someone else.

  68. StarDestroyer52

    Disney isn't going to touch Song of the South with a ten foot pole. For now, the version at the Wayback Machine is going to be the best way to view it unless you own the Japanese LaserDisc or the European VHS. Though Song of the South can still be seen occasionally uncut on British TV as late as 2006.

    So the film was available on LaserDisc in Japan and VHS in Europe. Britain showed it on television recently enough. I never have understood, if something is deemed racist, why is it available in other countries outside the U.S.? Is it not also racist there?

    I first saw the film at the Chinese Theatre when they showed it for a week; I believe it was 1989, but not entirely certain. What all of this censorship or cultural sensitivity is doing is making people see evil in things. I mean, should we eliminate all those scenes of those gay servants who were made fun of in Astaire/Rogers musicals?

  69. MartinP.

    So the film was available on LaserDisc in Japan and VHS in Europe. Britain showed it on television recently enough. I never have understood, if something is deemed racist, why is it available in other countries outside the U.S.? Is it not also racist there?

    I first saw the film at the Chinese Theatre when they showed it for a week; I believe it was 1989, but not entirely certain. What all of this censorship or cultural sensitivity is doing is making people see evil in things. I mean, should we eliminate all those scenes of those gay servants who were made fun of in Astaire/Rogers musicals?

    Shhhhh! Careful what you wish for.

  70. What the over/under on # posts before thread lock — I put my number at 160 just to be optimistic. Has this thread ever gotten much further in it's past 20 or 30 iterations>

    Personally I'd have locked it at 3 only because I figured I wouldn't have seen it at 1.

    Nothing new to be said, nothing new that hasn't been said in any of the past 30 official thread and 300 unofficial threads.

    Maybe try something new and less controversial:

    Is Piracy ever Morally Acceptable

    Why Billionaires are really an Oppressed Minority

    Which Discipline technique is better for young children — Stick, Hand, or Belt

    How Do you like your Veal

    Star Wars – overrated or criminally overrated

    George Lucas — American Hero

  71. MatthewA

    The "but Disney is a business" excuse gave us The Hunchback of Notre Dame II along with other almost-as-bad sequels. The "but Disney is a business" excuse gave us remake after remake after remake. The "but Disney is a business" excuse gave us labor disputes at the park. The "but Disney is a business" decision has been used to justify ever bad decision they ever made.

    It's not just racist, but homophobic in light of the fact that the bullying Johnny receives includes the Favors boys teasing him and saying "look at the little girlie, look at the little girlie!" Toby, on the other hand, said nothing. For those of us who received that same kind of bullying (from both whites and blacks) in that same part of the country, which still largely goes on to this day, who took comfort from this film knowing we are not alone, siding with the studio means siding with the bullies.

    At least Uncle Remus is actually black. Disney banned the wrong movie, and I am not kidding here when I say that this is the one that should have been banned instead. Someone needs to pull Nell Carter's "don't you realize you're making fun of black people" monologue from Gimme a Break! on them. Meanwhile, the brilliant Portobello Road dance sequence from Bedknobs and Broomsticks, whose choreographer, Donald McKayle, was black, and which included dancers of multiple races, is only available cut in half.

    That's a self-fulfilling prophesy. If you want things to change, then boycott Disney. Stop settling for less from a company that's proved capable of doing more. Stop settling for lies when we deserve the truth. Giving them money means you support what they do. They don't care if you support one thing they do while opposing another; to them it's all the same. It didn't used to be that way. And it was around the time that Song of the South disappeared that that changed.

    If Uncle Remus had still been a slave, would he have been able to walk away as casually as he did? That more than anything else places the film after the Civil War. And it's the animated parts of the film that are showcased in Splash Mountain, with the women of the film pushed to the side. In light of the Lasseter and Weinstein scandals, I don't believe that's a coincidence.

    And as for Amos 'n' Andy, the same people who vilified that show into oblivion are the same people who argued Bill Cosby is a role model and vilified every black sitcom in the 1970s and 1980s, when this film was still part of the regular re-release schedule, other than his. Where are the apologies? And why the need to target the work of black artists for suppression while making excuse after excuse for protecting and making ubiquitous the works of actually problematic white artists? I, for one, would shed no tears if everything Tony Danza did after Taxi was locked away in a vault never to be seen again, and everything Kirk Cameron* (and his criminal enabling sister), and Scott Baio did went with it.

    *I reject any and all arguments against the release of Song of the South while all 7 laugh-free seasons of his show are on DVD. Disney enabled his career by casting him in Ike Eisenmann's place in Beyond With Mountain while Ike had moved on up in Star Trek II after playing the son of a Klansman on The Jeffersons.

    Hmm. You make many salient points in your anti-Disney arguments, and many of them I am in agreement with. However, you seem so single-minded in your pursuit of dissing the company that your essays often become little more than nit-picking. The New York Times article you linked to that spoke of Mary Poppins further blackening her face just never…ever…spoke to me as being any form of racism. It seemed like a funny gag to me then and still does, one of many Poppins' quirks. The girlie-girl dialog in SOTS never occurred to me as being homophobic. Ever. Ricky Schroder in his undies just never seemed like fodder for cries of child exploitation. Not then or now. What would you say about that wholly innocuous opening shot in POLLYANNA that showed a skinny-dipping boy roping his way into a river? Just seems like you're trying to find dirt where there may be no earth. I'd suggest sticking to the issue you are really very good at presenting, which is censorship. That's where I'm with you.

    Nonetheless, I am no big fan of The Disney Studio (as opposed to Disney himself, who has actually been shown to have been racist and anti-unionist, but who was in many ways also a humanitarian) with its money-grabbing policies that have fallen far astray from a desire to give the consumers good value for their money. Instead, it's build-build-build, buy up this, buy up that, go bigger, bigger, bigger. Enough of us will pay them for their efforts that they don't have to care one whit about how some of us are offended by their politics or their policies. But I agree with members here who suggest that withholding SOTS from public view does not in and of itself constitute censorship, as the film is no doubt preserved in the Disney vaults in optimal and uncut condition, probably having been scanned at 4K.

    I also agree that the issue of SOTS's seemingly permanent withdrawal from circulation has been more than adequately presented on this and probably all other video forums. Sane and insane arguments on both sides of the argument have been posted in the thousands. There literally is nothing more to say about it, although I would not discourage those of us in support of the film's release to keep pushing for it. What can it hurt? If other members don't like seeing new threads popping up about it, they can opt to not read them. Certainly Bob Iger is not going to share the film with modern viewers, and the company's financial loss for not doing so is negligible for a monstrous corporation that just bought Fox. But perhaps a different CEO down the line…

    So, Matthew…keep up the posts, but I'd encourage you to narrow your POV a bit here so that it doesn't come across as akin to a conspiracy (leave that to the politicians). Disney has done many good things — even great ones (in their earlier years) — in the pursuit of fine art, and its missteps can be called out without dismissing them as being racist, homophobic or pedophiliac. True, they are into profits now more than they are into the creation of great art. But that is very unfortunately the way of corporations these days, and anything Disney is guilty of also holds true for nearly every other entertainment company now. Not an excuse, just a reason. Keep calling them out, I say, for egregious behavior and policy, but pick your battles.

  72. MatthewA

    On that note, why is the racial aspect always the one brought up and never the sexual politics of the film? Doesn't Ruth Warrick deserve some credit for her thankless role as Johnny's mother? At least she was wise enough not to play it over the top, making her prejudices that she disguises as concern for her son's safety — which ultimately only ending up making things worse when he almost dies — seem all the more insidious. The filmmakers were smart enough to realize that racism is not always as obvious as subsequent works such as All in the Family and Mississippi Burning, both made after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that this film did nothing to stop, would make it look. There's a lot at play here that went over the heads of both black and white audiences, things that offer no easy answers and expects the audience to find those answers for themselves, but modern Disney would rather sweep it under the rug like the forest animals in Snow White so pale imitators can usurp its limelight. Moral outrage is the proper response to that..

    It is an astute position you take here, Matthew. The sexual politics in film (and in life) and the SOTS character's subtle but visible racism are another level on which the film can be viewed. Your use of the word "thankless" is entirely appropriate, yet her underlying aversion to colored people is on view for those who care to be open to it. But, for the most part, the black characters are treated with dignity here, and that is the message I choose to take away from the film.

  73. Dick

    The girlie-girl dialog in SOTS never occurred to me as being homophobic. Ever.

    That is the characters' prejudices more than the filmmakers' per se. They're calling out the boys for being bullies in a time when this was even more common than it is now. If you never experienced it yourself, it might go over your head.

    I do not believe the financial impact would be negligible. If Disney believed that the film was of no more or less significance than the mediocre Dean Jones dog movies they release instead of rather than in addition to it, they would have released it quietly and with little fanfare. That's basically what they did for So Dear to My Heart. It got an under-the-radar video debut to tie in with the last US Song reissue, then showed up on its own in 1992 (remastered and with a laserdisc to go with it) and as part of the Masterpiece Collection. But the proposed DVD that was to have been part of the Gold Collection like the three hybrids after it was postponed for years and years until the Disney Movie Club finally released it after it had been available overseas. Obviously they believe there would be a big financial (and social) impact, and that it would be a negative one, one possibly undermining the chance for future work with other black professionals today. That's also why it's comical when a black woman such as Whoopi Goldberg comes to the film's defense and a white woman like Lindsay Ellis calls it a "mistake" while condemning Pocahontas, a film made to make up for past perceived slights (*cough*Peter Pan*cough*) that just ended up creating new ones.

