"It happened on one of those zip-a-dee-doo-dah days."
Ghost here! Thanks for joining me today for yet another
Alright... let's do this. It's been awhile since I've touched Disney.
If there's one thing that drives me absolutely bananas in life, it's finding something that interests me and learning that I can't see/obtain/witness it or at least not easily. This is especially true when it comes to movies, television shows, and video games. Fire Emblem the Binding Blade and Mother 3 are both Japanese only games that I would love to play. It took me years to be able to find Extreme Ghostbusters and it drove me loopy. When I found out the Star Wars Holiday Special was such a holy grail of terribleness I just had to try to find it. The same is true with today's film, Song of the South.
So is this film the racial atomic bomb that so many people claimed it is? Is it even any good? Let's take a look and find out.
What's Good About It?
What's Bad About It?
This one is a bit of a nitpick but I would have liked for there to be a simple title card showing the date at the beginning of the film. Why is this important? Well I, as well as many others throughout the years, was under the impression that this happened during the time of slavery. In fact, this takes place after the Civil War when slavery was abolished and it was during the time of sharecroppers. None of this is explicitly explained and just a simple date card or sentence would have caused a fair amount of controversy to go away.
Is It Really Racist?
Before I dig myself into a hole that cannot be gotten out of, let's get a few things straight. For those of you who do not know me, I am a white male. When it comes to race and whether or not something is racist, a white male's opinion will never be just an opinion to many people. It will always be considered a "white opinion." I personally agree with the notion that a person's opinion is constricted by their race but that's the way life is sometimes and to some people. I would not have the same viewpoint as a person of another race or color because of the intricacies of life and the struggles/privileges that too often get associated with that. However, being of a certain race shouldn't make you explicitly blind to an opinion on whether something is racist or not. When it comes to Song of the South, I personally do not believe that it is racist and I shall explain to you why.
One critic at the time went so far as to say he was "thoroughly disgusted" by the film for being "as vicious apiece of propaganda for white supremacy as Hollywood ever produced." REALLY?? This is just getting moronic. Point to me exactly where any white person was seen as being superior to any black person in this film. That critic (though probably deceased by now) wouldn't be able to do that because it simply does not exist. In fact, the only people seen with a negative spin were ALL white. It's a shame that so many people reacted so poorly to a film that didn't deserve it. It is because of these idiots that we still don't have a US release. You would think after almost sixty years something would have been done or some ideology about the film would have changed, but in 2010 the Disney CEO Robert Iger stated there were no plans to release the film and called it "antiquated" and "fairly offensive." OFFENSIVE HOW??? I just.. I don't get it. Maybe, again, I don't get it because my opinion will always be a "white" opinion. To me, in order for something to be racist though, it has to do something in particular.
Should you give this film a watch if you can find it? Sure. As long as you are prepared for what this movie is actually about you'll find some great things inside, namely the animation segments and James Baskett. As previously stated, the first time I watched this, I found it fairly dull because it was not what I was expecting, however a second viewing (for the purposes of this review) made me enjoy it far more because I knew what I was getting into and could more easily find the good than wait for more animation. It's not a breathtaking film and in many ways is antiquated like the CEO of Disney stated but it's in interesting part of Disney and film history. I really wish that Disney would release this out to the United States. Perhaps they could start it off with a little piece by someone such as Morgan Freeman or another actor of color to have a sort of tiny talk about the effects of slavery, when this film was actually set during, and being thankful that we as a society have moved on.
I will leave you with the words of film critic Herman Hill about the film. He felt that Song of the South would "prove of inestimable goodwill in the further of interracial relations", and considered most criticisms of the film to be "unadulterated hogwash symptomatic of the unfortunate racial neurosis that seems to be gripping so many of our humorless brethren these days."
This is Ghost, fading into the darkness.
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