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New Hope for Song Of The South?


Rich Drees at reports that Roy Disney, speaking at the Philadelphia Film Festival this past weekend, made it clear that a home video release of Song of the South is long overdue. Said Roy:

“I’ve got a bunch of cohorts working with me to convince the powers that be that it’s the smart thing to do. [Song Of The South] is a wonderful film that deserves to be back out in the public. All it needs is context. Some of that animation is stunning, even by today’s standards.�

In the meantime, for those who can’t wait, Disney has apparently released SOTS in France, in English, and was selling it at Disneyland Paris! Check this out. (This turned out to be a bootleg.)

  • The pictures of that disc look bootleg as all get out to me. The art is silkscreened on the disc and the amray case is a cheap recycled one common to bootlegs (the disc holder is the clue.) The booklet looks cheap as well. Not to mention there is no reason they’d be releasing a NTSC disc in France with prices in US and Canadian dollars!

    Unless someone can show me anything official from Disney, I call fake on the “French” SOTS.

  • History can not be ignored. And not at the expense of our art.

    Even if the film is offensive by today’s means, it should still be commercially available, so we can decide for ourselves. I have always wondered what this film was like, as I have always seen pictures from it, but never an animated clip.

    Here’s to hoping Roy Disney makes good on his word.

  • i am always flabbergasted at this film being so damned “taboo!” Depicting black people ….& white people….as friends!!! Uncle Remus has always been a beloved character….in ANY culture. What, in heavens’ name, is so almighty wrong with THAT!? I’m sure I am joined by the countless who WANT it available. How UNdemocratic can we GET, guys!?

    Enough already with this “this film is banned” crap! About as stupid as an issue can GET!!

  • chazwazzum

    This project is ruffling a few feathers. I watched a segment on the local news last week where people were adamantly speaking against the re-release of the film. I would like for this film to see the light of day again. I think I’m smart enough to realize that this film was made in a different time. And, for those folks suggesting that this film could be damaging/hurtful to kids, especially African-American children, well… that’s what parenting is for – to put the film in context and educate kids on the rights and wrong displayed in the film. All in all, I believe you can still enjoy this film responsibly without completely outlawing it.

  • The booklet also features information copied directly from the film’s IMDB page. It reeks of bootleg.

  • John A

    There isn’t a single offensive frame in the entire movie. People who protest this movie only do it to bring attention to themselves and to pick on a big target like Disney.

  • My parents still have a copy of this on VHS. While certainly not the best Disney film released the unfortunately small amount of animation in the movie really is stunning. I, for one, would love to own this in a restored digital format.

    Let’s hope Roy and pals are successful.

  • I hope that if they will release the movie it will be properly restored, like the first waves of the Disney Treasures. Recently restored Disney movies (such as “The Little Mermaid” or “Peter Pan”) were ruined with the restoration.

  • Chuck

    Personally, I think Disney should not only release it, but they should stop treating it like it’s an embarrassment. That “Disneyland Paris” link mentioned that James Baskett was the first live actor that Disney ever hired. I think that’s impresssive. (Hopefully, he got paid well)

    Disney should grow a spine and release it during Black History Month and include all sorts of bonus materials. Certainly talk about James Baskett, but also the entire history of black artists in the cinema from Stepin Fetchit to Halle Berry. Make some featurettes about Sidney Poitier, Hattie McDaniel and all those who paved the way for today’s stars like Will Smith. Have interviews with Spike Lee or John Singleton. Include frank discussions about Bosko, Coal Black and Mammy Two-Shoes (If you can get permission) and point out how far we’ve come.

    They could bypass the usual tired disclaimer and give the whole thing a really positive spin.

  • Smells like something from Asia. Japan for instance recently opened up legal sale of all movies 1953 and earlier as public domain. (Coincidence that “Godzilla” dates from 1954?? I don’t think so.) Disney of course still sells their own DVDs but they sit next to much cheaper versions made from old prints.

  • Franklin

    The Song of the South dvd is a pirate. It is from the restored videotape released in France (yes, Disney spent money restoring the film). It’s tape source shows quite prominently. I’d wait for an official release.

  • Keith Paynter

    If this disc includes Clampett’s “Coal Black” as a ‘special feature’ it’s another PAL to NTSC video conversion boot, running faster than it should. The cover screams bootleg, using British VHS artwork that is 20 years old. I’m not convinced. If thy’re including “books on tape”, gauranteed that’s what you’re buying, and the DVD will be “free”.