    As for conspiracies and having to sift through lots of lies to find what is actually true, I leave nothing to chance with Disney when their cultural footprint has been so huge and has grown in quantity if not necessarily in quality this century alone, and when their public image hasn't always matched the reality of their behavior. Thanks to the Fox deal, they now own Wall Street and Gordon Gekko's "greed is good" speech, a stark contrast to everything Disney taught us with their movies. I don't buy into everything these pressure groups claim and wish Disney would tell them all to go pound sand, but the one time such complaints are justified they get dismissed. Disney's collusion with the junk food industry, which I have researched and even incorporated into a video presentation, and complicity in their negligent behavior (as well as having to pay for its consequences) is more worthy of condemnation of their racial attitudes then or now. Some have even attempted to argue that the studio was ahead of its time in Walt's time.

    I also brought up Ruth Warrick's character when it appears that in condensing the narrative down to theme park ride length, neither she nor the film's other female characters (Ginny, Aunt Tempy, Miss Doshie, Mrs. Favors) figure into Splash Mountain and thus their roles in the story are diminished as well.

  74. Dick

    ..But I agree with members here who suggest that withholding SOTS from public view does not in and of itself constitute censorship, as the film is no doubt preserved in the Disney vaults in optimal and uncut condition, probably having been scanned at 4K…

    Having constant access to movies (or any other form of media) is a very recent phenomenon. It wasn't that long ago that the only way to see a film was during its theatrical release. If you were lucky, it would get re-released, or pop up at a rep house or on television (edited and pan-and-scanned). But most movies simply disappeared, as did most television shows after their initial airings. Books and records went out of print, the vast majority of them fading into obscurity. When I was a kid, the notion of owning a copy of a movie was unthinkable for anyone who wasn't in the industry or a millionaire. It's easy to forget just how good we have it now, being able to own copies of films we love for around $20, and in pristine condition, many of them looking better than they did the day the were released.

  75. Dick

    The New York Times article you linked to that spoke of Mary Poppins further blackening her face just never…ever…spoke to me as being any form of racism.

    Why? Because it is a movie that you enjoy and find to be a "classic" so, all of a sudden, it gets the soft shoe treatment? Racist stereotypes are racist stereotypes. If they grounds to eliminate access to one film then they are grounds to eliminate access to any film that contains them. In fact, there are greater grounds to eliminate access to "Mary Poppins" than "SoTS", because it contains images of White actors with connections to blackface which goes back to a long history of Minstrel performance, unlke "SoTS" that at least had a Black actor and Black voice actors as leads.

    So, it is okay for Disney to banish a film with actual Blacks in lead roles as racist while continuing to release films that show Whites parodying Blacks and then having the gall to claim that they are doing it on some moral grounds? Frankly, the only people who should have a say on whether "SoTS" is buried is the descendants of the actor and voice actors that worked on the film. I could at least respect their wishes if they decided that they wanted the performances of their ancestors to disappear once and for all, but for Disney to take a holier-than-though position regarding release of the film because…their reputation…..while continuing to re-release films that contain "racist" elements is the height of hypocrisy.

  76. I didn't think they were trying to portray blacks or blackface in MP. They're chimney sweeps, who naturally get dirty and sooty doing their jobs. I've never seen anything racial about that scene. Just a dirty job done by people who naturally get dirty while doing it.

  77. Malcolm R

    I didn't think they were trying to portray blacks or blackface in MP. They're chimney sweeps, who naturally get dirty and sooty doing their jobs. I've never seen anything racial about that scene. Just a dirty job done by people who naturally get dirty while doing it.

    Exactly.

  78. The Mary Poppins references bring up an interesting point. The original print run of the original series of novels featured some very racist material that was very derogatory towards black people. While I don’t think the Mary Poppins film itself is racist, some of the original books are.

    The books were revised, I believe within the author’s lifetime and possibly by her own hand, to remove the racist material. I suppose you could call it a case of not throwing out the baby with the bath water. If only the racist original versions of the Poppins novels remained in print, who knows if Disney would have been touched them in the first place. Clearly a decision was made that it was better to adjust the text rather than having it swept into the dustbin of history by indifferent or offended audiences.

  79. It still glorifies a shameful period in English history: one where male homosexuality was illegal (but not female homosexuality, interesting enough). That period hadn't ended until 1967, four years before Bedknobs and Broomsticks came out and two years before the US saw the Stonewall riots. I agree with Edwin-S and I wish I could like his post a million times. That Woman has gotten off the hook for far too long, and that part of the reason for withdrawing Song and cutting the two 70s hybrids (after restoring one but not the other) is to prop this one up artificially. If it could stand on its own merits (which are nonexistent), this wouldn't be necessary. It and it alone deserves the kind of criticism the others got because it is far more racist, far more derivative, and just not very good when you consider the level of hype surrounding it. It didn't just steal from SotS, but from Alice In Wonderland, Dumbo, Gigi, and Babes in Toyland. And it also gave the sugar industry free publicity you just can't buy. That stuff fueled the slave trade.

    And as for "quirks," Miss Price was quirky. Her predecessor was a sociopath.

    Edwin-S

    So, it is okay for Disney to banish a film with actual Blacks in lead roles as racist while continuing to release films that show Whites parodying Blacks and then having the gall to claim that they are doing it on some moral grounds?

    This.

    It does not help when they are constantly chanting "step in", which sounds like Stepin Fetchit, a black caricature of the 1930s now similarly discredited. Except he was actually black, too.

  80. MatthewA

    It still glorifies a shameful period in English history: one where male homosexuality was illegal (but not female homosexuality, interesting enough). That period hadn't ended until 1967, four years before Bedknobs and Broomsticks came out and two years before the US saw the Stonewall riots. I agree with Edwin-S and I wish I could like his post a million times. That Woman has gotten off the hook for far too long, and that part of the reason for withdrawing Song and cutting the two 70s hybrids is to prop this one up artificially. If it could stand on its own merits (which are nonexistent), this wouldn't be necessary. It and it alone deserves the kind of criticism the others got because it is far more racist and far more derivative. And they also gave the sugar industry free publicity you just can't buy.

    And as for "quirks," Miss Price was quirky. Her predecessor was a sociopath.

    It does not help when they are constantly chanting "step in", which sounds like Stepin Fetchit.

    When it comes to Mary Poppins, the Edwardian period is what people love most about the Brits, especially more than ever since Downton Abbey premiered almost 10 years ago. That period is heavily romanticized, just like the Antebellum South is in Gone With The Wind. In reality both of those time periods were anything but, except for those who were wealthy enough.

    The reason why Mary Poppins is so popular 55 years later is that Disney has constantly made her aware to public where as BedKnobs and Pete's Dragon have since been basically locked up, with only being allowed a few outings here and there.

    I don't know if I would call Mary a sociopath, she's a magical person that can't be labeled as such since she is not a human being per say. Miss Price on the other hand is human, and her character is more relate-able because she's not perfect like Mary is. She knows she's in way-over her head when it comes to witchcraft, but she's willing to keep trying at again and again to accomplish what she wants to do. Where as Mary can do it the right way all the time every time, because that's the type of person she is.

  81. Song of the South is locked up.

    Bedknobs and Broomsticks and Pete's Dragon got time off for good behavior.

    So Dear to My Heart served its sentence.

    That Woman is the only actual criminal. She killed all the other applicants for the job, she gaslights and threatens the children over a rigged horse race she cheated at, and she only exists to put back together a family whose whole livelihood depends on usury. And her relationships with other adult women are less than cordial. It is a crime that that film has been put on a pedestal for so long, especially when Disney has slighted every other hybrid in one way or another. It never should have been made. If anything, it prejudiced others who disliked it against subsequent (and superior) works the Sherman Brothers created.* The books were just as bad; I read one chapter and promptly burned them. Terrible, terrible writing from a woman who treated Walt poorly and expected the red carpet treatment for it. And I have been bullied BY ADULTS AS AN ADULT for criticizing it. Disney would be better off without it. Four years after its initial home video release (20 years after its initial theatrical release), they were still fighting with corporate greenmailers for their existence, so it did precious little to stop Disney from near financial ruin.

    In Song of the South, Johnny is not to blame for the iniquties of the society he was born in because he and Ginny are the only ones — at least among the film's white characters — trying to do something about it. It's easier to care about them, or the Rawlins children or Pete who have no family at all and have to find one.

    *There are other parallels to this film in their other works. In Summer Magic, Hayley Mills can wear pants to do housework, but much like Johnny, her little brother must get a haircut or be bullied by other boys. That's a switch from the original Parent Trap where both Susan and Sharon could have short hair, except that was not a period piece. John Lawless in The Happiest Millionaire is the closest thing to a white Uncle Remus as the studio ever got. In The One and Only Genuine Original Family Band, Grandpa Bower, a former Confederate soldier, almost gets thrown off the family farm, just like Uncle Remus, but this time for interfering in his granddaughter's love life. The Sailor Bear in Bedknobs and Broomsticks is basically a white version of Br'er Bear. Even after the Shermans left Disney, the studio didn't stop; the Gogan brothers of Pete's Dragon are basically older, more brutal versions of the Favors boys. And Who Framed Roger Rabbit is self-explanatory: a white rabbit in the same postwar Hollywood that created Song of the South.

  82. darkrock17

    When it comes to Mary Poppins, the Edwardian period is what people love most about the Brits, especially more than ever since Downton Abbey premiered almost 10 years ago. That period is heavily romanticized, just like the Antebellum South is in Gone With The Wind. In reality both of those time periods were anything but, except for those who were wealthy enough.

    The reason why Mary Poppins is so popular 55 years later is that Disney has constantly made her aware to public where as BedKnobs and Pete's Dragon have since been basically locked up, with only being allowed a few outings here and there.

    I don't know if I would call Mary a sociopath, she's a magical person that can't be labeled as such since she is not a human being per say. Miss Price on the other hand is human, and her character is more relate-able because she's not perfect like Mary is.

