Who’s Afraid of Song of the South?

Song of the South, the one film The Walt Disney Company will not release on DVD, lives on.
There hasn’t been much to report lately on the status of Walt’s 1946 Uncle Remus classic, but I just read Jim Korkis’ outstanding “making of” article in the latest issue Hogan’s Alley (a Comic Con purchase that I just got around to reading today) and am inspired to raise the issue again. Why isn’t this film on DVD? The studio has released much more “offending material” already, without a peep from special interest groups who might object. I appreciate all the fantastic wartime material the studio has already released, and am grateful to the company for making available all the 1930s and 40s shorts, despite some dated racial stereotypes contained therein.

“Who’s Afraid of the Song of the South?” – that’s the question I’m asking, and also it happens to be the name of Korkis’ piece in the 16th edition of Hogan’s Alley. The article is an absolute must-read and, at 19 pages, is thoroughly researched and possibly the last word on the subject. Korkis documents the complete story of the project, from pre-production to latter day reissues – with all the controversy inbetween. And if this edition of Hogan’s Alley only contained Korkis’ great article it would be well worth the cover price, but there are excellent articles on Little Lulu merchandising (and animation), an interview with Popeye artist Stephan DeStefano, rare Dan DeCarlo comic strips, and a dozen other great features. Buy this today.

On a related note, Mike Van Eaton just acquired a set of Ub Iwerks notes and production boards from SotS (see storyboards below, click thumbnails to see larger images). Note the deleted sequence on the boards second row, below right. Mike isn’t selling these – but graciously allowed me to post them for our readers enjoyment.


  • Hulk

    I have it on DVD…with Japanese sub-titles…but it’s just the movie and nothing else.

    I think if Disney would officially release it and put the usual Leonard Maltin disclaimer along with a documentary about the making of it and how it was considered liberal for it’s time- and maybe throw in Disney animator Floyd Norman’s anecdotes about it which I’ve read on this very site- it should do really well and not stir up any controversy….or at least silence any controversy that gets raised.

    Not to mention people will have a whole new appreciation for “Splash Mountain”.

  • http://www.youtube.com/kustomkool Kevin Dougherty

    Watching “Song of the South” (it’s fairly easy to download via a torrent *ahem*) is a bit anticlimactic. It’s not a terrible film and has its moments but the political faults you have heard about for years are only apparent from a modern point of view. Archaic and condescending? Insensitive? Maybe, but calling it racist is a stretch.

    That said, the “Hogans Alley” article makes it clear that several people – inside and outside the studio – though the film a dubious proposition.

    The New Yorker just ran an interesting article by Malcom Gladwell about “To Kill a Mockingbird” that paints a rather unflattering picture of Atticus Finch’s attitude on race and segregation. It’s a bit of the same deal. I don’t disagree with Gladwell’s critique but it’s not an argument that anyone could have formed at the time. Hindsight is 20/20. etc.

    And also, (ignore me if I’m preaching to the converted here) but reading “Hogan’s Alley” is the best thing damn ever (next to Cartoon Brew, of course.)

  • http://hellohue.blogspot.com hellohue

    I grew up watching this film, and I can only say it’s sad that it’s being refused a DVD release. The very reason for it’s not being released is unclear to me still, and infuriates me just as much when the ‘controversy’ surrounding the then-titled Frog Princess caused for certain themes in that story to be changed. The thing that makes no sense is that if we’re all mature enough to appreciate the politically incorrect themes and characters in such films, then surely we can watch them, in context, instead of brushing them under the carpet as if they never happened or, even worse, in my opinion (as is the case with the Princess and the Frog) sugar-coating them.

    History is important, one of the most important things that we humans have to understand one another. To deny a generation history, for fear of them being ‘offended’ or some such is doing a great injustice to them and is no excuse. The ironic thing is that a film so centred around morals is being denied to a generation. Despite the admittedly uneasy presence of racial stereotypes in the film, it’s important for children to be exposed to these. For the same reason of changing Maddy the chambermaid to Princess Tiana, sugar-coating history to avoid ‘offending’ people is wrong, as in the long run it will only cause confusion and further unease when that child grows up to realise that things weren’t THAT rosy.

    In a world where the President of the USA is black, perhaps children should be reminded of why such a thing is remarkable (as in worth mentioning) at all.