    This is no more “official” than the dozens of DVD’s that show up daily on ebay.

  • kudos to all of the above. Especially “Chazzwazzim” ‘s note….imagine!!…”damaging/hurtful to kids!” Any current (network) SITCOM is far more “damaging,” to say the least!

    3 cheers for Chuck’s comments, too! Again, I chant….”Enough, already!”

  • I agree this item looks like a bootleg. No authentic French DVD release would be solely in English, nor in NTSC. If this item also has extras, it’s a point of curiosity that the back cover carries no listing of them.

    It’s a remarkably warm and loving film, and it’s post-slavery, so the relationship it depicts between the races is that of employer-employee, rather than master-slave. If you think about the real life state of race relations in the 1950s, which necessitated the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, its depiction is actually quite sugar-coated in contrast to the reality. Nevertheless, Uncle Remus is possessed of a wisdom, enlightenment, and common sense that the film’s adult white characters only attain through trial and error. The movie reprises “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah” a few too many times, but race relations can never be as ideal as we’d all like to think as long as a film like this cannot be seen as the time piece it is.

    The biggest obstacle, I fear, is Disney itself — which has become so paranoiacally PC, they actually had Leonard Maltin apologize for Arthur Shields’ naturally Irish accent in THE HARDY BOYS as an artifact “of less enlightened times.”

  • Aoi

    As I’m living in France, I can confirm that’s a fake dvd. The only version of song of the south in france was released ten years ago in vhs. To add to that, price on the sticker would be on Euro, usual logos of french disney dvd editions are missing, the name on the sticker wouldn’t be “disneyland theme park, paris”, but simply Disneyland Paris, the beginning of the bar code is an english one, and french editions always features french code beginning with 3459379 or netherlands with 87, they say it could be read on US and Canada dvds players but no official dvd realesed in the french park is a zone one dvd, as nearly noone wouldn’t be able to read it without being able to desactive the zone protection of his dvd player here, and the last but not the least, the title would be Melodie du sud, and all would be written in french ;p I need to check that, but I don’t remember to have seen other cover than the french editions in the park.
    Not to mention that a website which sells only one dvd, and where all the pages are the same don’t seems very professional.
    To add a last thing the text is a copy paste from here. They have simply added “and a brief release at Disneyland Paris” in the middle of it.

  • How cool is that! We just saw this today at art school and boy did I miss this cartoon/movie. That’s the problem with alot of people today, were too sensitive. I understand why they might hesitate on putting this out due to the fact that were all “sue happy” these days. I don’t see whats wrong with something so brilliantly done. I’m sure there’s worse things; a kid could watch (Aqua Teen Hunger Force for one). Good job Roy! I’ll be first in line to pick this up…..

  • johnny

    Political correctness has gotten out of hand…this ain’t nothin’ we all don’t already know. Those who deem SOTS “racist” have no friggin’ clue what the word means. If anything, SOTS is “raCIAL,” not “raCIST.” “Racist” is something done out of hate, “racial” is something that concerns a certain race. These PCers really piss me off! I truly hope Roy Disney isn’t talking out of his a** and blowing smoke our way…..I want my son and grandkids to see this film! Since the next batch of WALT DISNEY TREASURES has only three items, I say add SOTS as a fourth. C’mon, Dis! There’s profit in it!!!

  • Doug

    I would love to see this film again (i’m sure I had seen the film as a kid) and yes, I’d love to add it to my burgeoning Disney collection. But, as a white guy who grew up in the North, I’d be really curious as to what black folks think about this film. What I remember of it doesn’t/didn’t offend me but it has no relation to my experience. I’d like to know how a black person living in this country feels about the film, how one would explain “the context” of the film, and how one would explain this to their children. I don’t think it’s too awfully PC to try and gage the reactions of the viewing public on a product that may hurt and offend, that’s just being sensitive.

    I also wonder if this film is becoming much better and important than it was/is simply because it’s not being released currently.

  • Anastasia Lee

    All this nonsense smells alot like “Ethnic McCarthyism”. Are you now or have you ever watched Song of the South?!

  • Brian

    If a man could lose his job for saying “niggardly” – and one did – then I wouldn’t hold out too much hope for a [i]SotS[/i] reissue.

