Saturday, February 27, 2016

Tonight's Movie: Make Mine Music (1946)

I was really delighted that the Disney Screen series followed up the showing of FUN AND FANCY FREE (1947) earlier this month with this week's screening of of MAKE MINE MUSIC (1946).

Can MELODY TIME (1948) be far behind? Let's hope!

Like FUN AND FANCY FREE and MELODY TIME, MAKE MINE MUSIC is one of Disney's "package" features of the '40s. While FUN AND FANCY FREE featured two main cartoons, bridged with scenes featuring Jiminy Cricket and Edgar Bergen, MAKE MINE MUSIC is simply a series of several musical cartoons with introductory title cards.

I thought MAKE MINE MUSIC was wonderful, combining marvelous music with exquisite artistry. Varied animation styles are presented in some of the cartoons, with the scoring including classical, jazz, and pop styles of the '40s. I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend it.

MAKE MINE MUSIC starts with another of Disney's gorgeous title sequences. The film then immediately starts the first cartoon, "Blue Bayou," described in a title card as "a Tone Poem." "Blue Bayou" was originally slated to appear in FANTASIA (1940), scored by Debussy, and happily was resurrected for this film with a new soundtrack, sung by the Ken Darby Singers. It's a lovely few minutes filled with shades of blue.

"Blue Bayou" was followed by another favorite sequence, "All the Cats Join In," with a Benny Goodman soundtrack. In this bouncy number about teenagers meeting to dance at the local soda shop, some of the character are "drawn" and take life before our eyes -- with one girl even glaring at the pencil until it reduces the size of her rear end, not really something I was expecting in a Disney cartoon.

Other favorite segments were "After You've Gone," again featuring Benny Goodman music, and "Without You," sung by Andy Russell. I don't know very much about Russell but he sounded rather like Vic Damone. The animation, looking out a rainy window, was some of my favorite in the movie.

Other sequences included Dinah Shore singing "Two Silhouettes," Jerry Colonna performing "Casey at the Bat," and the Andrews Sisters singing "Johnny Fedora and Alice Bluebonnet."

The longest segments were "Peter and the Wolf," a well-known Disney classic, and Nelson Eddy singing "The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met." These are good sequences, and I'm an Eddy fan, but overall it was the shorter pieces in MAKE MINE MUSIC which engaged me the most.

Though the film's actual running time is 75 minutes, I'm sorry to say that this was Disney's self-censored version omitting "The Martins and the Coys," sung by the King's Men. (A photo from that segment is shown here.) The running time of the print I saw today was thus 67 minutes.  "The Martins and the Coys" has been removed due to "comic gunplay." At the moment it can be seen here, but it could disappear at any time.

MAKE MINE MUSIC is available in a Gold Edition DVD which also omits "The Martins and the Coys." It also had a release on VHS. Fingers crossed that this beautiful Technicolor film will follow FUN AND FANCY FREE in getting a release on Blu-ray...and that it will be the complete, uncensored version.

Today's screening of MAKE MINE MUSIC was preceded by the cartoon MICKEY'S DELAYED DATE (1947), with Mickey voiced by Walt Disney himself. I'm a Pluto fan so I especially enjoyed this one, as Mickey's loyal pal saves the day when Mickey takes a long nap and is late for a date with Minnie. It's available on DVD in the Disney Treasures set Mickey Mouse in Living Color, Vol. 2.

Previous Disney Screen reviews: OLIVER & COMPANY (1988), EIGHT BELOW (2006), THE LOVE BUG (1968), THE ROCKETEER (1991), ROBIN HOOD (1973), POLLYANNA (1960), POCAHONTAS (1995), FUN AND FANCY FREE (1947), and THE MANY ADVENTURES OF WINNIE THE POOH (1977).


Blogger barrylane said...

I guess we are all a little more delicate now than we were in 1946. I find this level of censorship offensive.

8:44 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Yes, I'm not a fan of "rewriting" things which make some people uncomfortable now, messing with the historical record, so to speak. The movie was what it was, and people can choose to take it or leave it. For all the good things they do, Disney has a poor track record in this area. Digitally removing cigarettes from MELODY TIME's home video release is another example, not to mention the suppression of SONG OF THE SOUTH.

I do appreciate that they released some "uncomfortable" cartoons in the Disney Treasures sets, sometimes segregated under a special menu, and/or with historical context provided. If they want to release something with an introduction or a disclaimer of sorts I have no problem with it, but changing it is another matter.

Best wishes,

10:19 PM  
Blogger mel said...

Talking about censorship in Disney movies, it's apparent that Uncle Walt did not understand the highly suggestive lyrics by Ray Gilbert of Two Silhouettes. Had he done so, the animation of this section would either have been entirely different, or, more likely, been replaced with a different song...

12:47 AM  
Blogger Caftan Woman said...

When the "Martins and Coys" was omitted from the DVD release years ago I joked that Disney didn't want to insult hillbillies. My sister responded, "You can't insult hillbillies. Hillbillies all got Beta."

7:24 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Excuse me, but the YouTube posting of The Martins and the Coys has the segement in Italian. The only way in which you can see it in English is on Dailymotion.

3:58 PM  

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