View Full Version : Song of the South
04-27-2001, 05:01 PM
Does anybody know if Disney will ever re-release the Song of the South: DVD or VHS? They are releasing a lot of them recently and we can't seem to find it anywhere.
04-27-2001, 05:05 PM
Originally posted by Gandalf
Does anybody know if Disney will ever re-release the Song of the South: DVD or VHS? They are releasing a lot of them recently and we can't seem to find it anywhere.
You can buy a LaserDisc edition as a Japanese import from various LD import sites. Also, amazon.co.uk sells it on VHS in the UK -- but only in PAL format. Peter Schneider, the (former?) head of Walt Disney Animation, said once that SotS was on "permanent moratorium" in the US -- in other words, don't look for a release any time soon.
Rumor has it that for the last contemplated re-release, Disney filmed James Earl Jones in an introductory sequence, explaining in what context the film was made and in what way various "issues" should be taken. Guess it wasn't enough. :confused:
04-27-2001, 05:08 PM
Thanks for the info. We haven't seen the movie in so long. Didn't realize it was so intense. What's PAL?
04-27-2001, 05:28 PM
I doubt that Song of the South will ever again see the light of day in the US. It's pretty loaded with values more reminiscent of turn of the century America than those of recent times.
04-27-2001, 06:35 PM
rlagow: So was WW2.
Ridiculous medling with history per usual.
Should AMC and Turner Classic ban Green Patsures?
Or maybe some of the old time All Black Westerns of the time? Gee..let's ban the entire Charlie Chan series because of Mantan Moreland? Or a white guy playing Chan? Or old movies where Italians are just Pizza Chefs or Mafioso...or all the cops and drunks are Irish...these movies may be behind the times but come on folks ban them and hide them in shame?
Times HAVE changed..and well they should have...BUT putting the past behind closed doors, which contained some wonderful performances by terrific actors who did the BEST they could and what they were ALLOWED to do is shameful.
Even many of todays top comic talent recognizes the contribution of fantastic comics like Mantan Moreland..who was effectively ostracized by activists for doing his job. The past is the past but it contains many treasures for us today. Song Of The South is one of them. Having seen it recently on a boot leg tape, it is NOT too strong or embarassing but a damn good show!
I was amazed that Disney created Splash Mountain based on a film they are ashamed to let anyone see.
The re-writing of History is one of the most dangerous aspects of this new enlightened PC atmosphere.
I think the idea of james Earl Jones setting up the film is a really good one...this IS one of Disney's best, warmest and funniest movies..based on old time childrens literature that had messages for the time and today. If I had a copy of this movie I'd make it available to everyone on this board who wanted it.
It's no accident Doobie named his web site after it or one of the best rides at DL is based on it. Everybody needs a Laughin' Place...no mater what Planet your on. ;)
04-27-2001, 06:57 PM
It's me again....What is PAL?
04-27-2001, 08:30 PM
PAL is the European Video format used in England, France and a couple of other countries over that a way. America, Japan and all other "Western Countries" use NTSC format. They are incompatible. Pal Videos use a different scan rate, a different power source for the TV Sets and a different code for the players to recognize. If you get a PAL tape, you would have to send it to a video house to have them convert it to NTSC. It is expensive and usually not worth the money. A friend in Paris got me the new Paris DL tape that they sell at the Paris Park. The only format the Park sells the tape in is PAL. Fortunately my friend works in the video business and had the tape converted for me. I plays very well.
Now I do have a copy of Song Of The South I coped from that Japanese Laser Disk that was mentioned earlier. It is in English with no subtitles except during the songs. There is no translation to Japanese for the songs so the subtitle the songs in Japanese whenever the songs are sung. It is not that distracting at all.
I make the same offer here that I made on the post yesterday about Country Bears. E-mail me for my address at:
and I will tell you how to get one for free.
It is a great movie and all who have never seen it should be required to watch it. It has some of the best Live Action/Animation scenes ever shot until Roger Rabbit came along. And it really isn't all that racist either. After all, the dolts in the movie are white and the man who saves the little boy (Played by a very young Bobby available who became Peter Pan for Disney by both being the model for and the voice of Peter in the animated classic) is Uncle Remus, a black slave! I cry every time I see the end of this movie. Tears of joy and happiness that the little boy is saved and then at the kicker ending when it all becomes real to Uncle Remus. I love this movie and wish to make it available to all who want it. Check out the thread about the Country Bears for my other tape offers.
04-27-2001, 08:32 PM
I don't know what happened in my last post, but the name of the young boy in Song Of The South who "grew up" to become Peter Pan is, of course, Bobby Driscoll.
And the thread about my tapes of the Bears is the one that is entitled "Conspiracy Theory..."