  • Jason

    Looks like a great issue. I’ll definitely be buying it. And yeah, SotS needs to be reissued. Yeah, some political groups would probably squawk, but nuts to them. Disney should ignore them. Plenty of people – of ALL races – would be happy to purchase a SotS DVD in my opinion.

  • Chris J.

    It seems like a real loss that I can’t see this. I got into it with a few Brewers over Foghorn Leghorn recently, and whether that character has any racist overtones or not. What informed that discussion, of course, is the fact that no one has kept me from seeing Foghorn Leghorn cartoons, which is how it should be.

    I’d love to be able to form an opinion about how “racist” Song of the South is or isn’t, but how can I do that if I’m never allowed to see it? Release it, I say, and do it with the intention of getting people to talk about it!

  • http://vivaortegacy.com Dave-O

    On the one hand you have the film as a historic film artifact; a product of its time that needs to be seen and discussed, unedited. On the other hand, portrayals of racist stereotypes, particularly with the film as a Disney product -as part of a cannon of ‘masterpieces’ and ‘classics’, and as a family film- could be a P.R. nightmare.

    I’m not confident that Disney thinks of their cartoons so much in the historical sense given their deletion of cigars and cigarettes in its cartoon shorts. Remember, this is the studio that digitally erased the pickaninny centaur out of Fantasia and shamelessly put the word “uncut” on the front of the DVD box.

    In an ideal world, Disney would release the film -not in the standard white clamshell case, but in the silver tin packaging reserved for its ‘treasures from the vault’ shorts and films. The DVD would be packed with tons of supplementary material explaining the source material of the Uncle Remus tales, including an introduction by a prominent African American scholar (Skip Gates?). It should acknowledge head-on that the NAACP protested the initial release of the film and have a short feature on racial stereotypes in Hollywood and in cartoons of the time. Disney could go way out of its way to make sure that all of their bases are covered in the ethical and legal senses. Ignoring the film (and its faults) in a so-called ‘post-racial’ society -especially as historians and enthusiasts increasingly see a demand for it- is in my opinion the unethical thing to do.

  • Trevor

    I doubt we will see the release of it during this generation mostly because it would completely undermine the great work in Princess and the Frog.

    That said, just like all other Disney films of its time, there are countless scenes in this film worth studying and standing in awe of the masters who came before us. To see it in a non-bootleg format would be great.

  • Anonymous African-American

    Is anyone posting here NOT white? If not, that may be a reason why no one here understands the overt racial overtones of this film. Much the same way WB wouldn’t dare widely release Coal Black and De’ Sebben Dwarfs. *sigh* “…De’ Sebben”? Really?

  • merlin jones

    Thanks for the tip, Jerry – - I can’t wait to get ahold of “Hogan’s Alley” to read Jim’s article!

    In the tradition of the Disney re-issue, here’s a link to an editorial I wrote for SaveDisney.com a few years years back on this subject: “In Defense of Disney’s Uncle Remus” – - now archived at SongoftheSouth.net:

    http://www.songofthesouth.net/news/archives/savedisney-indefense.html

    Some more articles on the film at Song of the South.net (an incredible site on the film to browse, if you haven’t been there):

    http://www.songofthesouth.net/news/archives/index.html

  • http://grillomation.blogspot.com Oscar Grillo

    I REPEAT. IN THE UK THIS FILM IS PERIODICALLY SHOWN ON TERRESTRIAL TV.

  • Marcus

    Song of the South was cleaned up and officially released in Europe–France more specifically. It was available at Disneyland, Paris, and is a region free disc. Far superior to the Japanese ld release. No, it’s not the greatest film ever, and it certainly is a product of it’s time. But Gone With The Wind has been issued on video countless times and is FAR more insensitive by comparison. I happen to think it’s some of the best animation and design the Disney studios ever produced. And James Baskett is an amazing actor, whose ability to play multiple roles in the film is quite remarkable. And what a voice!

  • http://2dwannabe.blogspot.com robcat2075

    It’s probably not fair to the film to release it in an environment where all of the discussion will be about its peripheral historical and cultural complications rather than the film itself.

    Keep it in the vault and release it when it can be something other than internet troll bait.

  • Katella Gate

    I can’t address the film’s content since I haven’t seen it in 40 years, but I do want to thank Mike Van Eaton for generously sharing images of the the original story boards. BTW – Sis Possum sure looks like the possum from “America Sings”…. (“When I was single; dress up so fine…”)

  • http://vivaortegacy.com Dave-O

    @robcat2075
    “It’s probably not fair to the film to release it in an environment where all of the discussion will be about its peripheral historical and cultural complications rather than the film itself.

