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QUESTION: Song of the South?

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  • QUESTION: Song of the South?

    QUESTION:Was it reasonable to stop selling the movie Song of the South? and do you think that Disney should re-release the movie due to our tolerance growth?

    ------------------I just have to say that it was a great movie. what about u?


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  • #2
    Re: QUESTION: Song of the South?

    I dont think it was ever sold...

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    • #3
      Re: QUESTION: Song of the South?

      Originally posted by AbominableSnowman1 View Post
      I dont think it was ever sold...
      It was, just not legally inside the United States.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: QUESTION: Song of the South?

        Originally posted by AbominableSnowman1 View Post
        I dont think it was ever sold...
        it was but everytime disney sold it they soon took it back


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        • #5
          Re: QUESTION: Song of the South?

          I've got a copy of it on video. A former co-worker made it for me. It was his favorite Disney movie. He also collects any artwork or figures from SOTS (though VERY hard to find).

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: QUESTION: Song of the South?

            IMO, it was stupid to stop selling the movie. Ignoring history does not make it go away. Anyway, to me it is a movie that shows how stupid racism is.
            Mike


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            • #7
              Re: QUESTION: Song of the South?

              Shouldn't this thread be moved?

              As a Black woman, I understand fully the reasons the film has not been particularly well-liked by the African American community and was, with an acknowledgment that the film was technically well-done, criticized by the NAACP when it was originally released in 1946. I also understand why Disney is hesitant to re-release it in any format, given the fact that much time has passed between that era and today, and the fact that it might be met with a new round of criticism from the African American community. I doubt, however, that any real effort to boycott Disney would result from any release of the film. Other, more racially controversial and offensive films have been released in recent years (Monster's Ball, Soul Plane, others), and it's pretty clear that Song of the South is a product of its time. Plus, other films of the era featuring Black characters, such as the Vincente Minnelli-directed Cabin in the Sky and the Lena Horne musical drama Stormy Weather, not to mention the infamous and overtly racist 1915 D.W. Griffith film Birth of a Nation (which featured white actors in blackface), as well as the rooted-in-racism epic classic Gone With The Wind (which, like Song of the South, featured Hattie McDaniel), have all been released on DVD without incident. I see very little reason why Disney should not release the film on DVD today, given the current ongoing interest in seeing and obtaining the film, but I would hope that an extensive feature on the DVD would focus on the fact that the film is controversial and has been extensively debated, and would hopefully dispel any misunderstandings that the film could put into the minds of our youth.
              Last edited by Janie; 10-10-2006, 10:27 PM.

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              • #8
                Re: QUESTION: Song of the South?

                I think its a great movie, I own it

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                • #9
                  Re: QUESTION: Song of the South?

                  It is (or was) available in Europe, and many people used to sell them on eBay (VHS). The only problem was they are PAL instead of NTSC so they won't work in VCR's here. In order to watch it you would have to have it converted. I have an original PAL version still in plastic wrap.
                  Stalking is when two people go for a long romantic walk together but only one of them knows about it.

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                  • #10
                    Re: QUESTION: Song of the South?

                    For a very thorough answer, read my article "In Defense of Walt Disney's Uncle Remus" at songofthesouth.net:

                    http://songofthesouth.net/news/archi...indefense.html

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: QUESTION: Song of the South?

                      i have never seen it...its stupid not to sell it...isnt splash mountain based on it? not very hidden lol. I agree we should not ignore history. Even if glorifies the south during slavery (whatever that means...i havent seen it so i wouldnt know) with extra features they could have a segment on why they originally took it away explaining the misunderstandings of their intentions etc. Then they could talk about why it is important to have it...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: QUESTION: Song of the South?

                        Originally posted by belleariel412 View Post
                        Even if glorifies the south during slavery (whatever that means...i havent seen it so i wouldnt know) with extra features they could have a segment on why they originally took it away explaining the misunderstandings of their intentions etc. Then they could talk about why it is important to have it...
                        I have no idea what you just said.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: QUESTION: Song of the South?

                          Originally posted by SplashMoun10 View Post
                          ...do you think that Disney should re-release the movie due to our tolerance growth?
                          Interesting that you should mention our "tolerance growth." I find tolerance in our culture to be a highly selective and perplexing thing. It's odd and ironic to me that our culture is more immodest than ever, yet we find a film like SotS to be so politically incorrect that it is regarded as practically obscene. So, while the "f" bomb appears with increasing frequency in our popular music, and radio talk shows can be VERY explicit in talking about sexual behavior, a film like SotS is too hot to handle!

                          Who knew it was so hardcore?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: QUESTION: Song of the South?

