24 February 2005
Jim Hill (no relation) says that the Mouse House has actually had a change of heart and will release a DVD edition of Song of the South next year.
The cynic in me, of course, notes that 2006 will be the film's 60th anniversary, a perfect opportunity for marketing, and it's a cinch that Disney, were this happening, would see fit to surround the film with enough carefully-selected "extras" to banish, or at least mask, the alleged stench of racism. People who thought Huck Finn was racist because he used the N word will of course not be mollified, but they're still doing a slow burn about Stepin Fetchit, fercryingoutloud, and their complaints will be given the disdain they deserve. It will be good to have this film back in circulation.
(Via Reflections in d minor.)
Posted at 9:02 AM to Almost Yogurt
Yay! I loved that movie when I was a kid. Uncle Remus always reminded me of my dad.
I enjoy the film as well, and I'll be looking forward to seeing the animated portions; B'rer Bear and B'rer Rabbit were always among my favorite Disney characters. But I think it's praising with faint damnation to let the movie off the hook with the "alleged stench" remark; it's at least guilty -- to the degree that that's the proper word -- of a very of-its-time attitude towards the experiences of post-Civil-War, pre-Civil-Rights blacks. And I think there's a real and significant difference between the Huck Finn naysayers and the people who see some legitimate racial condescension in Song of the South.
How horrible, that a film might reflect the attitudes of its time.
I can't get too worked up over this, though, any more than I can call for the banning of Birth of a Nation, which we can safely describe as, um, Klan-friendly. Then again, I'm condescending by nature, at least according to some. :)
Hey, I'm not calling for banning anything. If nothing else, these movies provide an educational insight into the racial attitudes of the time. (Let's face it, Uncle Walt was not terribly progressive on these matters.) I can easily imagine how a black man or woman in 1946 would have felt more than a little uncomfortable with Song of the South's depiction of former slaves and their relationships with other blacks and with whites. I'm not saying it's right or wrong, or for us to condemn from our post-1964 hindsight. It just is what it is.
I'll give you credit for having more empathy than I do. (Which doesn't take much, so don't be overly impressed by it.)
I still wonder, though, if that part of me that originated in Mexico should be upset by Speedy Gonzales.