    And, of course, Mary Poppins is a much better film. Bedknobs and Broomsticks is a pleasant entertainment but essentially a pale imitation of Poppins with none of the creators functioning at the level they had on the earlier film. Lansbury really shines and brings it up a notch higher than it would have been with anyone else.

  83. JohnMor

    And, of course, Mary Poppins is a much better film. Bedknobs and Broomsticks is a pleasant entertainment but essentially a pale imitation of Poppins with none of the creators functioning at the level they had on the earlier film. Lansbury really shines and brings it up a notch higher than it would have been with anyone else.

    Bedknobs And Broomsticks came very close to being made in 1963, because Walt was having problems trying to convince PL Travers to let him adapt Mary Poppins. While he was waiting on Poppins, Walt was already working on Bedknobs. Both films are equally enjoyable in their own ways, I love them both, but BedKnobs is my all time favorite live action film.

  84. darkrock17

    Bedknobs And Broomsticks came very close to being made in 1963, because Walt was having problems trying to convince PL Travers to let him adapt Mary Poppins. While he was waiting on Poppins, Walt was already working on Bedknobs. Both films are equally enjoyable in their own ways, I love them both, but BedKnobs is my all time favorite live action film.

    Well I can't say it's my all time favorite but I do think it is underrated. The uncut version is far superior IMHO.

  85. Mysto

    Well I can't say it's my all time favorite but I do think it is underrated. The uncut version is far superior IMHO.

    And yet Disney gives us the theatrical cut on Blu and probably will do the same on Disney+.

  86. darkrock17

    And yet Disney gives us the theatrical cut on Blu and probably will do the same on Disney+.

    One of their myriad mind-boggling decisions. While I don’t rank it as high as MP, I would have upgraded to the blu-ray had it been the restored cut.

  87. darkrock17

    And yet Disney gives us the theatrical cut on Blu and probably will do the same on Disney+.

    I doubt probably enters into it. But I would love to be amazed and surprised.

  88. MatthewA

    Song of the South is locked up.

    Bedknobs and Broomsticks and Pete's Dragon got time off for good behavior.

    So Dear to My Heart served its sentence.

    That Woman is the only actual criminal. She killed all the other applicants for the job, she gaslights and threatens the children over a rigged horse race she cheated at, and she only exists to put back together a family whose whole livelihood depends on usury. And her relationships with other adult women are less than cordial. It is a crime that that film has been put on a pedestal for so long, especially when Disney has slighted every other hybrid in one way or another. It never should have been made. If anything, it prejudiced others who disliked it against subsequent (and superior) works the Sherman Brothers created.* The books were just as bad; I read one chapter and promptly burned them. Terrible, terrible writing from a woman who treated Walt poorly and expected the red carpet treatment for it. And I have been bullied BY ADULTS AS AN ADULT for criticizing it.

    In Song of the South, Johnny is not to blame for the iniquties of the society he was born in because he and Ginny are the only ones — at least among the film's white characters — trying to do something about it. It's easier to care about them, or the Rawlins children or Pete who have no family at all.

    *There are other parallels to this film in their other works. In Summer Magic, Hayley Mills can wear pants to do housework, but much like Johnny, her little brother must get a haircut or be bullied by other boys. That's a switch from the original Parent Trap where both Susan and Sharon could have short hair, except that was not a period piece. John Lawless in The Happiest Millionaire is the closest thing to a white Uncle Remus as the studio ever got. In The One and Only Genuine Original Family Band, Grandpa Bower, a former Confederate soldier, almost gets thrown off the family farm, just like Uncle Remus, but this time for interfering in his granddaughter's love life. The Sailor Bear in Bedknobs and Broomsticks is basically a white version of Br'er Bear. Even after the Shermans left Disney, the studio didn't stop; the Gogan brothers of Pete's Dragon are basically older, more brutal versions of the Favors boys. And Who Framed Roger Rabbit is self-explanatory: a white rabbit in the same postwar Hollywood that created Song of the South.

    So Dear To My Heart got released, when?

    Matthew, it is just a movie remember that.

    Why did you make your foot note so small, almost need a magnify glass to read it.

  89. So Dear to My Heart has been on DVD for quite some time and has been on some of the same streaming/online venues in HD where other back catalog titles also were, but not Blu-ray.

    The footnotes are at a size 2. They used to be at size 1 because that was considered too small for information I didn't want to forget but that was only related to the main subject indirectly. Making them bigger would take the focus off of it.

    Mysto

    The uncut version is far superior IMHO.

    That's the only version that ever should have existed in the first place. Disney stacked the deck by cutting it and every other musical released after Walt's death, but even in a cut version Bedknobs and Broomsticks was still a much more entertaining and substantially less annoying film than its predecessor, which is just plain vile beyond belief. It is not a pale imitation; it's an upgrade from a downgrade. Even then you could tell there were the remnants of a masterpiece and that there was much more to it that somehow got left out.* The 97-minute version, which used to be what broadcast TV got, is painful to watch; even the Sherman Brothers couldn't bring themselves to do so. Luckily, we don't have to anymore, but for them to deprive us of an option to watch it uncut is unforgivable. They cut the film three times, reverting back to the cut version after restoring the uncut version, and even then with the film footage for one song still at large. Spite is the only reason for that. Sabotage to prop up an inferior film. Deep down they know this is the better film, that's why they cut it. They were afraid if it was too good, people would forget about Walt and what he created; nothing could be further than the truth. They did to it exactly what Cinderella's stepsisters did to her dress. There need to be criminal penalties for the desecration of Bedknobs and Broomsticks.

    None of that changes the fact that all of these films are copying Song of the South. The same "but Disney is a business" excuse used to justify the butchery of its most artistically accomplished successor is the same one used to take this off the market.

    darkrock17

    Matthew, it is just a movie remember that.

    No, it's not. It's in the theme parks, on live stage, a making-of movie, and a sequel. They are intent on shoving it in your face in as many media as they can. It's got to stop. The New York Times was right. Not only that, they didn't go far enough. The books and the movie and everything related to them are offensive enough on an artistic and moral level to justify banishing them forever. Some things are worth more than money. And if Disney is serious about improving race relations and doing something about childhood obesity, they will. The world would be a better place without it and with Song of the South. The latter's only real crime was enabling the former. Read this out loud:

    Edwin-S

    So, it is okay for Disney to banish a film with actual Blacks in lead roles as racist while continuing to release films that show Whites parodying Blacks and then having the gall to claim that they are doing it on some moral grounds?

  90. MatthewA

    So Dear to My Heart has been on DVD for quite some time and has been on some of the same streaming/online venues in HD where other back catalog titles also were, but not Blu-ray.

    The footnotes are at a size 2. They used to be at size 1 because that was considered too small for information I didn't want to forget but that was only related to the main subject indirectly. Making them bigger would take the focus off of it.

    That's the only version that ever should have existed in the first place. Disney stacked the deck by cutting it and every other musical released after Walt's death, but even in a cut version Bedknobs and Broomsticks was still a much more entertaining and substantially less annoying film than its predecessor, which is just plain vile beyond belief. It is not a pale imitation; it's an upgrade from a downgrade. Even then you could tell there were the remnants of a masterpiece and that there was much more to it that somehow got left out.* The 97-minute version, which used to be what broadcast TV got, is painful to watch; even the Sherman Brothers couldn't bring themselves to do so. Luckily, we don't have to anymore, but for them to deprive us of an option to watch it uncut is unforgivable. They cut the film three times, reverting back to the cut version after restoring the uncut version, and even then with the film footage for one song still at large. Spite is the only reason for that. Sabotage to prop up an inferior film. Deep down they know this is the better film, that's why they cut it. They were afraid if it was too good, people would forget about Walt and what he created; nothing could be further than the truth. They did to it exactly what Cinderella's stepsisters did to her dress. There need to be criminal penalties for the desecration of Bedknobs and Broomsticks.

    None of that changes the fact that all of these films are copying Song of the South. The same "but Disney is a business" excuse used to justify the butchery of its most artistically accomplished successor is the same one used to take this off the market.

    No, it's not. It's in the theme parks, on live stage, a making-of movie, and a sequel. They are intent on shoving it in your face in as many media as they can. It's got to stop. The New York Times was right. Not only that, they didn't go far enough. The books and the movie and everything related to them are offensive enough on an artistic and moral level to justify banishing them forever. Some things are worth more than money. And if Disney is serious about improving race relations and doing something about childhood obesity, they will. The world would be a better place without it and with Song of the South. The latter's only real crime was enabling the former. Read this out loud:

    So, what, Matthew…you don't like MARY POPPINS? :unsure:

  91. Josh Steinberg

    Except nothing has been erased.

    For Dumbo, the original camera negative remains intact at Disney.

    This doesn't rise above the level of hearsay, but I stumbled upon this, which suggests in the case of FANTASIA that the censored frames might have been excluded from any internal restoration effort. If they are deliberately letting the 35mm elements for censored material rot away, then erasure is not too strong a word for the eventuality that points to.

    I'm more confident in DUMBO and SONG OF THE SOUTH being preserved in 4K, as it was reported back in 2011 that this is exactly what happened to those films along with much of the Disney library as part of a broader effort to future-proof the cataog.

  92. MartinP.

    So the film was available on LaserDisc in Japan and VHS in Europe. Britain showed it on television recently enough. I never have understood, if something is deemed racist, why is it available in other countries outside the U.S.? Is it not also racist there?

    I first saw the film at the Chinese Theatre when they showed it for a week; I believe it was 1989, but not entirely certain. What all of this censorship or cultural sensitivity is doing is making people see evil in things. I mean, should we eliminate all those scenes of those gay servants who were made fun of in Astaire/Rogers musicals?

    Call me Mr. Insensitive but that is something I have never noticed at all in my 60 years of watching and loving these musicals. I really don’t know what you are referring to.