                            I have to admit I'm a bit puzzled by what "tolerance growth" is supposed to imply, and especially in regards to this film.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: QUESTION: Song of the South?

                              tolerance growth from what the times used to be like...(more equality now). Tolerance because society see's the wrong in hatred among another race. Back in the past (and in current whitewashed cities now), people act like it's a natural thing to call people by "racial slurs;" but here and now we notice and pick out this untolerance. To see the wrong is to be tolerant. We today see "Song of the South" as wrong, but like many of yours micechatters have said, history is something we need to learn from and acknowledge because without it we would be back at step one. Our soceity should now be mature enough to deal (watch) with this kind of movie and work in suppressing racist thoughts.


                              Do you understand yet?


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                              Check out my latest TR (August 4th---August 11th) at Disneyworld!

                              Check out my latest TR (January 4th) at Disneyland!

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                              • #16
                                Re: QUESTION: Song of the South?

                                Originally posted by SplashMoun10 View Post
                                tolerance growth from what the times used to be like...(more equality now). Tolerance because society see's the wrong in hatred among another race. Back in the past (and in current whitewashed cities now), people act like it's a natural thing to call people by "racial slurs;" but here and now we notice and pick out this untolerance. To see the wrong is to be tolerant. We today see "Song of the South" as wrong, but like many of yours micechatters have said, history is something we need to learn from and acknowledge because without it we would be back at step one. Our soceity should now be mature enough to deal (watch) with this kind of movie and work in suppressing racist thoughts.


                                Do you understand yet?
                                I get the gist of what you're saying, but I don't really see what it has to do with the film specifically. No racial slurs are uttered in the film. There are no overt racist acts in it. The issue with the film stems more from its overall treatment of Black/White relations in the Reconstructionist South.

                                This commentary elucidates some of the problems involved:

                                Song of a Never-Was South: Will Disney Re-Release A Twisted Film?
                                By Hollis Henry
                                Guest Commentator



                                "Davy, Davy Crockett, trackin' the redskins down!" the song goes. If you want to hear the rest, buy Walt Disney's "Davy Crockett – The Complete Televised Series," DVD. The lines, and other choice lyrics like “them redskin varmints,” are from the theme music of the 1950’s show. The DVD was released in 2001. For over two decades now, Disney has been much more careful with another of their “classics” – “Song of the South.” But next year, after resting in the company vault since the 1980’s, this controversial film may be available again.

                                Since its original, highly successful release in 1946, “Song of the South” has had and continues to have detractors. Adam Clayton Powell Jr. is reported to have called the film an “insult to American minorities.” The NAACP was highly critical of it. Movie critic Roger Ebert, while not advocating total censorship, said in his Chicago Times-Tribune column, that it should be withheld from general audiences because of the effect it could have on children. Of its own volition, Disney sealed away the movie since its last theatrical re-release in 1986 because of the racial stigma attached to it. Jim Hill, a writer specializing in Disney news, reported on his website in late March that the company plans on releasing a "Song of the South" DVD in 2006 for its 60th anniversary.

                                But the question isn’t whether the film should be banned. The important phenomenon is the legion of incensed and activist fans (white and black) of the movie, fighting hard to have Disney release “Song of the South.” They argue that it’s only a children’s movie. They say any offensive elements the film might have can be looked past. They say Walt Disney’s intentions were good. And most importantly, they question whether the film is offensive at all.

                                Unequivocally, the answer is yes. No matter how benign its creators’ intentions, this film is a surreal exercise in dehumanization and dishonesty. It was excusable in 1946 because it mirrored the mainstream white outlook of the black social position in the United States – where they stood, who they should be and the conditions through which they could achieve inclusion. In 2005 however, it’s highly illuminating to observe the film’s “victimized” following battle against the forces of “political correctness” in defense of a movie that distorts reality by cleansing the cruelty out of their history.

                                Internet movie sites and forums are filled with statements of support for the re-release. They decry “political correctness at its worst,” and the “BS of political correctness.” One fan purchased his bootleg copy of the film “from a black guy,” which “lends some irony to this whole PC business.” “Songofthesouth.net,” one of the movie’s most comprehensive fan sites, reports that more than 65,000 fans have signed a petition asking for the movie’s return.

                                So with all this love – even among a section of blacks – what could be offensive about this film? “Song of the South” not only condones, but goes so far as to romanticize life in the South during Reconstruction. It avoids any mention of the post-Civil War terror inflicted on the blacks. It depicts the blacks as passive and accepting of their position and the whites as loving, inclusive and relatively respectful. Like a Victorian novel, everyone has his place in this paradise, no one questions it, and everyone is content. It seems an oddly Old World thematic structure. No wonder Clayton Powell is quoted as saying it was an insult “to everything America stands for.”