    Keep it in the vault and release it when it can be something other than internet troll bait.”

    I don’t understand. How better to understand the film than by placing it within a historical and cultural framework? The potential for misunderstanding lies in looking just at the film itself, without proper context. That’s important for looking at any film from any genre, not just the controversial ones.

    As for your second comment, who is trolling? All of the discussions that I have found on the subject seem fairly reasonable.

  • Al

    Just how would releasing “SOTS” on DVD “undermine” the great work in “The Princess and the Frog”?

  • Rio

    “Is anyone posting here NOT white?”

    Anyone else see the hypocrisy of the above statement?

    Anonymous African American, you’re not offering any real solutions to racism, you’re only adding to it.

  • John A

    To the Anonymous African-American: No, I’m not African American, but my wife of over 18 years is and she remembers seeing the movie in the theatre when they used to reissue it regularly. My late father-in-law was a big cartoon fan and this was one of his favorite Disney films. I bought the lazerdisc almost 25 years ago in Japan and considering all the furor over it here I’m glad I did. I let my son watch it when he was little and he reacted to it like any other children’s movie: he was interested in the kids in the film, not so interested in the adults (except Uncle Remus) and he loved the cartoon sequences.

    He really only had 2 questions after the movie was over: Why did the little boy’s father have to go away, and why didn’t any of the ladies want Uncle Remus to tell his stories? I explained to him it was because women are evil (No, I didn’t. I’m kidding.) I said it really wasn’t that clear in the movie and told him part of the story was written badly.

    My familiy’s opinion of “Coal Black”? that’s another story.

  • Jim Korkis

    Many thanks, Jerry, for your kind and generous comments. With my birthday coming up this Saturday (August 15–the anniversary of Woodstock), I take this as my early birthday gift!

    Yes, I spent nearly two decades gathering information on the film for this article because nobody, even the Disney Company, seems to have kept documentation.

    Discovering who Dalton Reymond was explained a lot about the racial “undertone” that some people responded to in the film. As you pointed out, I don’t shy away from the controversy and even point out that “tar baby” was a derogatory term at the time. But I also point out that the film is much less racist than “Gone With the Wind” or ” Birth of a Nation” and both of those films are available for adults.

    You might also point out for readers to look at back issues of Hogan’s Alley. In issue #15, I wrote the definitive article on the unmade “Gremlins” Disney animated feature and before that an article on “Steamboat Willie”.

    Who knows? Some publisher out there may want to gather up these articles for a book someday and I will be rich and happy. (As you know, Walt Disney World decided it wasn’t interested in my supplying Disney History so I was laid off with hundreds and hundreds of others four months ago.) Or, more importantly, somebody at Disney will actually read one of these articles and better understand things like why “Song of the South” deserves a release.

    Whenever I write about “Song of the South”, I usually get a flood of comments so I think this comment section will be filled to overflowing soon. I also hope your comments will lead people to discovering what a great magazine Hogan’s Alley is.

    Thanks again, good buddy. Good to see you are successful and happy. You have more than earned it for all your groundbreaking research over the years.

  • Trevor

    @Al

    It wouldn’t. That’s just the way Disney will be thinking. They’ve been so careful to make sure Tiana wasn’t seen as racist that they’re not going to jeopordize anything by releasing SotS.

  • http://2dwannabe.blogspot.com robcat2075

    I’m looking at the dialog written beneath the story panels and I wonder, was there ever a time when black people spoke “dat way”? Or is it just an artificial notion created by white writers?

    Can you imagine being an actor, getting the script and seeing that they didn’t think your regular regional accent was black enough, they actually wrote mispronunciations into the script like

    “Good mawnin’ ” and “I sho’ is glad to hear dat!”

    I suppose those might come from the original books, but those weren’t written by a black guy either.

    I’ve watched black-produced and directed films made for black audiences from that time and you never hear anyone speak like that. It seems to be just a reassuring fiction created for white audiences.

    Anyway, Dave-O, I didn’t think the commenter who dismissed complaints about the film as “squawks” by “political types” as reasonable. (Just as one example and I’m sure the discussion of the film won’t be limited to CartoonBrew.) How is not wanting to be demeaned a merely political motivation? How is it reasonable to caricature someone’s opinion as animal noise? A common tactic today, but the right way do it?

