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Song of the South 1946

The kindhearted storyteller Uncle Remus tells a young boy stories about trickster Br'er Rabbit, who outwits Br'er Fox and slow-witted Br'er Bear...

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you after see this film i under stand way it is one most raciest movie of all time and way it was band in USA

Song of the South (1946) **** (of *****)

Well, I saw Song of the South and...what's wrong with it? I thought it was a wonderful movie, and it's a damn shame that Disney have to be so PC.

SONG OF THE SOUTH
(HARVE FOSTER AND WILFRED JACKSON, 1946)
G
1 HOUR 34 MINUTES
Song of the south is such a good disney movie! It is not offending or racist although some people see it that way. A good mixture of animation and live action, a true classic! I give it a 9 outta 10!
Well, I see I have surpassed 1000 views. Yea! And only in about a month. Thank you, everyone! :D

So ... how do I celebrate such an accomplishment? Simple, write a review on the most controversial Disney picture ever made!

No, really.

Once upon a time (couldn't resist)...

**************SOAPBOX TIME**********************
(for those who wish to skip, may do so at this time)
There was a man who made a movie called "Song of the South" which took place shortly after the American Civil War. It was a movie that mixed live action with animation (LONG before "Roger Rabbit") and was a musical. The movie was released many times into theatres (most recently, 1986). Sometime between the man dying and the "Suits" who took over for him, it was decided not to show it anymore. Why?

"Racial insensitivity", they said.

The truth was though that they weren't so much afraid that African-Americans would be offended as they were afraid that they would be boycotted. Y'see, the only color they worried about was GREEN.

"But isn't it racially insensitive, Unca Chaoz?"

Perhaps. But then again so is "Birth of a Nation", "Gone with the Wind", "Triumph of the Will", and "Romper Stomper" - all available in the US. "Song of the South"? Forget it.

Try again, "Dizzney"

******************END SOAPBOX*********************

Anybody wonder where "Zipa-dee Doo-dah" or Brer Rabbit comes from either in other videos or from the Disney Parks - now you'll know. In a rare move, I will give you all a detailed synopsis of what happens (my copy? Oh - "a friend of a friend" you might say).

....

The intro starts with the credits written in a book (long title: "Song of the South: With Uncle Remus and his tales of Brer Rabbit"). From there we get this written intro:

"Out of the humble cabin,
out of the singing heart of the Old South
have come the tales of Uncle Remus,
rich in simple truths,
forever fresh and new."

Uncle Remus (James Baskett) is then heard off-camera saying how people "who can't learn from tale about critters just ain't got their ears tuned for listenin'"

We are then shown a "dream time" (to borrow a phrase) where the Civil War is over but plantations still exist. Johnny (Bobby Driscoll) and his parents are going to see Grandma at the plantation she has. Also, "Aunt Tempy" (Hattie McDaniel) is along with them. His Dad (Erik Rolf) relates a story the Uncle Remus told him when he was a child. Johnny then asks Aunt Tempy if Uncle Remus is real. Tempy replies of course and says wait to til he hears his tales.

Finally, we meet Grandma (Lucile Watson) and she tells the young Black lad Toby (Glenn Leedy) to give Johnny a tour of the plantation and keep him out of trouble. Away from Toby and Johnny, the parents seem troubled in whether or not to leave Johnny there at the plantation alone or if Mom (Ruth Warrick) will stay as well.

The first place Toby takes Johnny is the grandfather clock. Toby tells him "when the big hand reaches 12 - watch out". Grandma obliges and moves the hand to 12 and pats both Toby and Johnny on their chins as the clocks chimes like a miniature Big Ben.

Johnny overhears the conversation between Mom and Dad. Dad decides to back to Atlanta while Mom and Johnny stay at Grandma's. It's hard for everyone involved - Mom, Dad, & Johnny.