                                The movie is set in the South a few years after the Civil War. Young Johnny goes with his parents to his grandmother's plantation in Georgia, apparently because there is a problem with their marriage. Johnny is distraught and Uncle Remus, one of the blacks still living on the plantation, tells him the stories of Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox, Brer Bear and Brer Frog, both to cheer him up and to teach him life lessons. Animation is used for the folktales.

                                The plantation is heaven. There's lots of singing, campfire storytelling, fishing and playing. The "Aunt Jemimas" make big beautiful feasts in the mansion. Undeniably there is a natural order (the young hero wears children's suits while the black children wear rags, blacks are not allowed to attend the outdoor dress parties), but everyone lives in harmony.

                                Christian Willis, webmaster of “Songofthesouth.net,” sees Disney’s “attempt to show harmony” between races as a “big accomplishment for a film back…when segregation was still very much a part of life.” But of what value is harmony at the expense of equality, or honesty? The fictional harmony of “Song of the South” is the same as that of slavery. It is only coexistence when the blacks don’t question their position. And it’s fictional. It’s a fairy tale.

                                For the overwhelming majority of blacks in the Southern states the situation was very different. Defenders of "Song of the South" often raise the point that the movie takes place after the end of slavery; therefore Disney was not glamorizing the slave system (unlike “Gone With the Wind”). But the Reconstruction-era South was really not much better.

                                After the end of the Civil War, Southern whites were concerned with maintaining the social order, despite the abolition of slavery. From 1868 onward, Southern terror groups like the Ku Klux Klan carried out a brutal repression of both blacks and whites complicit in the plan to give the former slaves social and political equality. Thousands – especially prominent blacks – were whipped, beaten, mutilated and killed. The Southern political apparatus, primarily the Democratic Party, was no friend to blacks either, and in conjunction with the Klan carried out a de facto disenfranchisement through fraud and intimidation. Next for the Southern African Americans would be Jim Crow-era segregation, a system that continued well into the 20th Century (even after the movie was made).

                                This is the utopian world in which "Song of the South" is set. As Uncle Remus says in the preamble to one of his stories, "when everything was mighty satisfactual." Defenders of the film can rightly say that it doesn’t set out to portray blacks badly. The black characters are stereotypical, but not in a mean-spirited way. Uncle Remus in particular is shown as a universally loved, sagacious elder statesman.

                                Disney’s source material for the film was a 19th Century book by Southern author, Joel Chandler Harris, called “Uncle Remus, His Songs and Sayings.” Harris's book, extremely popular up to the mid-20th Century, is a compilation of old slave folklore tales narrated by Uncle Remus, a character representative of storytellers he knew as a child. “I do not believe that a man who spent literally his entire life immersed in the language of the African Americans could have any malicious intent towards them,” Willis says in his essay on the topic.

                                From this then Willis assumes Walt Disney’s “innocent intent to publicize and thereby preserve the stories of the slaves.” This is only partially true. Disney also intended – as the name of the film points out – to pay homage to the South. This film is set in an ideal Southern world, and the only way this can be done is at the expense of the blacks.

                                The African Americans in this film are beyond stereotypes – they are devices. The argument has been made that it is a children’s film, thus weighty character portrayals shouldn’t be expected. But the blacks have no character. They are all one unquestioning, non-threatening, grinning, musical and accommodating mass, whose purpose is to give service, either physically or emotionally. Johnny’s young black friend, “Toby,” serves as his guardian and fellow rascal. Remus serves as Johnny’s spiritual guide and therapist. And the black totality serves as one reassuring happy chorus broadcasting the message, “everything is satisfactual.”

                                One commenter on an Internet movie forum wondered why "Song of the South" is being censored while violent movies like "A Clockwork Orange" are shown. But Kubrick himself would have applauded the sinister absurdity of actor James Baskett in the role of Uncle Remus, a broad grin carved on his face as he strolls along with the animated fauna singing, "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah."

                                Baskett's grin is the worst sadism. It’s painted across his face and his face is plastered across almost all the promotional photographs for the movie. Seeing the Remus grin helps to explain every surly snarl in the black ghettoes throughout the United States. Seeing Remus’s bovine frame convulsing in an estrogen-heavy giggle (they might as well have glued a grey beard on Aunt Jemima) while he sits between Johnny and his friend Jenny, helps to explain the cartoon-like hyper machismo of oily muscles and bulletproof vests popular in Hip Hop culture.

                                Remus is briefly relieved of the grin for the movie's moment of crisis – Johnny's mother forbids them from seeing each other. Remus is so devastated he decides to banish himself to Atlanta. Losing favor with the whites is his great tragedy, recovering their love and acceptance is his happy ending.

