11.26.2008

Brer bootleg

Recently I watched a bootleg of Disney's forever lost feature film Song of the South, thanks to my pals Chris and Shawn who dug it up for me! I think everyone my age remembers seeing this movie as a child, and of course we didn't think anything of the racial stereotypes (and I even had an Uncle Remus storybook that I read over and over), but I can see why Disney's too scared to re-release it, even though the animation fan community would love it. It's a weird situation, since there's a whole generation of Disney fans who know all of this stuff but have no clue where it came from! Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah is practically Disney's company theme song (next to When You Wish Upon a Star, of course), and Splash Mountain is one of the most popular rides at the parks, which is filled with Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox, Brer Bear, as well as lots of other lesser-known music from Song of the South. Maybe they should just make a DVD movie called Splash Mountain with the songs and characters to give them new source material. Anyway, it was fun to see Song of the South again, and I really enjoyed the groundbreaking work in live-action/animation integration (both with live actors in an animated world and animated characters in a live-action world). Little details like Uncle Remus lighting Brer Frog's pipe were really well done, and I also found a new appreciation for some obscure songs like Sooner or Later, which has a nice bluesy feel. Maybe someday Disney will have the guts to put this on DVD, but for now, I'm glad I had the chance to see it this way!

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