Later that night, Johnny decides to run away; but doesn't get far - he stumbles into Uncle Remus (an elderly Black man) telling stories to some children (including Toby). Shy, he hides behind a tree, but Uncle Remus knows he's there. Soon Aunt Tempy and another come to look for Johnny and ask Uncle Remus. Remus tells Tempy to tell Miss Sally (aka Mom) that Johnny was with him. Grudgingly, accept that (even Johnny's not visible) and walk off with Toby. Remus soon goes looking for Johnny, ultimately finding him sitting on a log crying.

Remus is kindly and sympathetic. He tells Johnny that he seems to be going someplace. Remus convinces the boy that he'll go with him cuz he feels he needs to go someplace as well. As they set for the road, he ask Johnny if he brought food. Johnny winces. Remus says that they should go to his cabin to pick up some provisions.

Once at the cabin, Uncle Remus says it's pretty late to start on a trip. Johnny is adamant and says he "never coming back". Remus starts laughing. Surprised, Johnny asks if Remus is laughing at him. Remus says no, but those "were the exact words Brer Rabbit said when he left his briar patch." Intrigued, Johnny wants to hear the story about Brer Rabbit. Remus plays coy but relents and 'reluctantly' tells his tale.

He starts by saying that this was back when eveyrthing "mighty satisfaction. The critters, dey was closer to the folks and the folks, dey was closer to the critters." It happened on one of them "zipa-dee-doo-dah days .... when you can't open your mouth without a song jumping right out." Thus begins the musical and animated portions.

We get a nice rendition of "Zipa-Dee-Doo-Dah" from James Basket as he interacts with various (animated) critters. As he completes his song, he runs into Brer Rabbit who's boarding up his entrance to his briar patch home. Brer Rabbit (Johnny Lee) decides leave his troubles only to find new ones on his way trip.

First he gets caught in a loop trap set by his nemesis, Brer Fox (who's not as smart as he thinks he is). Fox prepares to finish Rabbit off once and for all; but Rabbit tends to do some thinking. That's when he spots Brer Bear (a rather slow-witted creature); Rabbit convinces Bear that he's making "a dollar a minute" scaring away crows from a nearby field. Fox meanwhile is racing towards Brer Rabbit (axe in hand). Next shot we see, Bear sits rather awkwardly in Rabbit's place (I laughed) thanking him for the "opportunity". Needless to say, Fox is not pleased and only antagonizes Bear. Fox convinces Bear that Rabbit has made fools of them both, but they only managed to beat each other up. Rabbit finally races back to his brair patch. End story.

Johnny loved the story and wants to find the briar patch. Uncle Remus is willing to oblige but they're going away, aren't they? Johnny "convinces" Uncle Remus that they should stay instead. Toby comes in to tell Uncle Remus he can't find Johnny only to find him in Remus' cabin. Together, the three walk toward the plantation house. Mom is obviously worried and Remus tells her that he was telling Johnny a story "and just plum forgot the time." Johnny realizes that Remus has lied for him. Mom is sad but forgiving, Toby then mentions that Johnny almost forgot "his bundle" (the things he packed to run away).

After Mom and Johnny go back inside, Uncle Remus tells Grandma that what that boy needs is his Dad. Grandma agrees but stops Remus from giving additional advice ("When I need it, I'll ask you."). Remus asks her if she is mad at him she replies; "you meddling old rascal, of course I'm not mad at you."

The next morning, Toby comes with water so Johnny can wash his face as well as a gift - a frog. Johnny's mom walks in though and they try to hide the frog; ultimately hiding it under a hat Toby is now wearing and then runs off. Mom picks out his clothes (rather foo-foo little number his other grandmother made) - he'd been planning on hunting for bullfrogs. He later meets Toby outside who mentions that the frog looks sad. So Johnny decides releasing the frog ain't frog hunting and goes with Toby to the pond.

As they make their way on their "horses" (stick variety); Johnny nearly cuts across a literal bullpen (complete with bull) but Toby stops him. They then come across the shack of the Faver boys and their sister Ginny. The boys are basically ruffians and rascals (insulting both Toby and Johnny); but Ginny seems much softer (defending a puppy who is the runt of the litter).