04-27-2001, 09:14 PM
I'm not my husband, but he told me about this after he went to a trade show as the MP Home Theater column editor:
He specifically asked the Buena Vista reps about SOTS and the possibility of it ever being released in the US. The response he got was emphatic: "It will NEVER happen."
Now, while we can be optimistic (heck, the MSEP--er-- DEP is coming back, they've shortened "forever" in the past....) but at least for the reasonable future, I doubt we'll see it.
Disney Fan Matt
04-27-2001, 09:25 PM
I think that they should remake Song of the South and perhaps turn it into a story based on the characters of Brer Rabbit, Brer Bear and Brer Fox. basically take out all of the allegedly objectionable slavery scenes and just make an animated movie with Brer Rabbit. it could simply follow the storyline of Splash Mountain, with the other scenes from the story that the ride left out. I think the story and music of Brer Rabbit is one of the best disney has to offer. I hope they act on this!
04-28-2001, 07:45 AM
Objectionable Slavery scenes?
The movie is about a Story Teller..a kind warm hearted man who tells stories...the fact that he is a Slave and not a Bus Driver or Accountant is due to the times he lives in..it is the background (way in the background)NOT the focus...and one might consider these are FOLK Tales...and Folk Tales have never been politically correct nor should they be.
This movie is not being held out because of its actual content...but because of timidity. It is with out question censorship of a work of art.
How dangerous is this movie? Well, when I was a little kid it was my favorite..and I used to wish Remus was MY Uncle.
As to remaking this CLASSIC in a politically correct manner, I wouldn't put it past this bunch. But a remake should be able to be positioned AGAINST an original.
Let's remake the Venus de Milo with arms...but protect the public and HIDE the original..who would care?
Give me a break.
Any attempt to remake Song Of The South would be weak at best and a more insideous embarassment.
04-28-2001, 08:56 AM
The above links to a rather scholarly review from 1955 of The ORIGINAL book and SOURCE material for the Movie.
Legends Of The Old Plantation was a collection of Folk Tales written in 1881 by Joel Chandler Harris.
Understand that this review was written in 1955 before certain terms were instituted. However..one CAN get the IMPORTANCE of this work and these stories to American History.
Much has been made of the 'dialect' of Uncle Remus...being derogitory etc. however....to quote the article...
*"It might be remarked here that in a number of ways the Uncle Remus material is a unique literary and folklore phenomenon. It was compiled, as Harris himself often said, "accidentally." Despite the fact that folklorists all over the world have been intensely interested in the Tales, the author professed to have no more knowledge of folklore than "the man in the moon." It is furthermore unique because the stories arc not just another collection of "folktales" but represent also a vast storehouse of information that deserves detailed comment in at least six different fields: (I) linguistic (specifically dialectal) (2) comparative literature (how the tales compare with and differ from other famous animal stories - Aesop's Fables, the Panchatantra, Les Fables of LaFontaine, etc., (3) artistic (the charm, wit, and satire, devastating but delicious, on the foibles of the human race), (4) psychological (presentation of ***** philosophy), (5) historical-sociological (a revealing portrait of a characteristic American social institution - the Southern Plantation "befo' de war, endurin' er de war, en atterwards,") and of course (6) folkloristic."*
If you read THAT...now read this....
*"One of the most interesting aspects of the Uncle Remus material is the little known fact that its "***** dialect" is not a linguistic creation of Southern colored people at all, as is commonly assumed. It is rather the transplanted forms of provincial dialects of Southwest England of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries brought to this country by the British colonists and adopted and retained by the *****es. Apparently neither Chase nor Houghton Mifflin is aware of this elementary and fundamental fact, as there is no mention of it in the text or in the impressionistic publishers' blurb."*
Thus while certain words of the above paragraph are now obsolete..the thrust of the piece is intact..The Dialect is of a British derivitive and in no way should be subject to censoreship..it is what it is..what it WAS.
This is the link to the FULL site which contains MUCH information on these splendid tales that rival Aesop in more ways than one.
There is no doubt that there is sensitive material involved, however..Song Of The South is not some racist dictum but an important piece of American History and the film was THE ONLY exposure most Americans ever had to this wonderful treasure trove.
OH! And I just found this Australian site which gets into the movie and its relation to the RIDE Splash Mountain.
It includes Disney books and games and much else on this great movie. AND how to get yours!
04-29-2001, 05:59 PM
It's only a matter of time before Song Of The South gets re-released.
Disney knows there's a demand for the movie, which means there's an oppertunity to make money.
Eventually a fully restored edition will be released. I doubt they'll let it sit in a vault and fall apart
That film's worth money. Something Disney sure could use right now.
04-30-2001, 01:02 PM
Well, a certain friend of mine obtained a copy of this movie for me. I hadn't seen it since '86 or so, when they released it last.