  • I wouldn’t hold my breath. As close as the release may have been, I would not be surprised if all the fallout of the Imus/Rutgers stuff puts this release on the back burner.

  • Graarg

    Who uses niggardly in this day and age? Yah just don’t.

    Essentially, it is much ado over nothing. One of the Disneyworld’s most popular rides is based on, and has, the animated characters from this movie. It *is* stereotypical, but I believe that if Birth of a Nation can be released, so can this film. All it needs is some context, which honestly, the controversy itself has provided [Disney was kinda right to worry. Between the HUAC and the rumors of anti-semitism, there are a good couple of unsavory details people like to bring up, some with good reason, some with less so.] An intelligent release is all it needs. What they did with the Mickey Mouse Treasures set is appropriate, a critic putting it in an intelligent context [I recall Bill Cosby was going to do it at one point on an old release, but that may’ve been a rumor.] I doubt it’ll be so difficult. I feel like the main people worrying are Disney. Parents can easily decide what to show and what not to show thier children. Context is key to the release of this.

  • Floyd Norman

    Disney should talk to me. I’ve actually screened “Song of the South” for an all African-American audience. (The 16mm print belonged to Disney)

    Anyway, the audience loved the movie, and requested I show it a second time. Any questions, Disney? I’m available.

  • Am I living in an alternate dimension? Why am I the only person who is repulsed by this movie? I understand that the endless hordes of Disney nerds want their “great, lost classic” in their video collections, but please. Spare me. Song of the South is an obscene, repugnant tribute to racism. I’ve been able to view whatever clips float their way onto youtube, and I’m shocked. This is a movie that belongs on the same historical trash-heap as blackface minstrel singers. It’s f’ing obscene, people.

    I’m not a proponent of censorship of anything – I’ve been a faithful student of Frank Zappa, and there’s this silly notion of free will that sticks in my brain. So if you want to spend your money on a picture like Song of the South, hell, your funeral.

    • Glenn Freeze

      You’re certainly entitled to your opinion, but I couldn’t disagree more. Although I agree there are legitimate issues regarding race in the film that need to be put in historical context, overall I find SOTS simply wonderful, with some of the best Disney animation ever!

  • @ Sir Daniel Thomas MacInnes

    Please tell me you’re joking.

  • John A

    How anyone can pass judgement on a film that they’ve viewed only as a few clips on YouTube is beyond stupid. I don’t know what clips you saw, but there isn’t anything racist in the movie. I own the entire movie on Laserdisc and I’ve screened it many times with my friends and family (not that it’s any of your business, but I’m in an interracial marriage and my in-laws have never been offended by anything in the movie)

    Now, I’ll admit that the live action portion of this film is weak, but it was a movie aimed at children and the dialogue tends to be a little simple minded. Nevertheless, the message is clear: A fertile imagination will get you through tough times, whether you’re a young boy who misses his father and feels abandoned, or a wise old man who’s led a hard life, a little guy has to know how to use his head, and that we all have to find our own laughin’ place.

    I’m sorry you’re incapable of seeing beyond skin color or regional dialect. It’s not a perfect film, but it’s hardly the” obscene, rupugnant, tribute to racism” that you descibe.

  • FP

    Re the Daniel Thomas MacInnes post:
    Great comedy writing, dood. Almost believable.

    As for SOUTH, it came out on laserdisc in the 1990s. Several kind, anonymous souls have nicely transferred their out-of-print laser copies to DVD and made them available through the usual channels, for the usual cost.

  • James

    If Disney would just release it on DVD and put $39.95 on it we would see who is really offended or not. Just don’t buy it if you don’t want to watch it.

  • James

    Song of the South Was Discussed on CNN Mar. 30th. 2007

    Click here for video. Quality is not real great. I put a copy on MySpace. I am still new at this. Hope it works.

  • The Disneyland Paris dvd isn’t a bootleg just because the art is silkscreened to the disc. Disney has started doing that lately. Cinderella, Sky High, Peter Pan, Little Mermaid, etc. all have silkscreened/partly silkscreened art on the disc. That alone doesn’t make it bootleg. Though, I have my suspicions about the Song Of The South dvd offered on the website. The case and artwork seem to be a bit flimsy or cheap to me. The thing that WOULD make it a bootleg is the dvd being in only english and being sold in france. If it really was sold in france, it would’ve been in english and french both.