  93. TJPC

    Call me Mr. Insensitive but that is something I have never noticed at all in my 60 years of watching and loving these musicals? I really don’t know what you are referring to.

    I'm with you, Terry. Perceptions are funny things. In my line of work I deal with a lot of people who will swear that other people are doing or saying things to them that just aren't true. They see (i.e. perceive) slights that aren't at all what other folks are saying, doing or even slightly suggesting. But try and convince them they are wrong? Forget about it. Most everyone has the Yogi syndrome – "I'm smarter than the average bear." So when they think they see some subtext in a 1930's film, it's virtually impossible to convince them otherwise.

    Bottom line: People see what they want to see. And people have the ability to take the most innocuous things and turn them into something purposeful with loads of subtext and subversion. Me? I just watch the films and enjoy them for what they are, keeping in mind that culture then is NOT what it is now and I shouldn't try to read the present into the past. Moral relativism isn't all that it's cracked up to be.

    Gary "just my two cents from almost 50 years of watching old films" O.

  94. I once showed “Kid Millions” as my movie from the 1930s to a highschool class. After we watched it, we had a discussion about black face and the introduction of Technicolor.

    It was a good, lively discussion. After class, three Muslim students came up to my desk. They were very disturbed by the old style depiction of Arabs, living in tents, riding camels, and having a haram of “dancing” girls. This had never occurred to me.

  95. Truthfully, I can’t necessarily blame Disney for not releasing SotS. In fairness they didn’t create the outrage mob mentality that seems so ubiquitous today (though I think they and other powerful entities could be doing more to stand up to it) and it’s true there may not be much of a financial incentive make the necessary investment to release a modern standard A/V version of the title. But to withhold it out of fear is a bit silly. I get that Disney is very image conscious but they’re way too massive that some potentially negative press over the release would really hurt them. Also, it seems to me outrage mobs retreat quickly from resistance. Every few years the demand for Washington Redskins to change their name crops up, the owners say “we’re not changing the name” and the mob moves on. The governor of NC just recently got in hot water for racist yearbook photos. There were some calls for him to step down, he said no, and the whole thing blew over within about a week. Chick fil a continues to do massive business as well despite the owner’s controversial views on gay marriage.

    I also would wager a large sum that only a very small minority of the black community would really be offended at the release of this film and in reality the outrage would by far be fueled by whites.

    I don’t think Disney should have much to fear.

  96. Disney does not want to be part of this discussion. As long as it is confined to internet groups, they can choose not to participate. If they release the movie, they will be forced to participate. And that is why a good "final word" documentary on these subjects, included with the film, would probably be enough.

    I think they should break through simply to turn the tide. Otherwise it's going to get to the point where everything–books, movies, tv shows, comics–from the 20th century will have to be censored. Pretty much everything from the 20th century can be considered racist if you really want to argue a point. So does that mean we have to throw it all out?

  97. Ethan Riley

    Disney does not want to be part of this discussion. As long as it is confined to internet groups, they can choose not to participate. If they release the movie, they will be forced to participate. And that is why a good "final word" documentary on these subjects, included with the film, would probably be enough.

    I think they should break through simply to turn the tide. Otherwise it's going to get to the point where everything–books, movies, tv shows, comics–from the 20th century will have to be censored. Pretty much everything from the 20th century can be considered racist if you really want to argue a point. So does that mean we have to throw it all out?

    In some people’s estimation, yes.

  98. I'd like to state upfront that I agree with both of you that I'm quoting below in the fact that I find the current mode of finding fault and denigrating the past in light of the current phase of "moral relativism", as Gary says, is wrongheaded. I'm not in favor of censorship or altering films whenever they were made to satisfy current sensibilities.

    Gary OS

    Me? I just watch the films and enjoy them for what they are, keeping in mind that culture then is NOT what it is now and I shouldn't try to read the present into the past. Moral relativism isn't all that it's cracked up to be.

    ^^^ Exactly.

    Gary OS

    So when they think they see some subtext in a 1930's film, it's virtually impossible to convince them otherwise.

    I think you'd agree that people all have their own life experiences. So what you might think of as "nothing" is "something" to those who have a different life experience. As TJPC wrote:

    TJPC

    It was a good, lively discussion. After class, three Muslim students came up to my desk. They were very disturbed by the old style depiction of Arabs, living in tents, riding camels, and having a haram of “dancing” girls. This had never occurred to me.

    This never occurred to you, either:

    TJPC

    Call me Mr. Insensitive but that is something I have never noticed at all in my 60 years of watching and loving these musicals. I really don’t know what you are referring to.

    From a book about Fred Astaire's films:

    Oftentimes the supporting male cast would feature at least one homosexual parody in the form of the “pansy” caricature. Lisping and rolling his eyes, the pansy may have good social standing, but he is always the comic relief even when an accidental partner to the drama. Much of the comedy is gleaned from such characters’ use of feminine physical gestures or ineffectual posturing, marking them as “sissies.” That pansy characteristics could instantly define a character, or even the tone of an entire production, underscores their difference to the male protagonist.

    So, yeah, I suppose if you are not LGBT none of this would be noticed by you, but if you were subjected most of your life to these stereotypes they might, at the very least, make you roll your eyes before you move on. Or worse, you'd either try to change the way you were if you actually exhibited these traits, or those who were LGBT and not like this you'd distance yourself from the very idea you were or at the extreme worst you'd deny yourself.

    I don't know what line of work you're in, Gary, but dealing with other people's perceptions without an understanding of where they're coming from might be really problematic, but what you wrote below sounds like the way you deal with that is to "try and convince them they're wrong."

    Gary OS

    I'm with you, Terry. Perceptions are funny things. In my line of work I deal with a lot of people who will swear that other people are doing or saying things to them that just aren't true. They see (i.e. perceive) slights that aren't at all what other folks are saying, doing or even slightly suggesting. But try and convince them they are wrong? Forget about it. Most everyone has the Yogi syndrome – "I'm smarter than the average bear." So when they think they see some subtext in a 1930's film, it's virtually impossible to convince them otherwise.

    Like I said, I don't know your line of work and it wouldn't help to expound on that here, but in that paragraph you wrote it comes off as dismissive.

    Gary OS

    Bottom line: People see what they want to see. And people have the ability to take the most innocuous things and turn them into something purposeful with loads of subtext and subversion. Me? I just watch the films and enjoy them for what they are, keeping in mind that culture then is NOT what it is now and I shouldn't try to read the present into the past. Moral relativism isn't all that it's cracked up to be.

    Again, what might be innocuous to you might be very different to someone else's life experiences. I happen to like the word "oriental" and often use it in ways that I was used to growing up, and now get called out on it. I don't discount that some people's life experience find it annoying, but I also don't argue about it and let it go. I have no wrong motives about using the word. That's what a lot of people don't get about this "moral relativism" you write of. Many, even most, of the people they're wanting to denigrate (Kate Smith, really?) had absolutely no ill motives about the things being brought up now. I'd liken it to demonizing anyone who ever smoked now that it is unacceptable in most quarters to do so.

    TJPC

    I once showed “Kid Millions” as my movie from the 1930s to a highschool class. After we watched it, we had a discussion about black face and the introduction of Technicolor.

    It was a good, lively discussion. After class, three Muslim students came up to my desk. They were very disturbed by the old style depiction of Arabs, living in tents, riding camels, and having a haram of “dancing” girls. This had never occurred to me.

    I don't know the discussion you then had about this, but in watching anything from different time periods I would hope that it was in the context of educating people to the point that, even if one has an issue with how something from the past is portrayed, one has to be most cognizant of the intent of the creators of such films. That's most imnportant. People can change and grow better over time and past inadequacies shouldn't be demonized, but understood. If the past is never going to be understood then you get bogged down and won't move on.

  99. We are turning into a society that wishes to determine the way you should even view the art…Ausstellung der entarteten Kunst, anyone? Modern sensibilities still stereotype African-Americans from thugs to Madaea. Policing newer cinema should be the objective. Kids watching “Dumbo” think they’re watching cartoons, not a social riff. Perhaps the “Pink Elephants” drunk scene is a worse influence.

    “Song of the South” is, at least, the opposite of the hipster-coined “white saviour film.”

  100. usrunnr

    Has anyone purchased the 'Song of the South' DVD from songofthesouth.net? $11.99 and free shipping. Clearly a bootleg, but . . . .

    I happen to have a 720p (35mm scan) copy of the film that a friend passed my way, as I had never seen the film. AFAIK, that's the best quality version available.

  101. MartinP.

    I don't know what line of work you're in, Gary, but dealing with other people's perceptions without an understanding of where they're coming from might be really problematic, but what you wrote below sounds like the way you deal with that is to "try and convince them they're wrong."

    I happen to like the word "oriental" and often use it in ways that I was used to growing up, and now get called out on it. I don't discount that some people's life experience find it annoying, but I also don't argue about it and let it go. I have no wrong motives about using the word. That's what a lot of people don't get about this "moral relativism" you write of. Many, even most, of the people they're wanting to denigrate (Kate Smith, really?) had absolutely no ill motives about the things being brought up now. I'd liken it to demonizing anyone who ever smoked now that it is unacceptable in most quarters to do so.

    As to your first paragraph, let me just say that of course I want to be aware of people’s past experiences to find out how and why their perceptions are shaped as they are. But that still doesn’t discount the fact that perception is not always reality (contrary to the popular quote). And if people are ever going to grow and learn they have to understand that.

    As to your second paragraph, let me just say I heartily agree! That was really my whole point. But remember we are talking about censorship here. Not just that people may misunderstand or perceive past actions and events portrayed in film in a different way. It’s about censoring those things without giving thought to the fact that there were no ill motives or specific attempts to denigrate segments of society. Therefore desires for censorship should be curtailed, understanding the times in which these things were filmed.

