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Old 03-28-2011, 04:18 PM   #1
SpaceDog SpaceDog is offline
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Default Song of the South - A Discussion

News today, not surprisingly Disney has no intention of releasing Song of the South on blu-ray/DVD.

https://www.blu-ray.com/news/?id=6093

I certainly understand Disney's decision not to publish this title. It makes perfect sense not to provide it as premiere title for children like they do with Mary Poppins or their animated line.

That said, I think it does make sense to release this film on one of their more adult labels - or license it to an outfit like Criterion.

The troubles with this film are well known, but to me hiding it doesn't fix it. If we bury the parts of our own history that we find to be distasteful, we won't remember what we've learned and why. I think it makes more sense to release this film fully restored to blu-ray - and craft the additional content to have a fully realized discussion about the good and bad of the film and race in america.

Imagine the film release with commentary by the likes of Dr. Cornel West. Collaborate with Disney historians who can illuminate why the project was one that Walt felt was a good idea at the time (and perhaps was well received at the time) but doesn't stand up to today's more enlightened morality.

We can best move forward from our mistakes when we own them. Surely the Disney corporation doesn't want to own this one, but I think something much better could become of it if we were able to look at it honestly and explore the issues rather than hiding from them.
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Old 03-28-2011, 09:45 PM   #2
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The film is fine. I wouldn't even say a mistake. We have a black in the lead role in 1946, which he received an honorary academy award. James Baskett deserves to be celebrated. We also have legendary black actress Hattie McDaniel. On top of that the stories come from African-American oral folklore. The best part about a blu-ray release could include a Joel Chandler Harris documentary talking about recording and sharing of this folklore, while inserting black folklorists to talk of the works.

Kids aren't going to see tones of racism. They will see the mean Favers brothers and Johnny's mother that just doesn't understand. Then they'll see Johnny (white boy) playing with Toby (black boy) and Johnny (white boy) caring about Uncle Remus (black man) and vice versa. It seems the only ones that might have a problem is the older generation that is into their 60s and 70s. If people can't get past the attitudes of 65 years ago, which is relaying stories from 75-80 years before that; then we haven't come very far at all. But then again it was re-released in theaters in 1986 and no one really cared.
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Old 03-29-2011, 01:24 PM   #3
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In 1986 we were a different society, Now a days it's all about being PC and not offending anyone. I am sure if Disney were to make an announcement of this movie coming to Blu-ray, within five minutes some "Suzie I Am Always Offended" would be all over the news claiming how horrible Disney is for releasing such a movie, spewing facts that are so wrong about it that would make anyone knowing about it laugh but that all the so call news programs would be plastering all over the screen 24/7 to get the ratings.

I don't blame Disney for not wanting to be part of this. The fact of the matter is, we are to stupid as a society to deserve a movie like this on home video.
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Old 03-29-2011, 01:57 PM   #4
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Bootleg copies of this are really easy to find. It deserves to be released uncut. The movie promotes racial harmony, but to all this political correctness today, classics like this get held back. This is an important work and one that deserves to be seen.
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Old 03-29-2011, 03:15 PM   #5
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Warner Bros. has been toying with the idea of releasing the censored eleven through the archive. Some sources say it's a done deal for 2011, but the NY Post says Warner back pedaled when asked about it. The censored eleven are far more insensitive than SOTS. If we see the censored eleven release, and nobody really raises a huge stink, maybe it will pave the way for Disney to do the right thing.
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Old 03-29-2011, 04:39 PM   #6
SpaceDog SpaceDog is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by P@t_Mtl View Post
In 1986 we were a different society, Now a days it's all about being PC and not offending anyone. I am sure if Disney were to make an announcement of this movie coming to Blu-ray, within five minutes some "Suzie I Am Always Offended" would be all over the news claiming how horrible Disney is for releasing such a movie, spewing facts that are so wrong about it that would make anyone knowing about it laugh but that all the so call news programs would be plastering all over the screen 24/7 to get the ratings.

I don't blame Disney for not wanting to be part of this. The fact of the matter is, we are to stupid as a society to deserve a movie like this on home video.
The tone of this feature is definitely not in keeping with today's values. PC is sort of a perjorative term for someone that acknowledges as much. It is not PC to bury such a feature. It is PC to release it and have a frank discussion about it.