It is great. Technicolor photography, good story, and an amazing mix of live action and animation.
Despite the fact that we all talk about these types who are offended by the movie, I've never seen or heard from these people in real life. I half think Disney's afraid of a group that doesn't even exist.
There is nothing offensive about the movie. Are they even slaves? I was under the impression that it was post-war, but I could be wrong. Great acting by Hattie McDaniel as Johnny's 'aunt', and of course Uncle Remus.
The only redeeming characters in the movie are black! The white people are the ones who are all screwed up.
It's a crying shame that this movie isn't available on some 2-disc DVD with tons of extras. It's very offensive to me that Disney chooses to play thought police and decide what we should see and think.
I wonder what Roy thinks about this? And I find it strange that they based one of their most popular rides on a movie they'd rather sweep under the rug.
If Gone With the Wind can be shown once a week on cable somewhere, then why can't this see the light of day? There is no racism in SotS. I don't even think the execs have ever seen it.
04-30-2001, 01:21 PM
I wonder what ROY thinks about ANYTHING!
He is either on another planet..or totally fed up..or feels he has no say..or what?
ROY! Come out come out where ever you are!
And when you do speak to a reporter or columnist you trust (and who knows what he/she is doing) PLEASE put it on the line.
Oh...well there's the answer...too many freakin' lawyers for ROY to say anything truthful.
**"Despite the fact that we all talk about these types who are offended by the movie, I've never seen or heard from these people in real life. I half think Disney's afraid of a group that doesn't even exist."**
I couldn't agree more!
05-01-2001, 09:13 AM
The NAACP has been on record against Song of the South since 1946. But in all that time the only documtation of any protests against the film (that could be found by the author of a recent book on animation censorship) were at one major event in New York on its original release and one picket at a Venice CA art theatre in 1981.
That's because the film is not at all racist. The blacks are the wise and sympathetic characters against the patronizing and short-sighted whites in the film. The story hinges on the bond between a black man and a white boy and how the boy is inspired by the African-American mythology of Br'er Rabbit. This is racism...?
After much research and questioning, the only objections on this film that can be uncovered is that it is so beautful in its presentation that it glorifies the plantation system and presents idyllic master-slave relationships. But the film takes place after slavery is abolished (Remus is about to leave at the end because of his mistreatment by Miss Sally) and though there are some period stereotypical cliches present - - for its time it was rather progressive (certainly moreson than the ever available Gone With the Wind). Walt even hired some liberal guns to retool the script and advise on presentation (though not all of their input was used).
The film was put away during the civil rights era and Disney announced that it would no longer be shown in 1970... yet in 1972 (probably needing money from the investment in WDW), the film was reissued to what was then the company's highest gross ever for a rerelease. The world didn't stop turning... in fact I remember no controvery at all. The film continued to make money in 1981 and 1986 and inspired the Disneyland attraction. It was released on video in Europe and Asia. Still no controvery.... Except behind the scenes. The NAACP has allegedly put pressure of a boycott on Disney if they release the picture.
Still, the film is worth money to the company - - alot of money. So... The film had been restored and a new digital video master prepared, with a contextualizing piece by James Earl Jones shot for the video and a new animated John Henry short animated for a potential release package when Disney timidly decided to test the waters with its critics perhaps at the insistence of Sydney Poitier (who is on the board of directors and the executive review subcommitee). So the film was reportedly run by such "unbiased" parties as poetess Maya Angelou (who instsed she would have to support a boycott) and Roger Ebert (who thinks the film should only be available for film crtics and students). Can we say elitism or fascism?
The fact is - - this film is history, both cultural and artistic. We cannot culturally survive in a world where all historical amterials and intellectual property rights are controlled by major corporations with political sensitivites and are allotted only to elite gropus. We have to see these things for ourselves - - otherwise supression of film is no different than book banning or burning. Art must be seen, disgested and discussed - - it is not just "product".
Many of the most vocal "sensitive" executives of the WDC (who act as if you are talking about Amos and Andy or Uncle Tom's Cabin) have never seen Song of the South, they only react with politically correct apprehension.
Yet all of these sensitive and caring individuals are about to fire 4000 real people in order to save $ 250 million during the fiscal year. The release of Song of the South on domestic home video would likely bring in $ 200 million to the company... thereby saving many of those jobs, right? This is true fiscal irresponsibilty. Where is the real sensitivity to those who will suffer without their jobs? Walt reportedly wouldn't let daughter Diane work as a teen because she might take a job from someone who really needed it. Now that's practical compassion, not just an abstract agenda. Save the jobs and release the film.... you'll all get a bonus too! And any picketing will only result in free publicity for Uncle Remus and bigger bonuses.