    Gary “hope that clarifies my position” O.

  102. As long as I have my DVD copy from the Korean LD of years past, that's all that matters to me. One was offered on eBay years ago and some guy paid $400 for it. I asked why, and he said, "I couldn't stop myself from bidding, I just had to have it!"

  103. Dick

    In the above disclaimer text, I would change the word "were" to "are" in the second line.

    "…were wrong then and are wrong today" rubs me the wrong way. That's viewing the past through the funhouse mirror lens of today's judgment.

  104. Also, just remember…all the crazy raging mobs foaming at the mouth over the outrage-of-the week really have no authority. More of us need to stand up to them and tell them to STFU. They're the ones who create the problems, by projecting their imagined intentions onto the current object of their rage.

  105. MartinP.

    I'd like to state upfront that I agree with both of you that I'm quoting below in the fact that I find the current mode of finding fault and denigrating the past in light of the current phase of "moral relativism", as Gary says, is wrongheaded. I'm not in favor of censorship or altering films whenever they were made to satisfy current sensibilities.

    ^^^ Exactly.

    I think you'd agree that people all have their own life experiences. So what you might think of as "nothing" is "something" to those who have a different life experience. As TJPC wrote:

    This never occurred to you, either:

    From a book about Fred Astaire's films:

    Oftentimes the supporting male cast would feature at least one homosexual parody in the form of the “pansy” caricature. Lisping and rolling his eyes, the pansy may have good social standing, but he is always the comic relief even when an accidental partner to the drama. Much of the comedy is gleaned from such characters’ use of feminine physical gestures or ineffectual posturing, marking them as “sissies.” That pansy characteristics could instantly define a character, or even the tone of an entire production, underscores their difference to the male protagonist.

    So, yeah, I suppose if you are not LGBT none of this would be noticed by you, but if you were subjected most of your life to these stereotypes they might, at the very least, make you roll your eyes before you move on. Or worse, you'd either try to change the way you were if you actually exhibited these traits, or those who were LGBT and not like this you'd distance yourself from the very idea you were or at the extreme worst you'd deny yourself.

    I don't know what line of work you're in, Gary, but dealing with other people's perceptions without an understanding of where they're coming from might be really problematic, but what you wrote below sounds like the way you deal with that is to "try and convince them they're wrong."

    Like I said, I don't know your line of work and it wouldn't help to expound on that here, but in that paragraph you wrote it comes off as dismissive.

    Again, what might be innocuous to you might be very different to someone else's life experiences. I happen to like the word "oriental" and often use it in ways that I was used to growing up, and now get called out on it. I don't discount that some people's life experience find it annoying, but I also don't argue about it and let it go. I have no wrong motives about using the word. That's what a lot of people don't get about this "moral relativism" you write of. Many, even most, of the people they're wanting to denigrate (Kate Smith, really?) had absolutely no ill motives about the things being brought up now. I'd liken it to demonizing anyone who ever smoked now that it is unacceptable in most quarters to do so.

    I don't know the discussion you then had about this, but in watching anything from different time periods I would hope that it was in the context of educating people to the point that, even if one has an issue with how something from the past is portrayed, one has to be most cognizant of the intent of the creators of such films. That's most imnportant. People can change and grow better over time and past inadequacies shouldn't be demonized, but understood. If the past is never going to be understood then you get bogged down and won't move on.

    At the end of the unit, there was a project. One of the questions asked students to reflect on how movies of each era reflected the attitudes and beliefs of their times. They were to try to know, say what the 1930s were like, based on what they learned about them from their movies.

  106. JohnRice

    All these alarmist comments about "State run media", "censoring", "banning" and George Orwell are completely absurd.

    While the obvious intentional banning is morally absurdist in itself. Orwell would be amused.

  107. darkrock17

    Better not let anyone on Twitter see any of these movies, because all it takes these days is for someone to say something is racists for everyone to jump on the bandwagon and say the same.

    Amen, brother, Twitter is the new cultural Politburo. So many illiterate hysterics, so little intelligence .

  108. Mark Y

    "…were wrong then and are wrong today" rubs me the wrong way. That's viewing the past through the funhouse mirror lens of today's judgment.

    I’ll admit that I’m not the worlds most “liberal” person out there, but you kind of have to let that phrasing go. I am very contemptuous of the idea of judging and destroying things of the past because they’re not “compatible” with today’s standards (I thought the “god bless America” flap at Yankee Stadium and the statue removal in philly was a major overreaction. Really did those organizations just find about those other recordings?). But from a moral standpoint it’s hard to defend many of those things from the past even if they were legal and/or generally accepted.

  109. JohnRice

    All these alarmist comments about "State run media", "censoring", "banning" and George Orwell are completely absurd.

    Weeeelllllllllllll……it’s seems far fetched right now, but there does seem to be contingents that want government more involved (including total control) in certain things (healthcare, more regulation of social media etc) We already have an entity (The FCC) that regulates content over public airwaves. Fears of an eventual state run media etc. aren’t entirely that far fetched. And this is just in America. Other countries have stricter laws or standards, for example, I hear in Canada, comedians get fined for “objectionable” jokes.

  110. Keep the P&R out. I’m about to start deleting replies. Hint: if you are mentioning things like whether you are a liberal or conservative or is a social media system is like a political structure it’s P&R

  111. Going to get on a bit of a soapbox here for a minute…

    It’s nothing new. When you really dig into it Disney has had such a long history of removing their films and altering them AND getting a free pass for doing so that most have no idea how far this has extended.

    I’m not a Disney fan at all (I only appreciate the the pre-80’s period) but I now have shelves full of Disney laserdiscs to have something to hang onto that is at least closer to original release versions. They have largely been doing the alterations since 1994 with the new Snow White. There is virtually no film without an alteration somewhere and it is only because of the extreme dedication of fans and animation historians that we have any idea of what has been lost.

    It is infuriating and ridiculous that they get away with this. The more you research the more incredulous you become at just how much has been altered. And again they get a free pass! Why??

    With SOTS I think it’s cowardice more than anything. (WB is similar in their refusal to release THE DEVILS with no reason given-and that is a film widely misunderstood since 1971.) If the corporation really cared about preservation than this wouldn’t be an issue and the alterations of all the classic films would simply not exist. But it is all about profit margins. If they felt there was a market for SOTS then you better believe it would be released tomorrow just like any other rerelease from the vault.

    The linked WB screens have always been a perfect way of dealing with this and everyone should follow in the their wake to present original material that has objectionable content. But the corporation wouldn’t like the sound of that most likely since everything must be sanitized in their manner and be simply a mindless product designed to maximize profit.

    This is a topic that really, REALLY infuriates me. It isn’t so much that they won’t release SOTS, but that that they CONTINUALLY get away with further altering and destroying the classic works and preventing the originals from ever being seen for now and presumably the future. As a Star Wars fan it pains me to say that the scope and magnitude of this far outweighs what the special editions did to the original three films because this has been done to the entire catalog-and even more so very few of the public are even aware of what has happened and continues to happen.

    Lastly, I’ve never even gotten to see SOTS. I almost bought the Japanese Laserdisc once but the high price tag was just too much. I’ve heard from a number of sources that it isn’t even supposed to be very offensive but since I’ve never gotten to see it I didn’t know just how much of the negative stigma attached to the film was deserved.
    I’d like to ask those who have seen it; is it really that bad? I’m just curious.

    Sorry to go on for a bit but I grow tired of having this issue disappear and it should be officially addressed at some point even if SOTS never gets officially released again.

  112. How do you stop a company from locking a film up and/or make changes to it when they have every legal right to do so. They own it, they paid for it, they control it. They make decisions on what they think is good for the company, not what is good for us.

  113. I’m not sure what you mean by “free pass” and “getting away with it?” Hardcore fans and collectors have repeatedly and loudy brought this all up time and again. And time and again. And time and again. So it’s hardly any kind of “free pass.”

    If you mean that no one stops them, that’s never going to happen as long as they have the legal rights to do with their own property and products what they want. That’s not a free pass or getting away with anything. That’s simply the law.

    However unfortunate and sad it is to see the changes made (in many cases at least), the *average* consumer simply doesn’t care about them. They’re looking for an entertainment product to enjoy today, not an historical record, however valuable that may seem to us film buffs and collectors. They don’t care if characters no longer smoke or color palettes changed or some lines of dialogue are removed or redubbed. They only care about today’s end result. And like all for-profit businesses, Disney cares about making the sales.

  114. JoeDoakes

    This film was a big issue here for a while, and it is back in the news: https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment…lassics-from-streaming-service-181330560.html

    Maybe Disney could answer this charge by licensing the film to a company like Criterion that could cover all aspects of the film in their special features.

    . This beautiful film was made without racism. It’s been the victim of character assassination for decades, mainly be people who have never even seen it and know nothing about Walt Disney’s process of bringing it to the screen.

  115. Some changes in Disney products might be for the better as long as the original was saved and included for the purist.

    Every time I see “Snow White” I long to see it with the the main character’s screechy 30’s psudo-operatic voice replaced. After all these years I am used to it, but try an experiment and see the reaction of laughter or horror of someone who has never seen the movie.

    Now it completely takes you out of the film. If I wanted to use parts of it for teaching purposes, I always played the soundtrack as students were entering the room, so their reactions were over with by the time I showed the excerpt.

  116. TJPC

    Some changes in Disney products might be for the better as long as the original was saved and included for the purist.

    Every time I see “Snow White” I long to see it with the the main character’s screechy 30’s psudo-operatic voice replaced. After all these years I am used to it, but try an experiment and see the reaction of laughter or horror of someone who has never seen the movie.