I'll admit that I knew less about the "Uncle Remus" tales yesterday than I did today - and I'll admit that I misinterpreted the Tar Baby story in particular. But even for these reasons, it makes sense to discuss them and provide context. I'd say in addition to a commentary by someone like Dr. Cornel West, it might make sense to have an additional commentary by a historian or someone specifically familiar with the tales and their transcription by Joel Chandler Harris.

In a day when people want to edit Huckleberry Finn to make it more palatable for today's audience - this is a dialogue that is certainly overdue.

My point stands - nobody is being done a service by keeping this film hidden. Bringing it out into the light and making it available for audiences to understand and interpret is a far more honest and helpful strategy.
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Old 03-29-2011, 10:43 PM   #7
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this film should be released ASAP. It's a shame that it hasn't been released. I have viewed this film multiple times, and there is nothing offensive about the film. And if it's due to the slavery issue, face facts people, it's part of US history. Anything in history that is covered up or not discussed is what leads the way for a toleration society.
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Old 03-29-2011, 10:48 PM   #8
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So when would be a good time to release this ... never? Sounds like it's time for someone to show Robert Iger the exit door.
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Old 03-29-2011, 10:52 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdodolak View Post
So when would be a good time to release this ... never? Sounds like it's time for someone to show Robert Iger the exit door.
I think a better idea would be to circulate a petition to people who want this and get it as close to John Lasseter as possible, a nod from him would probably go a long way.
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Old 03-30-2011, 03:42 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by P@t_Mtl View Post
In 1986 we were a different society, Now a days it's all about being PC and not offending anyone. I am sure if Disney were to make an announcement of this movie coming to Blu-ray, within five minutes some "Suzie I Am Always Offended" would be all over the news claiming how horrible Disney is for releasing such a movie, spewing facts that are so wrong about it that would make anyone knowing about it laugh but that all the so call news programs would be plastering all over the screen 24/7 to get the ratings.

I don't blame Disney for not wanting to be part of this. The fact of the matter is, we are to stupid as a society to deserve a movie like this on home video.
I agree. "Suzie" will complain now only because Disney created a reality out of something that didn't exist. People can say they are now offended because Disney gave them a reason to be. Their offense wouldn't have existed without Disney denying the public the film for 30+ years.

Worse, media outlets (ie: "Today Show" & such) no longer serve any purpose other than giving a forum for people who complain. I wish those shows would just go away, but thats another matter.

But controversy aside, I don't see Disney getting to this title anyway. They haven't released any of their vintage classics on BD. Why start with "Song"? After we see other classics on BD like Love Bug, Mary Poppins, Swiss Family Robinson, Old Yeller, then a discussion of controversial titles, animated shorts, and other Disney vault stuff might be discussed with more immediacy.
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Old 03-30-2011, 04:30 AM   #11
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Song of the South is a tough film because as I understand it's racist. I would like to see it but have not being able to find it, because Disney has pulled it. I would like to see it released by Criterion or whoever, because as is said in the old adage "If we forget history we are doomed to repeat it." It's a shame Disney wants us to forget this movie.

Last edited by Canada; 03-30-2011 at 05:54 AM.
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Old 03-30-2011, 12:44 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpaceDog View Post
In a day when people want to edit Huckleberry Finn to make it more palatable for today's audience - this is a dialogue that is certainly overdue.

My point stands - nobody is being done a service by keeping this film hidden. Bringing it out into the light and making it available for audiences to understand and interpret is a far more honest and helpful strategy.
What I dislike about our new society and way of thinking is hidding everything about history, not talking about it.