    Well, go ahead and release it, it’s always great to see work by Disney’s first-string animators, and there may be a large market out there for reassuring notions.

  • http://adultanimationman.deviantart.com/ Chris Leonido

    Song of the South is not that offensive, and I’m white and I dont find anything bad about it. As much as I am into the old Disney classics. I could be right or wrong about this but I have a feeling that we might be able to see Sots and Ralph Bakshi’s coonskin on DVD soon. I just hope that Princess and the frog doesn’t end up being locked in a safe away from a DVD release like South of the south or even coonskin for that matter.

  • Ro

    Since Anonymous African-American weighed in, I feel compelled to as well.

    I am black. I recently, and happily, purchased a copy of Song of the South since I had only seen clips of it and had heard my father’s reminiscing of it. I haven’t yet watched the entire film but so far, I find it to be simply a product of its time. What else would we expect from an American movie released in 1946 that takes place after the Civil War? I feel Americans throw around the word “racist” too easily without understanding that there has to be an element of superiority involved for something to be racist. This movie may be stereotypical, but it is not racist.

    And what else is stereotypical? Eddie Murphy’s Donkey voice in Shrek, the voice used in a current Motel 8 commercial, all of Tyler Perry’s Madea movies, any commercial for McDonald’s that has only black folks in it, that robot Chris Rock voiced in AI, and the list continues. I personally see a lot of stereotyping in American films today (don’t get me started about how Asian-Americans, Latinos and gay men are treated in film) but hiding those films from the public is an immature solution.

    Once I finish watching this film, I will probably be inspired to write a letter to both the NAACP and Disney to request they stop hiding animation history from our overly-sensitive population and release it for an historical, adult discussion. If the remainder of the planet can handle this film, I think Americans should be able to handle it as well.

  • http://MrFunsBlog Floyd Norman

    Having had the opportunity to spend a week end speaking with the late Bob Clampett, plus many evenings with Ward Kimball (crows in Dumbo) these two talented animators were simply making cartoons — not political statements.

    It still seems difficult for a lot of people to grasp that simple fact.

    • Glenn Freeze

      Thank you, Mr. Norman. I am constantly amazed at how much people read into the content of these wonderful cartoons. I’ve owned the Japanese laserdisc for years, and have shown SOTS to several people over those years, and I always get the same basic reaction no matter the race: “That was wonderful. So, what’s the big deal?” I’m sure there would be a lot of noise about the film once a Blu-Ray and DVD release is announced (mostly from sources that have never seen it, I suspect), and that’s probably what scares Disney the most, but if they would only have faith in their product and tough it out (including bonus features putting it in historical perspective), I can’t help but feel that would be the general public’s reaction to the film as well, and all this “controversy” would die.

  • cliffclaven

    My suspicion is that the main offense of the film is not so much in the black stereotypes as in the Old South fiction that miserable shacks, hard labor and barely human status were a swell deal. Oh, and there was no racism because everybody Knew His Place. How could anybody not like slavery? (Technically the film is set after the Civil War, but the only real indications of that are a few lines near the beginning and the fact that Uncle Remus gets fired instead of sold.)

    True, you can find shelves of videos celebrating the Happy Plantation, the contented servants and other insistent myths, some of them jaw-dropping in what they say about their audiences. It’s an open question why this surprisingly bland Disney movie seems to have a target painted on it. Maybe it’s Uncle Remus himself, the creation of a white writer who made black folklore safe for “nice” families.

    My own thought is they should put it on a double header with Nightjohn, a surprisingly tough Disney Channel film about a slave girl who learns to read — and finds out, among other things, that she and her relatives have a cash value and that the preacher in their church has been altering scripture to suit the slaveowners.

    As for the film itself: Outside of the animated sequences (which are very good but short of the pinnacle of Disney animation) it’s a bit of a sugary slog, just this side of a Shirley Temple movie (without the tap dances).

    SIDE NOTE: So Dear to My Heart, which is a bit better as an actual movie, was similarly bottled up for years with no real explanation at all (it only recently saw light of day at Disney Movie Club, with a handful of extras suggesting they had bigger plans). Nobody cried about political correctness or even seemed to miss it, despite its reported importance to Disney himself and Disneyland.

    True, it’s about a boy and his beloved sheep. Maybe somebody got worried about THAT.

  • http://none Zack Mays

    Okay do anybody rember 1975′s”Coonskin” from the same guy who gave us 1972′s “Fritz The Cat”???? !!!! Yes Him !!!