    Now it completely takes you out of the film. If I wanted to use parts of it for teaching purposes, I always played the soundtrack as students were entering the room, so their reactions were over with by the time I showed the excerpt.

    I find the singing in Snow White quite beautiful. I can't imagine it replace with the currently popular, overly dramatic style of American Idol screeching.

  117. TJPC

    Some changes in Disney products might be for the better as long as the original was saved and included for the purist.

    Every time I see “Snow White” I long to see it with the the main character’s screechy 30’s psudo-operatic voice replaced. After all these years I am used to it, but try an experiment and see the reaction of laughter or horror of someone who has never seen the movie.

    Now it completely takes you out of the film. If I wanted to use parts of it for teaching purposes, I always played the soundtrack as students were entering the room, so their reactions were over with by the time I showed the excerpt.

    [​IMG]
    Don't go messin' with Adriana – It's a charming reminder of a kinder and gentler style.:wub:

  118. Sorry if this has been asked already, but has Song of the South been released anywhere in the world on DVD officially. It appears to be available on DVD-R in Australia region free, but this appears to be a bootleg release

  119. As a completist, luckily, I own a copy of Song of the South on laserdisc. It does show slaves living happily under their master. However I find Gone With the Wind actually as much if not more offensive then SOTS.

  120. noel aguirre

    As a completist, luckily, I own a copy of Song of the South on laserdisc. It does show slaves living happily under their master. However I find Gone With the Wind actually as much if not more offensive then SOTS.

    Actually this is after the war – they are share croppers working the land that is owned by Grandma.

  121. stuartfanning

    Sorry if this has been asked already, but has Song of the South been released anywhere in the world on DVD officially. It appears to be available on DVD-R in Australia region free, but this appears to be a bootleg release

    To my knowledge there is no "official" DVD release. The film has been released on Laser Disc in Japan and on VHS in the U.K. There are many bootlegs out there and it is even available for viewing online for free.

  122. What it comes down to is that the decision not to release SotS is a business one. Yes, the business decision is motivated by societal forces, but in the end it still comes back to business. Disney is now a giant, faceless corporation. Everything they choose to produce or release is only done because a spreadsheet somewhere demonstrated that there was money to be made. In the case of SotS, the audience who really wants it is older, (sometimes) wiser, and doesn't spend as much money as younger demographics do. The money they would bring in from a release of SotS is a pittance compared to the potential for loss, both on the release itself and from future revenue streams that would likely be negatively affected by public outrage, warranted or not. It just isn't worth it to Disney just to make a small group of aging film fans happy. I totally understand it.

    The film is out there for anyone who wants to see it. It isn't difficult to find and the best current copy floating around is at least more detailed than the official VHS and Laserdisc releases that we had previously. Whomever felt they were doing color correction on it did a miserable job, but my point is that it hasn't disappeared and likely won't for some time as long as it still has that air of "the forbidden" about it. We just won't ever see it officially released by Disney.

    EDIT: Heck, there's even a nice HD scan of the censored Sunflower scenes from Fantasia floating around the digital aether. It's hard to truly censor anything in the digital age, where almost anyone with skill and a mid-range computer can do some pretty nice work on film scans.

  123. I’ve had the ability to watch SOTS for some time now, but haven’t gotten around to it. This thread is totally making me want to fit a viewing in soon. I’ve always been a fan of those Splash Mountain characters. Never knew until a few years ago about it being based on SOTS.

  124. I have to agree with the Wikipedia page that the film should have established at the get go of the movie that the time is set during Reconstruction as I had assumed it was not hence my prior post. Others had as well including the NAACP as most films were set during the Antebellum period. The recent PBS special on reconstruction (excellent btw) showed how many had stayed on the plantations in South Carolina etc rather than flee north as those from other states had. So the story is entirely believable from the relationships in the film. I agree w Whoopi- release it. Also it’s technologically a very important film for 1948. In addition the lead received a special Oscar and gives a fantastic performance.

  125. ^^^

    For what it's worth, here's the official AMPAS recognition for this film. Notice the context
    for the special award presented to James Baskett.

    Song of the South
    Walt Disney Productions; RKO Radio.

    1947 (20th Academy Awards)

    MUSIC (Scoring of a Musical Picture)
    Daniele Amfitheatrof, Paul J. Smith, Charles Wolcott

    *MUSIC (Song)
    "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah,"
    Music by Allie Wrubel; Lyrics by Ray Gilbert

    *SPECIAL AWARD
    To James Baskett for his able and heart-warming characterization of Uncle Remus, friend and story teller to the children of the world in Walt Disney's Song of the South.

    * indicates Winner

  126. ahollis

    How do you stop a company from locking a film up and/or make changes to it when they have every legal right to do so. They own it, they paid for it, they control it. They make decisions on what they think is good for the company, not what is good for us.

    The same way people and organizations try to stop OWNERS of historic buildings from demolishing them.
    You work at it if you feel so inclined, but you don't give up. You do what you can.

  127. All the talk about the film prompted me to finally see it for the first time in my life. Frankly, I think the suppressing actions are ridiculous. Yes, black people are depicted as subservient in it, but that's hardly ahistorical (what, they want to pretend such conditions never existed?), nor is it different from other movie depictions from that era which haven't been suppressed. Uncle Remus is depicted as a wise, caring man, hardly something that's "shameful".

  128. ahollis

    You can’t force them to release it for it’s theirs to do that.

    Force means coercion or compulsion and sometimes enough people can coerce or compel somebody or some entity to do something they're resisting. One reason Spielberg decided to release E.T. in October of 1988 was, as he said, and I quote: "I was tired of people asking me when it was going to come out on video."

  129. ahollis

    Well good luck guys.

    Why aren’t you tryimg to offer positive for the watcher of this Instead of being the guy who’s keeping it real.

    I don’t disagree with what you say but man you’re just coming across as that guy.
    You know the guy the one who is the know it all.

    I feel like it’s more constructive to see what we can do to change disney’s Mind then to keep saying what’s the point it’s their movie to do whatever the heck they want with.

    If no one tries eventually everyone will forget about the movie and then it really won’t exist anymore.

    What is Disney concerned about anyway.
    Are there really enough people against this movie that it would hurt the Disney bottom line financially?

  130. ahollis

    How do you stop a company from locking a film up and/or make changes to it when they have every legal right to do so. They own it, they paid for it, they control it. They make decisions on what they think is good for the company, not what is good for us.

    Only 23 more years until it enters the public domain! I wonder if there will still be prints floating around at that point?

    Mickey Macchi

    . This beautiful film was made without racism. It’s been the victim of character assassination for decades, mainly by people who have never even seen it and know nothing about Walt Disney’s process of bringing it to the screen. It’s one of my Top Ten films of all time. On a list with Dr Strangelove, City Lights, The General, The Wizard of Oz, The Godfather, 2001: A Space Oddity, Pixar’s ‘The Incredibles’, The Great Dictator, Some Like it Hot, and Hedwig and the Angry Inch tied with Brazil for last entry. I am as progressive as you get and I would be accused of being a racist by people based on my defense of and love for Song of the South

    Song of the South is definitely racist, but it's casual Gone With the Wind-style racism, not aggressively virulent Birth of a Nation-style racism.

    It's also an warm, good-natured film that deserves to be seen. It seems like the cultural discussion would be much better served by releasing the film prefaced by a 5-10 minute featurette with historians providing context to explain what why the movie is problematic and the background and cultural context of those problematic elements, than pretending the movie next existed.

  131. Adam Lenhardt

    Only 23 more years until it enters the public domain! I wonder if there will still be prints floating around at that point?

    I have a feeling those PD goal posts will keep moving as long as people who stand to lose money from losing intellectual property rights can continue to lobby in favor of extending those protections.

    But there are a number of nonprofit archives that should have it, and there are bootleg 1080p scans of 35mm prints floating around in the wild too.

    I don’t think this movie will ever be “lost” like some other films where there are simply no surviving elements.

  132. TonyD

    Why aren’t you tryimg to offer positive for the watcher of this Instead of being the guy who’s keeping it real.

    I don’t disagree with what you say but man you’re just coming across as that guy.
    You know the guy the one who is the know it all.

    I feel like it’s more constructive to see what we can do to change disney’s Mind then to keep saying what’s the point it’s their movie to do whatever the heck they want with.

    If no one tries eventually everyone will forget about the movie and then it really won’t exist anymore.

    What is Disney concerned about anyway.
    Are there really enough people against this movie that it would hurt the Disney bottom line financially?

    Since I am that guy — there's never been a time nobody is talking about or it's forgotten about b/c it feels like millions of requests a year for the last 30-35 years are made about it. It's because people won't stop talking about it and not that 'people aren't talking about it at all." If I'm a Disney employee at this point I'm tuning out the minute I here "why don't you release Song …….(..beeeppp, noise cancelling headphones turn on)" and I'm 100x more likely to veto the release just out of spite b/c of the misery it's caused me.

    Like the Original Trilogy 10 Million Pound gorilla riding an Nuclear aircraft carrier on the top of a 1000 foot tsunami wave destroying everything and everybody in it's way — lack of requests or knowledge that people want it is NOT the issue. It may well be the near DDOS Barrage is actually working against it b/c anybody at Disney has to freaking hate SOTS by now just like anybody associated with Lucas is so sick of hearing about Original trilogy (heck 98% of the people on any forum on the internet). Even SW fans are starting to hate these people — how does a thread about Crochet technique on a Sewing forum, or a car forum, or a Grief Forum for Cancer Victims Families turn into a raging battle over Anti-George and the battle for the Original Trilogy?

