by D.W. Lundberg

Friday, June 10, 2011


My continuing foray into Disney's fifty official Animated Classics. As always, don't hesitate to share your thoughts/memories/complaints in the comments section below. Links to previous entries have also been included below.

Title: Make Mine Music (1946)

The Plot: A collection of animated musical segments, with songs performed by The Andrews Sisters, Nelson Eddy, Benny Goodman and His Band, and others.

The Segments: "The Martins And The Coys," "Blue Bayou," "All The Cats Join In," "Without You," "Casey At The Bat," "Two Silhouettes," "Peter And The Wolf," "After You've Gone," "Johnny Fedora And Alice Blue Bonnet," "The Whale Who Wanted To Sing At The Met"

A Little History: The third Disney "package" film released during the 1940s. Most of Disney's staff had either been drafted into World War II or were busy making propaganda films for the U.S. government, so the remaining animators simply combined story ideas into one feature-length film. "Blue Bayou" was originally intended for Fantasia, scored at that point to Debussy's "Clair de lune"; all vocals in the Willie the Whale segment (tenor, baritone, bass and chorus) were performed by Nelson Eddy; and "The Martins And The Coys" was cut from the film's video release because of "graphic gunplay not suitable for children."

How It Broke New Ground: For "All The Cats Join In," a teenage girl strips out of her clothes to take a shower, though she's seen only in silhouette – a surprisingly risqué bit of animation for a Disney film. Some segments (including "Peter And The Wolf" and "The Whale Who Wanted To Sing At The Met") proved so popular they were later released separately.

How It Holds Up Today: Warning: Extreme drowsiness may occur. This isn't really a movie – it's a variety show, like pieces of a puzzle with edges that don't quite fit. (This time, Disney makes no apologies for the format, with zero attempt at connecting the pieces together.) Some of these are fun, like the outlines of live-action ballet dancers set against an animated background in "Two Silhouettes," or Sergei Prokofiev's "Peter And The Wolf," which identifies each character by musical instrument, or the anthropomorphic charms of "Johnny Fedora" and "The Whale Who Wanted To Sing," which actually tell a story with a beginning, a middle and an end. Too often, though, there's a segment with no point at all – "Blue Bayou," for one, which is nothing more than a string of pretty, watercolored images of empty marshland, climaxing with... two storks, flying off into the moonlight. (I think it was a mistake to cut "The Martins And The Coys" from the original lineup – you have to find it on YouTube – because it grabs your attention in a way that "Bayou" does not.) That's your typical "package" film in a nutshell: Too many fits and starts, better taken in bite-sized nuggets than as one anthological whole.

Grade: C 


Hold tight, Disney fans – there's more to come. Need to catch up? Click on the following for: Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo, Bambi, Saludos Amigos, and The Three Caballeros. Please comment!

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