  • Giovanni Jones

    Regarding the wonderful Jim Korkis’ comment that “Walt Disney World” decided to let him go — as a matter of fact, many people at Walt Disney World treasured everything he so willingly shared. I am sure he did not mean Walt Disney World as a group.

    Hundreds of Disney Cast Members love Jim and what he contributed to Walt Disney World and elsewhere. Only a very small handful did not, but they had a small measure of power and abused it.

    Actually, what happened was more reminiscent of what “John A” said above. For the last couple of years, many of us found ourselves asking each other, “Why didn’t those ladies want Mr. Korkis to tell his stories?” Well, some women are evil, and some men are too. People are mentally and physically persecuted for all kinds of reasons, and with sincere respect to everyone, it’s not just limited to race, color or creed. But in the long range of things, these abusers will be forgotten. The good that people like Jim Korkis does will live on in the uncountable individuals he has inspired.

    And he’s not finished yet, Your day will come, Jim.

    BTW, on a recent BBC Radio 2 documentary about the legendary Billie Holliday, singer Annie Ross remembered how, when Lady Day wanted to relax, she often turned on the TV and watched cartoons. She loved cartoons.

  • http://tomboycomics.blogspot.com Emily

    I never actually saw the full version of Song of the South, not sure if that’s due to when I grew up: late 80′s, early 90′s. But I had the record, and even missing the animation, those stories have stuck with me through the years. The Tar Baby, etc. It never occurred to me that the cartoon characters might be “racist” until I recently read or heard adults saying so. They’re still just archetypal characters to me–and the stories are just basic tales of foolishness vs. cleverness/wisdom.

    Uncle Remus himself, and other story points, yeah, maybe…But I agree with others that it’s just a sign of the times. Again, I haven’t seen the live-action parts of the film, but I’ve read synopses. Interesting that Disney won’t release a DVD, but “Zip-adee-Doo-Da” is played constantly to this day. It’s a classic song. And Song of the South is a classic film…

  • sporridge

    To think these hands once readily held, think this was the book’s title, “Uncle Remus Stories” — Official Disney Product from the mid 60s or so, with illustrations from SotS.

    Primary memory of it (last reissue I’m aware of was 1981): What a sad turn it took toward the end.

    “Coonskin” managed to sneak out on VHS ages ago, under the assumed identity of “Street Fight.”

  • Alberto

    to be honest other than the dialogue, i haven’t seen much of what is offensive about this film. Now if it were like the SNL skit, “Zip-a-dee-doo-da Zip-a-dee-ay Blacks are inferior in eva-ry way!” I think there would be quite the stir. But I believe b/c of Disney’s attitude towards the film as being ‘forbidden’ and also the popularity of collecting black-americana the film would be popular if they released it. I’m hispanic and if Disney made a film making fun of it when that attitude was accepted I would probably find it amusing, too bad “The Three Caballero’s” made us look good! I’m sure if they released it along with “The Princess and the Bride” to show how far we’ve come in a mere 50-60years again the reception would probably be positive, even if it’s something as simple as a reel being played around the country at a place like the MoMa.

    but i agree, there’s nothing to be afraid of this film. Sunflower and Coal Black and Lazy Town are waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay more offensive (and funnier)

  • Choco

    To weight in: would I want my little niece and nephew (15 months and 3 months respectively) to ever grow up and see these outdated cartoons (which were merely “products of their time”) that stereotyped brown people that looked like their dad? Who talk like dis en dat en bla dee bla?
    Um, gonna have to say no to that.
    Would I have them watching Tyler Perry or any of that other over-the-top jazz that another poster mentioned, with flat characters that offer no depth or anyone that they could relate to? Also a big no.
    Why dust off these “gems” and look fondly upon some crap of yesteryear? Happy slaves and their ramshackle dwellings, singing their troubles away in the south…zippy do indeed!
    I’ve seen this film and I wouldn’t be wanting for anything if I hadn’t. Let it stay locked up in the vault. I look forward to more cartoons and animated features that have main character that come in a variety of shades and aren’t pigeonholed to talking or behaving a certain way.

  • Mark Sonntag

    It is our society today that adds venom to a film like SONG OF THE SOUTH, I think it says more about us if we deny it its place in history. IT WAS MADE IN 1946 for heaven’s sake, with no malicious intent.