    "Are there really enough people against this movie that it would hurt the Disney bottom line financially?"
    Disney is certainly convinced there are. 1000x the single most positive thing that's happened with regards to SOTS in the last 30 years is Whoopi Goldberg. Everybody needs to get her to get her Hollywood Power movers, African-American Community/Religious/Political leaders like Al Sharpton, Coretta Scott King, NAACP, a few members of the Congressional Black Caucus, Spike Lee, Denzel Washington, and Floyd Norman to lead the charge to get it released. The Fanboys need to back off Disney and let the Potentially Offended Parties take charge of the issue, own it (morally not legally) and give them permission " to release it on terms to promote Discussion of race history" and get 1000 miles away from the whole "You're Oppressing My Rights" bandwagon.

  133. TonyD

    Why aren’t you tryimg to offer positive for the watcher of this Instead of being the guy who’s keeping it real.

    I don’t disagree with what you say but man you’re just coming across as that guy.
    You know the guy the one who is the know it all.

    I feel like it’s more constructive to see what we can do to change disney’s Mind then to keep saying what’s the point it’s their movie to do whatever the heck they want with.

    If no one tries eventually everyone will forget about the movie and then it really won’t exist anymore.

    What is Disney concerned about anyway.
    Are there really enough people against this movie that it would hurt the Disney bottom line financially?

    Since I am that guy — there's never been a time nobody is talking about or it's forgotten about b/c it feels like millions of requests a year for the last 30-35 years are made about it. It's because people won't stop talking about it and not that 'people aren't talking about it at all." If I'm a Disney employee at this point I'm tuning out the minute I here "why don't you release Song …….(..beeeppp, noise cancelling headphones turn on)" and I'm 100x more likely to veto the release just out of spite b/c of the misery it's caused me.

    Like the Original Trilogy 10 Million Pound gorilla riding an Nuclear aircraft carrier on the top of a 1000 foot tsunami wave destroying everything and everybody in it's way — lack of requests or knowledge that people want it is NOT the issue. It may well be the near DDOS Barrage is actually working against it b/c anybody at Disney has to freaking hate SOTS by now just like anybody associated with Lucas is so sick of hearing about Original trilogy (heck 98% of the people on any forum on the internet). Even SW fans are starting to hate these people — how does a thread about Crochet technique on a Sewing forum, or a car forum, or a Grief Forum for Cancer Victims Families turn into a raging battle over Anti-George and the battle for the Original Trilogy?

    "Are there really enough people against this movie that it would hurt the Disney bottom line financially?"
    Disney is certainly convinced there are. 1000x the single most positive thing that's happened with regards to SOTS in the last 30 years is Whoopi Goldberg. Everybody needs to get her to get her Hollywood Power movers, African-American Community/Religious/Political leaders like Al Sharpton, Coretta Scott King, NAACP, a few members of the Congressional Black Caucus, Spike Lee, Denzel Washington, and Floyd Norman to lead the charge to get it released. The Fanboys need to back off Disney and let the Potentially Offended Parties take charge of the issue, own it (morally not legally) and give them permission " to release it on terms to promote Discussion of race history" and get 1000 miles away from the whole "You're Oppressing My Rights" bandwagon.

  134. There was picketing upon its initial release – so right from the start there has been an outcry over the problematic aspects of this film. Those who would like to believe the concerns are a modern invention are wrong.

  135. There was picketing upon its initial release – so right from the start there has been an outcry over the problematic aspects of this film. Those who would like to believe the concerns are a modern invention are wrong.

  136. Neil Middlemiss

    There was picketing upon its initial release – so right from the start there has been an outcry over the problematic aspects of this film. Those who would like to believe the concerns are a modern invention are wrong.

    I was going to say in the 50 and early 60's, but it was such a pimple on an elephant's behind compared to far more important issues that is didn;t get a lot of play. In the mid to late 60's it certainly was being talked about but again among a population of people with so little voice and power that it was useless. "My right to be offensive to you is your problem not mine, but you offending me gives me permission to bust your head (or dynamite your church or let the dogs loose in Downtown or disappear a few of yours)" — some things never change. It certainly gained steam in the 80/90's as some of the Offended Groups now had at least a small place-setting at the table instead of just bussing the table and quietly knowing their place.

  137. According to Wikipedia, it was broacast on the Disney channel as recently as 2001, so the total banishment seems to be fairly recent. It was last released in theaters in 1986.

    The film (minus the infamous Tar Baby scene which was cut from all television airings) was also aired on US television as part of the Disney Channel's "Lunch Box" program in the 1980s and 1990s until December 18, 2001.

  138. Malcolm R

    According to Wikipedia, it was broacast on the Disney channel as recently as 2001, so the total banishment seems to be fairly recent. It was last released in theaters in 1986.

    It must of aired during the Vault Disney block then, as someone who watched a lot of The Disney Channel as a kid I don't remember ever seeing this being advertised in listing.

  139. TonyD

    Why aren’t you tryimg to offer positive for the watcher of this Instead of being the guy who’s keeping it real.

    I don’t disagree with what you say but man you’re just coming across as that guy.
    You know the guy the one who is the know it all.

    I feel like it’s more constructive to see what we can do to change disney’s Mind then to keep saying what’s the point it’s their movie to do whatever the heck they want with.

    If no one tries eventually everyone will forget about the movie and then it really won’t exist anymore.

    What is Disney concerned about anyway.
    Are there really enough people against this movie that it would hurt the Disney bottom line financially?

    As long as Robert Iger is head of Disney SOTS will not be released to home video or streamed, he has said this many times. Why? He has never really given a complete answer. I’m a realist and will fight windmills when there is a possibility of winning.

  140. As far as I know, "Song of the South" has never been shown in its entirety on American television. Lengthy excerpts of the film have been shown though. These excerpts normally focused on the animated segments. Ironically (for this conversation at least), some of the programs that featured these excerpts have been released onto DVD (notably the Walt Disney Treasures series) with the SOTS material intact. Foreign television is a different matter. I think that the BBC played the film as late as the latter part of the previous decade.

    I'm not sure when the film exactly became verboten. Tony Baxter and the imagineers didn't have any issues gaining corporate approval to proceed on the "Splash Mountain" project in the mid-1980s. I imagine that had they presented their proposal a few years later in the early 1990s that they would have been turned down. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that today's Disney executives rue the day that "Splash Mountain" was given the go ahead as it does act as a billboard for a film that many of them would prefer to ignore.

    I've also heard that Maya Angelou did threaten to publicly protest when Disney approached her about consulting on a proposed 1990s reissue. Whether that is true or not I'm not sure. Similarly, I've heard that Sidney Poitier blocked a potential reissue during his time on the Disney board of directors. Again, I've never heard anything to substantiate that assertion. We all know what Iger thinks, and I tend to doubt that his eventual successors will think any differently. They're concerned about projecting a certain image of the company, and they're not about to let a nearly seventy-five year old film potentially compromise that image and for that matter the stock price. Do I like that situation? No. Would I prefer to see it change? Sure. Do I think it ever will? Probably not.

  141. David Norman

    Everybody needs to get her to get her Hollywood Power movers, African-American Community/Religious/Political leaders like Al Sharpton, Coretta Scott King, NAACP, a few members of the Congressional Black Caucus, Spike Lee, Denzel Washington, and Floyd Norman to lead the charge to get it released.

    I have some bad news to tell you about Mrs. King… Maybe you should sit down.

    Arthur Powell

    I'm not sure when the film exactly became verboten. Tony Baxter and the imagineers didn't have any issues gaining corporate approval to proceed on the "Splash Mountain" project in the mid-1980s.

    I seem to remember reading that the 1986 re-release was authorized by Eisner in order to test the waters about whether or not creating a ride featuring the characters would be a good idea. It was a *very* brief release, but did excellent business (I saw it), so Splash Mountain was given the go-ahead. With that said, we live in a very different era where Internet Outrage™ easily makes the news, so If I were Bob Iger, I wouldn't even mention the name of the film in public. Just because outrage is over-the-top and irrational, doesn't mean it doesn't spread quickly and loudly. For a company that lives and dies by its next Quarterly Earnings Report, controversy isn't worth the risk for the sake of releasing a film that most people alive today have likely never even heard of, even if they are Disney Vacation Club members. They aren't out to support film history or Art. They are out to sell overpriced Dooney & Bourke purses, $8 Tinkerbell cupcakes, and Marvel merch. One shouldn't confuse Walt's company with the current behemoth that bears his name. The two are as different as can be.

  142. I seem to remember reading that the 1986 re-release was authorized by Eisner in order to test the waters about whether or not creating a ride featuring the characters would be a good idea. It was a *very* brief release, but did excellent business (I saw it), so Splash Mountain was given the go-ahead. With that said, we live in a very different era where Internet Outrage™ easily makes the news, so If I were Bob Iger, I wouldn't even mention the name of the film in public. Just because outrage is over-the-top and irrational, doesn't mean it doesn't spread quickly and loudly. For a company that lives and dies by its next Quarterly Earnings Report, controversy isn't worth the risk for the sake of releasing a film that most people alive today have likely never even heard of, even if they are Disney Vacation Club members. They aren't out to support film history or Art. They are out to sell overpriced Dooney & Bourke purses, $8 Tinkerbell cupcakes, and Marvel merch. One shouldn't confuse Walt's company with the current behemoth that bears his name. The two are as different as can be

    How long do you think it would take the general public to boycott the ride and parks as well if they knew were those characters came from? That would kill the company out right.

  143. darkrock17

    How long do you think it would take the general public to boycott the ride and parks as well if they knew were those characters came from? That would kill the company out right.

    I don't know that it would kill the company. They have their fingers in too many pies at this point. It would likely spell the end of Splash Mountain, though, which would be a shame. It's a spectacular attraction, even if it was in bad need of a good rehab when I rode it last November. Br'er Rabbit wasn't quite hopping around like he should, among other things.