Johnny runs off to the mill pond and mopes until Ginny comes by (still holding the little puppy). Johnny asks to hold the puppy and Ginny does one better by offering to him to Johnny as long as Johnny "is nice to him". Johnny obviously enjoys the gift and returns the favor by giving Ginny the lace collar which he was wearing (and hated immensely). They hit it off straightaway.

Unfortunately, Mom doesn't like the puppy and forces Johnny to return it. Afraid the Faver boys will drown the puppy, he goes to Uncle Remus. Remus seems reluctant to hold the dog for Johnny but relents (Remus seems to view the puppy as a pal for both him and Johnny).

Next we get a scene of the workers (not slaves) of the plantation singing as they go to work. Meanwhile, the Faver boys have come to Uncle Remus for the puppy but with the aid of Johnny and Toby rebuke them. Uncle Remus then tells the rascals that if they keep making a fuss "I'll tell Miss Sally." The boys back off. Ginny is seen hiding in the bushes and she tells Johnny that he only needs to tell her mom and "she'll wail the daylights outta them!"

Remus tells Johnny that he has done stuck his foot into trouble much like Brer Rabbit did. He relates a new story (and animated & musical sequence) dealing with Brer Rabbit and his apparent overconfidence in handling trouble. Of course, Brer Fox is about to teach him a lesson (with the 'aid' of Brer Bear). This involves making a person out of tar, a coat, buttons, hair and a hat. Yes, this is the "tarbaby" sequence.

Rabbit meets "Tarbaby" and says hello, but wonders why it won't respond. He decides he's going to teach the Tarbaby some manners. After counting to three he punches the tarbaby only to get his fist stuck in it. The more he struggles the more stuck he gets to finally he's trapped himself. Bear and Fox come up to the trapped Rabbit and enjoy his obvious predicament. Both Toby and Johnny ask Remus how he got out. Well, Remus reminds him that he doesn't always get out unless he uses his head. So they ask how he used his head. Remus then continues his tale.

Fox prepares to cook Rabbit - tar and all. Brer Bear, however wants to punish him and "knock his head clean off". Fox, decides to make him suffer instead. Rabbit, surprising agrees, he just doesn't want to be thrown into the briar patch. Fox suggests hanging, which Rabbit agrees to just don't throw him in the briar patch. Fox then mentions skinning, Rabbit (now flustered) agrees to that as well - just don't throw him in the briar patch. Fox suddenly comes up with an idea ... throw him in the briar patch. Which he does. After hearing Rabbit's "death throes", Fox realizes his mistake. End of story. Johnny and Toby leave wiser.

Soon, the Faver boys meet up with the duo and threaten to tell Aunt Tempy and Johnny's mom about keeping the pup at Uncle Remus'. Johnny says that's fine just don't tell their own mom. He's says if they do, it'll be awful. Which it was - for the Faver boys.

Move to Aunt Tempy baking pies and singing a nice song (Hollywood style). Uncle Remus comes by (dusting himself off). Unfortunately, that interlude is interrupted by the pesky Faver boys - determined to get the runt back. The want to see "Miss Sally" about getting their dog back. They even tell her about how Johnny duped them earlier. Sally confronts Uncle Remus; she feels that his stories are getting in her way with his upbringing. She tells him to stop telling Johnny stories.

Johnny (as he tries to sneak a bone to his puppy) is reminded by his mom that his birthday is next week. He says he wants to invite Ginny; Mom (not pleased) tries to deflect the question but his Grandma interrupts saying it's fine. Johnny then wonders if Daddy is coming - Mom will write and ask him.

He goes to Uncle Remus' place with his gift to his puppy ("Teensy") only to find out that the pup is back at the Favers'. Remus is upset at telling him the truth; but tells him "his ma knows what's best for him". He then stuns the boy by saying he's not going to tell any stories to him anymore.