For example, what is the big deal in showing kids Saving Private Ryan? Why hide this from them? Omaha Beach and the Normandy Invasion happen, it was real. Two of my uncles were 7 km to the north at Juno Beach with the Canadian army. Why sheltering them from it. Show it to them and explain to them why it happen, what were the reasons that cause all of these men to meet on those beaches on that June morning and kill each other. It's so sad how we just try to pretent that these things never happen, that we try to hide these moments in history from the kids. Teach them properly instead and maybe, just maybe they won't repeat the same stupid mistakes. No instead we prefer showing them ultra violent movies where there are no consequences and the hero never bleed's or get's hurt But a movie about afro-american at the time that they were slaves in America, oh no we can't let them see that!! Stupid society.
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Old 03-30-2011, 12:50 PM   #13
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Aside from the Tar Baby, I really don't remember anything so racist in the movie. I have a bootleg DVD of it (I think it was ripped from laserdisc). I guess I'll have to rewatch it. I have not seen the whole movie since I was a kid in the theater.
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Old 03-30-2011, 03:52 PM   #14
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as some have suggested on the home page, Disney should just sell or license it to another studio, then it could be released and they wouldn't have to have anything to do with it.
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Old 03-30-2011, 04:02 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meathead View Post
as some have suggested on the home page, Disney should just sell or license it to another studio, then it could be released and they wouldn't have to have anything to do with it.
I doubt this will ever happen
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Old 03-30-2011, 04:17 PM   #16
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This film plays quite regularly on UK TV (BBC2) without warnings, disclaimers, or (as far as I know) cuts. I have a DVD that I recorded off air a few years ago. Of course, Disney UK are too scared (or cheap?) to release anything in the UK that hasn't been sanctioned by Disney US though. Their policy is uneven, Dumbo hasn't been cut despite the Crows in it.

Last edited by agent999; 03-30-2011 at 04:20 PM.
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Old 03-30-2011, 04:28 PM   #17
SpaceDog SpaceDog is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by P@t_Mtl View Post
What I dislike about our new society and way of thinking is hidding everything about history, not talking about it.

For example, what is the big deal in showing kids Saving Private Ryan? Why hide this from them? Omaha Beach and the Normandy Invasion happen, it was real. Two of my uncles were 7 km to the north at Juno Beach with the Canadian army. Why sheltering them from it. Show it to them and explain to them why it happen, what were the reasons that cause all of these men to meet on those beaches on that June morning and kill each other. It's so sad how we just try to pretent that these things never happen, that we try to hide these moments in history from the kids. Teach them properly instead and maybe, just maybe they won't repeat the same stupid mistakes. No instead we prefer showing them ultra violent movies where there are no consequences and the hero never bleed's or get's hurt But a movie about afro-american at the time that they were slaves in America, oh no we can't let them see that!! Stupid society.
The especially crazy thing is that we have every capacity for choice when it comes to consumption of media today. There really is no need to fight against TV shows or movies that are contrary to your moral standing "to protect children" or otherwise. The simple fact of the matter is that you can change the channel, block the channel, not buy the DVD, not go to the theater.
If I had a child, I'd want him to read Huck Finn unedited in school where the context of the book could be discussed. I'd even be open to him seeing SPR in school - probably more towards high school mind you, but I think that's equally important.
I'm especially bothered by the movement to restrict schools from teaching material that a minority find objectionable. If you must - keep your children home - but they will likely be the lesser for it.

I'm getting dangerously off the path of the original discussion, and best not to get too political about this.
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Old 03-30-2011, 05:55 PM   #18
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I think Disney should release a region-free disc in a country like Japan where a negative reaction is unlikely (based on pervious home video releases in that country) and people could just order it from there. Has this been suggested to them?

If it was released here, "Suzie" would likely complain, but then find something else to get upset over the next day. There's so much more "offensive" content to protect children from these days besides one movie from the 40s.
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Old 03-30-2011, 06:20 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flanger-Hanger View Post
I think Disney should release a region-free disc in a country like Japan where a negative reaction is unlikely (based on pervious home video releases in that country) and people could just order it from there. Has this been suggested to them?

If it was released here, "Suzie" would likely complain, but then find something else to get upset over the next day. There's so much more "offensive" content to protect children from these days besides one movie from the 40s.
This is an interesting enough concept - but I think it's much more responsible and honest to release it here. Releasing it in Japan only comes back to the head in the sand hide from your past problem that I raise in my initial point.
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Old 03-30-2011, 06:22 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 3Stooges View Post
But controversy aside, I don't see Disney getting to this title anyway. They haven't released any of their vintage classics on BD. Why start with "Song"? After we see other classics on BD like Love Bug, Mary Poppins, Swiss Family Robinson, Old Yeller, then a discussion of controversial titles, animated shorts, and other Disney vault stuff might be discussed with more immediacy.
I agree that there are surely more priority titles to get into the pipeline, but someone ought to discuss a responsible way to release this title with the studio so that they don't ignore it when it would otherwise make sense to release it.
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