05-01-2001, 10:02 AM
MerlinJones..your posts are much welcome.
One picket? That is typical! Small body, big mouth.
Like I mentioned above..when I was a 'white' kid growing up..I wished Uncle Remus was my uncle..so the effect was decidedly positive and enriching for me to see this movie at that time. Such a warm positive character can do much to dispel the garbage from the 'haters'.
I've had enough of the Political Correct way of thinking..which is NOT thinking but knee jerking with out facts or information.
Thanks again. Good post!
05-01-2001, 10:31 AM
I agree with DoodleDuck(A.E.)-- that was a great post, MerlinJones.
And I most especially agree with the part that people who are upset about this movie probably haven't even seen it.
As for Roger Ebert-- what's up with that? Only CRITICS OR STUDENTS? He doesn't trust the rest of us? Puh-lease. Golly, gee, let's not give the "regular" people a chance to think for themselves. Who knows what THAT will lead to!
05-01-2001, 10:52 AM
Well..the whole purpose OF a critic is to think for us.
Not surprised at that attitude from their ranks.
I AM surprised that it is Ebert who has that angle since he is such a genre fan. I intend to E-mail his sorry butt on that one!
The other thing is The National Association For The Advancement Of Colored People, has in its own name a piece of the politically IN-correct past.
African Americans also have a right to see themselves as portrayed in a positive light as in the Remus Character. Warm, intelligent, POSITIVE & caring rather than some Crack Selling Foul Mouthed Pimp character that shows up OFTEN in modern day movies. Why don't they scream about that nonsense???
The truth is..the real concerned African Americans DO...we just don't hear much about that. What we hear of is how the Corporate world buckles and cringes at the sign of a lone picket or some absurd knee jerk reaction to NOTHING. That's news! That's a sound bite! That's a 9 second piece of video.
What is needed are folks at the top who 'get it' and have the cajones to do what's right for everybody.
That would almost pre-clude the PC bunch from thier miniscule bit of power...from being elite and watching over the rest of us. P.C=P.U.
05-01-2001, 11:31 AM
Thanks to all the great information posted on the Song of the South, we now are the proud owners of the video. We just watched it last night and thought it was a beautiful film. We aren't "people of color" (what IS the pc way to say it without allegedly offending anyone) but didn't really see anything that bad in the storyline and character portrayals. Disney could make a mint off of re-releasing it! Thanks again everyone.
05-01-2001, 12:20 PM
Welcome to the club! Now you know what all the film references on Splash are all about!
05-01-2001, 12:29 PM
>>As for Roger Ebert-- what's up with that? Only CRITICS OR STUDENTS? He doesn't trust the rest of us? Puh-lease. Golly, gee, let's not give the "regular" people a chance to think for themselves. Who knows what THAT will lead to! <<
It boggles the mind that Ebert, tireless advocate of the "A" rating that would allow adults to freely view uncompromised material, would suggest such a thing... but there it was in his "Movie Answer Man" column about six months ago. How can you ****ht for freedom of expression on one hand and suppression of historic materials on another? Pure elitism.
"You can't run away from your troubles, there ain't no place that far." - - Uncle Remus
05-01-2001, 01:57 PM
"I'm gonna knock his head cleeeean off." Brear Bear.
05-01-2001, 09:04 PM
"Those who do not learn history are bound to repeat it."
Film versions of Oliver! showing Fagan as a greedy, thieving jewish person are not banned, yet SotS is? If we do not remind current generations of the troubles and cultural misunderstandings which have gone before them, do we not run the risk of allowing them to do the same? How is a child to learn that stoves are hot if no one is willing to tell them? Likewise, how will they learn that certain ways of treating people are wrong if they do not see the danger inherent in doing so?
This has been one of the most interesting and meaningful threads I've come across, but I would like to hear from some African Americans on this subject - Are you offended? Do you think it should be shown?
05-04-2001, 09:10 AM
If we do not remind current generations of the troubles and cultural misunderstandings which have gone before them, do we not run the risk of allowing them to do the same? How is a child to learn that stoves are hot if no one is willing to tell them? Likewise, how will they learn that certain ways of treating people are wrong if they do not see the danger inherent in doing so?
Couldn't agree more. Americas treatment of first, black, chinese, japanese, irish, mexican (the list goes on...) americans has at times been disgraceful. We can't be afraid to view accounts of those treatments or we will never learn. This Disneyized version of fables told by a man in reconstruction America can teach and is entertaining. The fact he is black, was/is a slave, are truths of the time. We can't hide from that or Hollywoods portrayl of the time. For Disney to not release Song Of The South fearing reaction to either of these shows they don't believe the public is compassionate enough to handle our own past, warts and all.
My soapbox is crumbling beneath my feet. Gotta go.