Fast forward to next week - the boy's party. But the guest of honor has run to the Favers' to escort Ginny. Of course, the boys decide they have plans of their own - including throwing Ginny into the mud. Johnny snaps and takes on the smaller Faver. The bigger child is about to take a swing at Johnny with a piece of wood, but is interrupted by Uncle Remus. Johnny runs after Ginny and tries to cheer Ginny up with a Brer Rabbit story - but doesn't do very well. Soon Uncle Remus joins them and starts laughing. He suddenly breaks out into another story.

This time, Brer Rabbit is really stuck - tied to a pole ready to be roasted in Brer Fox's cave. Confusingly, Rabbit starts laughing. Fox then reiterates that he's going to roast Rabbit. Rabbit replies that he was just in his "laughing place" - a secret place. Fox will have none of that (he knows a trick now) - Bear though wants to know where this place is at. Rabbit says how can he show him if he's tied up? Despite Fox's attempts; Bear wins the argument - leading Rabbit with a noose leash. Rabbit leads them to some bushes where a beehive lays hidden - telling them that's the "laughing place". Bear rushes him to only find bees. Fox laughs it up (knowing full well it was just another trick) - unfortunately, for him that only infuriates Brer Bear; who promptly stick Fox's head into the nest. In the end, both Fox and Bear run away from all the bees while Rabbit proclaims it was definitely HIS laughing place.

The children decide to look for the laughing place and run into Johnny's mom. The party is over and she is none too happy. Ginny explains that Remus told them a story. Miss Sally is now really ticked - she now wants him to stay away from Johnny.

Cut now to Uncle Remus - who has decided to leave. He feels that he just an old man who tells stories - what else does he have to offer? Toby comes into Remus' home just in time to see him leave - he decides to go to Atlanta. Meanwhile, Johnny and Ginny have struck up a close friendship but she runs home when she discovers her father has come home. Johnny, now alone, reluctant to go home, runs to Uncle Remus' realizing that his laughing place was at Remus' home. His mom comes to the home as well only to see Remus getting on a wagon and traveling away. Johnny - trying to catch up with Uncle Remus; cuts thru the bull's pen. Obviously, since the little tyke is wearing red - well, you can guess the rest.

One goring later - Johnny is in bed while the small crowd of Black people sing spirituals at the steps of the plantation home. Toby is there - silent. Dad comes home (finally). Uncle Remus follows. Despite his father being in the room, a feverish Johnny can only call out for one person: Uncle Remus. Grandma takes matters into her own hands and calls for Uncle Remus. Remus begins to tell his stories. Johnny grabs Uncle Remus' hand and awakens. He then realizes his dad is there as well. Finally, his dad decides to stay at home and everything is now "mighty satisfaction".

Soon (as a coda), we see the trio (Johnny, Toby, and Ginny) sing down the path "Zipa-Dee-Doo-Dah" as Uncle Remus gathers wood. Suddenly, a familiar voice startles Remus - a rather 'real' Brer Rabbit talking to the children; soon accomanpanied with other animated characters from Remus' stories. Soon all of them (Rabbit, Remus and the trio) walk into the (animated) sunset.

END MOVIE

**********ANALYSIS**********

Oh, boy - this isn't easy. And I'm positive someone will hate this (why do I do this to myself?)...

Slavery nor the Civil War is never mentioned in any context. At the same time, we never see anyone actually paid. It's fair to say that this plantation has now been partitioned for sharecroppers though it's never actually mentioned either. Suffice to that perhaps if this were made more clear; that this film wouldn't have the problems it has now.

That said - it is one heck of a good film.

James Baskett is the main actor and the linchpin in this film. Even though Bobby Driscoll's Johnny is the lead character; Baskett moves the plot efficiently and tells the stories with flair and zeal. Even in his more serious moments, he is able to evoke emotion and sympathy. Ruth Warrick as Mom is in a role that reminds me of Maureen O'Hara in "Miracle on 34th Street" - which wouldn't actually be made til a year later. Hattie McDaniel does get too much screen time; but is her usual unflappable self. The others are good as well in their roles (including those pesky Faver boys).