    This film boasts some of the best Disney animation of it’s time, release it as a Walt Disney Treasure or something, but just release it.

    P.S. Jim, I’m an avid fan of your work and research.

  • TheVok

    Okay, I’m REALLY curious as to how Foghorn Leghorn cartoons could be construed as racist. Where’d this discussion happen?

  • Pedro Nakama

    They should release the film on DVD, let people get outraged by it and then Bob Iger can have a beer with President Obama.

  • DisneyTeacher

    I have used SONG OF THE SOUTH as part of a Disney animated film course that I teach. I was reluctant at first to incorporate the movie into the syllabus but when given the opportunity to show the movie in class I figured why not. The class, which was very diverse across all demographics was recpetive to the idea and after watching the movie and the discussion that followed the students felt that there was really nothing racially charged or insensitive about the movie. Perhaps those on all levels of opposition about the movie’s release would see the movie and then engage in a dialogue afterwards would see there is no reason that the film should remain in the Disney vault. I believe much of why the movie has not been re-released is because of hearsay about the movie and not first hand knowledge of the film. Let’s watch movie, discuss it and get past this and release the treasured gem from the Disney vault.

  • Oluseyi

    @Choco:
    If you don’t want your kids to see certain movies with certain depictions, well, don’t show them those movies. But when they grow up, they’re going to find and seek out films you probably disagree with, and it is their right to do so.

    I’m black, too, though I’m African so my history and perspective are a little bit different (as African Americans are surprisingly quick to remind me). The bottom line is that we need to be able to engage with material, offensive or not, in order to examine our own histories and attitudes and extract valuable lessons about ourselves from them. It won’t be easy, but it’ll be RIGHT.

  • Paul

    Some very classic animation is being held captive by a live action movie that few care about. Disney should release the animated segments.

  • Mark Lansing

    It’s worth noting that the Joel Chandler Harris stories that were the basis of SONG OF THE SOUTH were written in African-American dialect; the filmmakers weren’t putting a stereotypical behavior into the mouths of the characters, but being accurate to Harris’ source material. And for good or ill, many African-Americans living in the deep South really did speak that way, between the facts that they were denied a classroom education in English and many Southerners, both black and white, speak with a broad accent. Spend some time down South and see for yourself.

    For me, what’s most curious about watching SONG OF THE SOUTH is the way the film deals with slavery … namely, it doesn’t. Uncle Remus and the other African-Americans in the story just live and work on the estate and plantation, and their status is left ambiguous. Everyone is happy and gets along fine, without anyone mentioning the sticky issues of class, property or human rights. Even GONE WITH THE WIND made clear that the slaves were slaves, while SONG OF THE SOUTH goes a considerable distance to avoid pointing out just what Uncle Remus and his friends really are in relation to the wealthy white family who supports them.

    Should SONG OF THE SOUTH be given a legit DVD release? Well, if FAREWELL, UNCLE TOM can be released on DVD in the US, I can’t for the life of me say why this should not be available. Besides, between bootleg DVD releases and various online sources, it’s not all that hard to see anyway. I’m reminded of what Bob Dylan said about the belated commercial release of his much-bootlegged “Albert Hall” concert of 1966 — he said he didn’t understand why they were finally releasing it, since it seemed like everyone already had a copy.

  • GG

    Pedro Nakama if you were making a joke, sorry it bombed. Oluseyi, keep your racial anxieties to yourself. And finally, I think they should release the film. Like any other movie people who want to see it will buy it. Folks who don’t won’t.

  • http://crabamoustache.deviantart.com/ Arnaud

    Marcus :

    “Song of the South was cleaned up and officially released in Europe–France more specifically. It was available at Disneyland, Paris, and is a region free disc.”

    Nope – urban legend ! A VHS has been released in the 90s but that’s all. I remember that guy who clamed to sell such a DVD but that was a bootleg.

  • ethan

    I’ve got the DVD for it, it’s nice, obviously a bootleg made from the LD that came out in Japan, but it plays beautifully. You only get subtitles when they sing.

  • http://www.CastMemberConfidential.com Chris Mitchell

    Does anybody remember Sunflower from Fantasia? She was a little black centaur who served the white centaurs in the original version. Disney edited her out of the film in the re-release and home versions.