                                Imagine a film about an old Jewish storyteller, living contentedly in Nazi Germany. He develops a deep bond with the grandson of the owner of the munitions factory in which he works. The sun shines brightly as he strolls along singing, back to his home in the prescribed ghetto, Star of David sewn onto his coat. No mention is made of his people’s ordeal. In fact, there is no ordeal. Such a depiction would be repellant not only to Jewish people, but to most people.


                                The difference between the cruelty of Nazi Germany and post-slavery Southern society isn’t so much in the extent of the crime, but in the respective countries’ control over history. Defeated, Germany doesn’t get to control how even its own people view their history. Victorious, the United States still does. Nazi Germany was condemned for its crimes, but America gives itself compromise. The U.S. shows truly saint-like understanding and forgiveness when it comes to its own sins.

                                These criticisms are not meant as an argument for censoring this film. “Song of the South’s” impact should not be overestimated. It’s really not that good a film. It’s slow and entirely without the wit of Disney’s modern films like “The Lion King.” Much of the demand is probably coming from the white backlash, proud Southerners, and those driven by nostalgia. A Buena Vista Home Entertainment (Disney’s distributor) insider interviewed by Jim Hill, said, “most kids and adults will be nodding off 30 minutes into the thing.”

                                If re-released in 2006, Disney will most likely add explanatory content about the reality of life in the Reconstruction-era South. But the most important lesson that “Song of the South’s” rebirth will teach is the limitation of the “one America” idea. There will always be a separation between peoples when their historical realities differ. America will not condemn its past for the sake of African Americans, but even today African Americans are forced to live with the consequences of slavery, segregation and racism. Maybe inclusion shouldn’t have won out as the priority goal of the Civil Rights movement. As these unrepentant backlash forces rise, inclusion seems less and less achievable, and frankly, less attractive.

                                For a more flattering (but more honest?) depiction of a black character, check out Dennis Haysbert’s brooding President David Palmer on the television series “24.” Despite rude skeletons like “Song of the South” in the American history closet, we have come a very long way.

                                Hollis Henry is a second-generation American with roots in Trinidad, where he has lived and worked as a journalist. He is pursuing a Masters degree in Journalism at New York University. Contact him at [email protected].
                                Last edited by Janie; 10-10-2006, 11:36 PM.

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                                • #17
                                  Re: QUESTION: Song of the South?

                                  Oh dear, I gotta haul it out again, don't I? Here you go:


                                  Unusually and exceedingly peculiar and altogether quite impossible to describe...


                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Re: QUESTION: Song of the South?

                                    Originally posted by Morrigoon View Post
                                    Oh dear, I gotta haul it out again, don't I? Here you go:

                                    :lol: Yeah, it's a can of worms, all right. But it's actually good that the issue is being discussed. Communication, listening, and understanding are the key to genuine harmony between peoples. And like I said before, I don't see much of a reason why the film should be withheld from release on DVD. From theaters, from cable, and from broadcast TV, I can understand fully, and would agree - the film raises just too many questions for those venues. But DVD is the perfect vehicle for the film today, because it very likely will allow audiences to be educated as to the issues we're discussing, and be able to put the film in the proper perspective.

                                    In many ways, Song of the South is like Disney's variant of Spike Lee's Bamboozled - a film that dregs up a lot of old, painful memories for Black folks of how we were portrayed in ages past. The difference is that Spike's film dealt with its subject very directly, but the Disney film, being of the era, does not. Which is why it's necessary that an additional feature be made to recognize that the film is very much a product of its time, not ours.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Re: QUESTION: Song of the South?

                                      I agree with Merlin Jones. Since Disney has in all
                                      practical purposes abandonded "Song of the South"
                                      and because of that, "Song of the South" should
                                      become public domain. Iger stated in the most recent
                                      stockholder's meeting that he did screen the movie
                                      and that he does not plan to have the movie released
                                      on dvd or vhs.

                                      Sure, it's ok for the CEO to see the movie, to see if
                                      anyone else should be allowed to view it. OMG! How
                                      can any one individual be given the power to censor
                                      an important movie like Song of the South. That is
                                      so wrong.
                                      Critter Country's a mess ev'r since the Country Bears were kicked out. Ya can't cover pooh with honey and 'spect people ta like it.
                                      An Adventurers It's Time to Put the Spotlight Back on Bring Back the REAL Disney Gallery
                                      Life for Me! ~ ~ ~ Melvin, Buff, and Max!!! ~~~~ Dump the Dream Suite!
                                      Meese-ka Moose-ka Mice-Chatter!

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