Admittedly, the overlying story (regarding the separation of Johnny's parents) is thin at best. But then again, it merely is the fuel for Remus' engine. Even on my copy of a copy of copy of a bootleg; the sound is more than satisfactory and even colors lend a hint of what this film could look like after remastering. All's the more shame.

So that leaves us with the original question: Is it racially insensitive? Honestly, I don't know. I'm Hispanic - but I don't find Speedy Gonzales offensive. But then again, my ethnic history doesn't include slavery. Do I think some people would find it offensive? Well, yes - but Speedy's offensive to some people as well.

Okay - drumroll please....

Fun Rating: 8 - Points knocked of for 2 main problems: 1) the ambiguity of the time period; 2) the less than stellar quality of the current flick. I realize that this film is available in PAL format from the UK (and even then only VHS). I go by what I have; not what could be. Overall, the most cheerful politically incorrect film never seen.

Interest Rating: 10 - "Library" material for Disney completists, fans of musicals and "banned" films and film historians. All others should view this film at least once - this film will be offensive to some; but it seems most offensive to Disney (see lower left hand column - near the bottom) and their pocketbook.

TOTAL RATING: 9

Personal note/bias: I remember watching this film in the mid 70's at a drive-in. I enjoyed the film then - this was the first time I watched since that day and still found it enjoyable. As a child then I never regarded any of the Black characters as "slaves" or "lesser people" than the whites (maybe cuz I'm brown). Perhaps, we put too much damn adult "sensibility" into a child's mind. Just my opinion.

:::: Longest review for me - in length and time (8 hours, 13 minutes). Sheesh, what am I going to review at 2000? "Deep Throat"??:o ::::
Full review to come.
Here's another film rating.
Song of the South (2nd viewing)
Directed by: Harve Foster & Wilfred Jackson


I saw this movie at a movie night (along with Little Miss Sunshine) because the host, who's really into track and is interested in gymnastics as well, once roomed with one of the extras. (If you look on the back of the DVD box, you'll see the leg and the butt of a black girl. That's my friends former roommate)

The user quote on IMDB for this movie is "Hey, it wasn't that bad actually..."

Well, they are right and they are wrong. Actually, it IS that bad...but it knows it. It relishes it's badness. It's predictable, but it's predictable in such a way where you chose which clishe is coming next. It's actually kind of a game that the movie clearly knows what it's doing. It also has a bunch of spectacularly bad jokes, again, that are clearly self-aware, and performances that are again quite bad, but quite intentional. The exception is Jeff Bridges, who has a field day as the ethically questionable and seemingly greedy, but dedicated coach.

Basically, this movie takes the clishes of the genre, pushes them to the max, all while winking and nodding. If you can appreciate that, it's a lot of fun.

Basically, it's one of the "So bad, it's good" type of films (actually, there are several types of "So bad, it's good" films, but that's a whole new post) So take that for what it's worth.

6.0
:fresh: :fresh: :fresh: (out of four)

It's strange that Disney has been so hesitant to release Song of the South on DVD. I know they fear that it will somehow promote unhealthy African American stereotypes, but the film is definitely not racist, though it does offer conflicting quality of live-action and animation.

Young Johnny, played by Disney's favorite boy Bobby Driscoll, arrives with his mother at the family Plantation. There he becomes instant friends with a slave child and loves listening to the stories of Uncle Remus.

I think Disney becomes nervous because it shows slaves that aren't discontent in their situation. They appear relatively content. In real antebellum south, of course, this wasn't the case. As a story, though, these live action moments can seem like time-fillers while we await the spectacular animated moments, featuring three of the most memorable characters from the Disney line-up: Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox, and Brer Bear. Of the live action moments, Uncle Remus, himself is a great and loveable character, highlighted with his song "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah"

I debated over giving this film a slightly less review, but I love the animation stories so much that it makes the film worthwhile.
I think you're going to be asking me where did I see this movie. On Youtube of course. James Baskett gives a memorable performance here. My favorite animated character here is Brer Bear. He's very funny with his silly personality.
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