  • http://n/a Craig Andrews

    I think that Song Of The South should be combined with So Dear To My Heart, and released as part of the Disney Treasures tins, even if this would be an on-line only exclusive through Disney.com. The theme could be Disney’s boyhood life in Marceline, Missouri, and how his experiences came to influence his interests and choices of what stories to tell. An alternative audio commentary track explaining the history of the times depicted, and the history of the making of each film, can address concerns about the controversial nature of the Song Of The South material.

    Quite frankly, Disney was a sincere storyteller, compared to some of the “B” movie dreck that invariably makes it’s way to the video market, and that people seem to casually accept the existence of. Usually, the more that you try to bury a work of art, the more of an aura that it takes on. Getting it out in the open allows some people to move on.

    We’ve got a copy of the film, and admittedly it is not one of the best overall Disney works. But it should at least be available for viewing in a society that prides itself on freedom of expression.

  • Pedro Nakama

    “Pedro Nakama if you were making a joke, sorry it bombed. Oluseyi, keep your racial anxieties to yourself. ”

    Wait a minute GG….
    No sense of humor and in the animation industry? You must be part of management! ; )

  • Rio

    Pedro Nakama, for the record, your joke had me in stitches. Really funny.

  • Brian Kidd

    This is one of those cases wherein “Piracy” has benefited the film community at large. Disney has done their best to bury this film in the U.S., but animation fans and those who are simply curious about what all the hubbub is about have ensured that copies of the film are available to those who wish to see it. If the Disney corporation really has no intention of ever legitimately releasing the film, they should just “leak” a decent copy onto the Internet and at least let the film live on amongst film fans. They would have plausible deniability and true fans of Disney films would be able to see the film.

    I know. It will never happen. Still, a man can dream. Until such time as Disney decides to release the film, I’ll still have my personal copy to view.

    As for the film itself, I agree with those who say that it’s not overtly racist. It’s just a product of its time and should be viewed as such. I think the animated sections are some of the absolute funniest animation to ever come out of the studio, due in no small part to the fantastic voice actors. I rarely laugh out loud at Disney films, but SOTS is the exception.

  • http://drgrantz.deviantart.com/ revned

    I’ve got the solution, folks… Turner Classic Movies.

    Over the years TCM has shown many old movies with questionable racial content, such as “The Birth of a Nation” and “Gone With the Wind.” Recently they’ve been broadcasting many classic live-action Disney movies, including the live-action/animated “Bedknobs and Broomsticks.” TCM has the capabilities to show “Song of the South” and (with the help of TCM host Robert Osbourne) put the movie in proper context. This way, if anyone wants to own it, all they have to do is TiVo it or burn it to DVD… and if anyone tries to sell copies of the broadcast it’ll have ‘TCM.com’ on the screen every twenty minutes, as opposed to Japanese subtitles on every song.

    I find it ridiculous that Disney continues to deny the existence of “Song of the South” as a motion picture, yet they have no problem with making commemorative Br’er Rabbit pins and keeping Splash Mountain open at their theme parks.

    As for me, I’ve already got a DVD double-feature of “SotS” & “Coonskin” that I watch at least once a month or so.

  • Brad Constantine

    I only recently saw the black centaur cut from Fantasia and I was shocked and very disappointed. It was as terrible of a stereotype as you could get.I was also a little surprised that it looked so much like a Warner design (as compared to the other centaurettes). But Song of the South is not even in that league. The term “tar baby” will obviously need to go…that may be the whole deal right there. But in our house, we discuss it, and learn from it while we enjoy it. There is a lot of love and respect and trust shared amongst the characters in Song of the South…that sort of thing should be shared and enjoyed by all people. The absolute peak of Disney animation IMO.

  • http://tsutpen.blogspot.com s.w.a.c.

    Who needs a DVD? I just put my Splash Mountain beach towel on the clothesline on a windy day, and as it flaps around in the breeze I can swear the characters are moving.

  • J. Williams

    It’s fascinating to know most of you think nothing of movies reinforcing insulting caricatures and portrayals of blacks. Anything to entertain some, I guess.