  144. What's the story behind Disney finding it OK to release this on home video in Japan and Europe, but not in the US? Having the Japanese laserdisc I don't really consider this a 'rare' movie as there are others that had no media release at all, but it's still a bit annoying how it's been treated.

    With the prospect of internet streaming replacing physical media however, I just have to point out yet another disadvantage of that- it's far easier to keep internet access restricted to certain parts of the world. The worst you have to deal with in media is region coding, but there are plenty of ways around that. Getting around internet material that is blocked in your area is a bit more difficult- so it's possible this could get released later through some digital means in other parts of the world, but not in the US.

  145. Jesse Skeen

    What's the story behind Disney finding it OK to release this on home video in Japan and Europe, but not in the US?

    I asked this question once before, but nobody answered.

    It just strikes me that if something is deemed racist and unfit for release in the U.S., why is that not then appropriate everywhere else?

  146. Those releases were in the early 90’s. A few years after the last US theatrical release. There were different heads of the company then. Right now the major person is Bob Iger Who has this locked in the vault. Perhaps when he retires in a few years, different thoughts will prevail.

  147. MartinP.

    I asked this question once before, but nobody answered.

    It just strikes me that if something is deemed racist and unfit for release in the U.S., why is that not then appropriate everywhere else?

    There’s a lot of stuff that gets looked the other way on in other parts of the world.

  148. MartinP.

    I asked this question once before, but nobody answered.

    It just strikes me that if something is deemed racist and unfit for release in the U.S., why is that not then appropriate everywhere else?

    Yes it's the same basic, but the internal effect is quite different.

    Watching some Japanese movie about the 30/40/50's might be felt quite a bit different viewed in the US than in Korea or China even if it was reasonably innocuous from our view. A South African film from the 60;s would be felt a bit differently in Japan than if viewed in S Africa or Zimbabwe – even those that may have been fairly accurate in the portrayal of the way it was. I can think of a couple German pre War films that would be relatively tame or only mildly offensive to a US viewer, but viewed in much of Europe might cause quite an issue

    .

  149. Everyone is appearing to act as if this was released in Japan and Europe only a couple of years ago. It was over 20 years ago when these were released. There were different heads running things and different thoughts. Just as there was for the 1986 theatrical release.

  150. Perceptions can vary in different countries.

    I’m British and I know a lot of people here were, like me, surprised to learn that Mammy Two Shoes from Tom and Jerry was controversial in America. She was a stereotypical housekeeper, we learnt. This was a surprise to us as we just presumed that she was the owner of both the house and Tom.

    To be fair to us, her status isn’t made explicit, so it was a reasonable assumption. We never really had black servants over here, so it just didn’t register.

    Similarly Song of the South or Gone With the Wind. What sound like racist accents and speech rhythms to modern American ears just sounds like Deep South American accents to us.

  151. ahollis

    Those releases were in the early 90’s. A few years after the last US theatrical release. There were different heads of the company then. Right now the major person is Bob Iger Who has this locked in the vault. Perhaps when he retires in a few years, different thoughts will prevail.

    Germany got this film, but they've never gotten Bedknobs and Broomsticks anything close to uncut for obvious reasons.

  152. That's what I've heard over the years. Fox tried cutting them out of The Sound of Music but eventually put them back, except their it bombed because they have their own homegrown Von Trapp films…two of them in fact. But I digress, as Sophia might say.

    Mere intellectual consistency alone is enough reason to hold the entire Disney library to the same standard to which they hold Song of the South but no other film. One wonders whether post-Lasseter Disney will be more or less censorious. For instance, would they actually pull the last 30 years of Pooh movies and TV shows if the horrible accusations recently made against legendary voice artist Jim Cummings by his ex-wife were proven true? That would also affect any modern-day Mickey Mouse cartoon with Pete, Darkwing Duck, The Lion King, and a whole bunch of others.

  153. MatthewA

    That's what I've heard over the years. Fox tried cutting them out of The Sound of Music but eventually put them back, except their it bombed because they have their own homegrown Von Trapp films…two of them in fact. But I digress, as Sophia might say.

    Mere intellectual consistency alone is enough reason to hold the entire Disney library to the same standard to which they hold Song of the South but no other film. One wonders whether post-Lasseter Disney will be more or less censorious. For instance, would they actually pull the last 30 years of Pooh movies and TV shows if the horrible accusations recently made against legendary voice artist Jim Cummings by his ex-wife were proven true? That would also affect any modern-day Mickey Mouse cartoon with Pete, Darkwing Duck, The Lion King, and a whole bunch of others.

    I never knew there was any other Von Trapp films besides the 1965 classic.

    When I saw that article a few days I wondered the same, they wouldn't likely pull Pooh, just hire someone new to re dub everything that he did since he took over for Sterling Holloway.

  154. darkrock17

    I never knew there was any other Von Trapp films besides the 1965 classic.

    Yes, the German film Die Trapp-Familie was a huge hit in its day and it was when Mary Martin saw it that she got the idea to ask Rodgers and Hammerstein to musicalize it for Broadway.

  155. JohnMor

    Yes, the German film Die Trapp-Familie was a huge hit in its day and it was when Mary Martin saw it that she got the idea to ask Rodgers and Hammerstein to musicalize it for Broadway.

    [​IMG]

  156. Adam Lenhardt

    Only 23 more years until it enters the public domain! I wonder if there will still be prints floating around at that point?

    Song of the South is definitely racist, but it's casual Gone With the Wind-style racism, not aggressively virulent Birth of a Nation-style racism.

    It's also an warm, good-natured film that deserves to be seen. It seems like the cultural discussion would be much better served by releasing the film prefaced by a 5-10 minute featurette with historians providing context to explain what why the movie is problematic and the background and cultural context of those problematic elements, than pretending the movie next existed.

    Not a racist movie, just a product of its time. Times change. Attitudes too. Walt did not set out to make a racist movie, nor did he succeed in making one.

  157. Nick*Z

    Not a racist movie, just a product of its time. Times change. Attitudes too. Walt did not set out to make a racist movie, nor did he succeed in making one.

    Matter of opinion. If I had my way, I would release it under certain conditions as I prefer all films be released to the general public as a matter of principle. However, as a black man, I can understand why some people would have a major problem with this film. Anyhow, that's all I got to say as Disney is going to do what Disney wants to do with this title.

  158. Robert Crawford

    It's a matter of opinion. If I had my way, I would release it under certain conditions as I prefer all films be released to the general public as a matter of principle and film education regarding prior film eras. However, as a black man, I can understand why some people like one of my sisters would have a major problem with this film. Anyhow, that's all I got to say as Disney is going to do, what Disney wants to do with this title.

    Dear Robert:

    Could not agree with you more! Personally, as a white man, I am more insulted by Quentin Tarantino's 100+ usage of the 'N' word in Django Unchained, and, its continued use by black actors in other movies before and since, who continue to bandy it about with casual refrain, some like Eddie Murphy in The Nutty Professor, in total jest – as though there were no loaded connotation to its use and/or context. But if we go down that slope then there are far too many movies that would instantly vanish from view, due to 'racially insensitive' dialogue and/or situations.

    Context is everything, isn't it, Robert? Ban All in the Family, then you better ban The Jeffersons too because each handled racism in their own unique way. And, like you, I don't believe in censorship of 'art' – particularly, as when compared to more recent stuff, Song of the South's depiction of slavery appears 'quaint' and/or antiquated by comparison.

    And, you are right on a third point – Disney will do as Disney does, and much to the dismay of its fans, and detriment to its own cultural heritage for which, frankly, it has absolutely nothing to be ashamed. Digitally scrubbing out depictions of cigarettes in its movies, simply because smoking is bad for your health?!?! Oh please! Let's not forget that for much of the 20th century, lighting up a stick of tobacco was considered a right of passage virtually every red-blooded American male had tried at least once by the age of sixteen! Best – NZ

  159. Nick*Z

    And, like you, I don't believe in censorship of 'art' – particularly, as when compared to more recent stuff, Song of the South's depiction of slavery appears 'quaint' and/or antiquated by comparison.

    Again, just to set the record straight, SOTS does not depict "slavery." It is set *after* the Civil War, and the African-American farmers are sharecroppers. That doesn't mean there aren't stereotypes to be seen in the film, but the time period is not the same as GWTW.

  160. Nick*Z

    Digitally scrubbing out depictions of cigarettes in its movies, simply because smoking is bad for your health?!?! Oh please! Let's not forget that for much of the 20th century, lighting up a stick of tobacco was considered a right of passage virtually every red-blooded American male had tried at least once by the age of sixteen!

    ThIngs like that can also be instructive to see people's attitudes and mores from another time period, or they can provide downright hilarity to a modern sensibility.

    I saw a 1931 film titled Working Girls last night (in a theatre) and there's a scene with a naive girl and her boss having dinner together and he offers her a cigarette. She's hesitant, asking, "I don't know if I should, is it bad for you?" He reacts surprised, "Well, no. I don't think it is." Huge laughter from the audience.

  161. Robert Crawford

    It's a matter of opinion. If I had my way, I would release it under certain conditions as I prefer all films be released to the general public as a matter of principle and film education regarding prior film eras. However, as a black man, I can understand why some people like one of my sisters would have a major problem with this film. Anyhow, that's all I got to say as Disney is going to do, what Disney wants to do with this title.

    I agree with you. People are going to have different perceptions of things, especially artistic or creative endeavors, based on their own personal history. I've never seen "Song of the South" , and think it probably should be available as long as it's presented within a certain context. (And also as a Black man, that is where we are again in agreement). But I'm not going to say that people shouldn't be offended by something either, again which may be based on the personal experiences that they've had. I'll never forget a screening of "Birth of a Nation" at a film class in college, when at the end I noticed a Black female student in tears at what she just saw. It's understandable that she was unable to view such imagery "objectively" , and just as "art"

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