  • http://aol.com Kay

    I have to say I am mad at all of the old folks out there, who saw “Song Of The South” in 1946, in which I was not even around to see it! I should be lucky to even be around, but I’m not! I haven’t seen it before, and the only sources left over of it that I have are a book, a little, golden record, and a casette of Uncle Remus that had been recorded on an APH tape recorder! I have also to say that I have been on Splash Mountain, which is my only, other source left! Not having seen this film, I have no clue as to why the “Tar Baby” story is such a big problem! Though, having read the Uncle Remus book, I have not ever heard any kind of racial conflict between any of the critters! I have not heard of one to say the “N” word! Oh, how I would have loved to have been around in the year of 1946 to have gone over to my favorite theater with all my relatives and gone to see “Song Of The South” and having left the theater, singing “Zip A Dee Doo Dah” and having met all of the cast! Being able to see this film would mean the whole world to me! Having it released would be like I have won $100000000! It would actually be the next, best thing to winning that! I am not afraide of “Song Of The South” and neither should other people because there are a lot of movies that really do have racial characters! For example, “The Rosa Parks” story! And maybe, there is not so, much a collection of today’s movies, involving racial conflict with color, but some, involving racial conflict with disabilities! Take, for example, “The Story Of Ray Charles” is about Ray’s whole life and how he became blind at a young age, and he was sent to a special school just for the Blind because people thought he wouldn’t belong in a regular school, but he started playing the piano, singing with other people. So really, it should prove that even the Blind can do anything, if they just put their minds to it. It really hurt me, personally, when he was sent to a different school for people that are blind and as a blind person, like me, it really breaks my heart to hear anybody say, “you are blind.” and “you should live in a group home.” This was actually said to me when I was first born. Society is so, stupid! They have no right to treat different people badly because of their disabilities, or height, or color, or anything of that matter! Bring back “Song Of The South!”

  • http://aol.com Kay

    Zip A Dee Doo Dah! Zip A Dee Yay! When they release “Song Of The South,” it will be a wonderful day!

  • http://aol.com Kay

    Plenty of sunshine will come my way! When it’s released, it’s a Zip A Dee Day! Mr. Bluebird on my TV! It’s the truth! It’s actch’ll! “Song Of The South” is satisfactch’ll! Zip A Dee Doo Dah! Zip A Dee Yay! Wonderful feelin’ when it comes today!

  • http://aol.com Kay

    Please notify me as to what year, what day, and how soon that the “Song Of The South” will be released on to DVD, Blue-Ray, VHS, whatever. I don’t care! Like counting down to Summer, when you notify me, give me a count-down every day, counting down to the day that “Song Of The South” will be released. I will be checking my Emails, daily. My Email address is “[email protected]” to send me any questions, comments, or any, further information. Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • collectingbees

    I think one of the main things that we are missing when we are discussing this movie is that it was considered liberal for its time: you have Black actors and White actors touching, interacting in ways that you would not see in other movies. Disney even tried its best to take stereotypes out of this movie. But, in some places, he still failed. He made a movie about a white rich child whose only friends were poor, both Black and White. There are really important messages of love and tolerance in this movie over-shadowed by really, really tragically used stereotypes. The character acting of Johnny Lee, Nick Stewart and James Baskett are amazing.

    What really gets me is that Disney bans movies like this, and pretends that they never happened, when Peter Pan and Lady and the Tramp have really, really AWFUL American Indian and Asian Stereotypes. I am not saying that Black stereotypes are not bad. I am saying that things are only “not/ racist” when we want them to be, when it serves out purposes (and please, do NOT try and “explain” to me that “What Made the Red Man Red?” is “NOT racist”).

    I happen to be an American Indian person who has spent most of their life on the outside looking in, but it’s given me and interesting perspective. Instead of saying “Oh, it wasn’t MEANT to be racist *cough cough, Leonard Maltin*, just admit that it is. If we start banning one movie, there are other movies that should be perfect candidates to be banned, too, but never will be. (Racist or not, I am against banning movies or anything for that matter, because pretending it doesn’t exist does not make it, or the issues that surround it, go away).

  • Grayson

    I will always remember the first time I saw this film. My dad’s friend had a copy of it and I watched it that night. Also Coal Black is one of my favorite cartoons. I am very racially liberal and I have as big of a respect and appreciation for African-Americans as a white man can have and I have no doubt that these were just people trying to make funny cartoons and not political statements. Is this maybe am extension of the Clampett controversy? Has anyone bothered to look at Angel Puss, one of the most offensive cartoons ever made with the directorial credit of Chuck Jones? Also Jim Korkis is one of the greatest people I’ve ever met in animation.

  • http://http//??? Norma Hawthorne

    Hi, I was born 92 years and 8 months ago. I saw Song of the South many years ago. I would like to see it again. I used to do my housework singing Zippety Doo Dah but not anymore. I don’t do housework and neither do I sing. Let me see it again soon because who knows what is around the corner for aged persons like me?