Author Topic: Make Mine Music (1946) + Fun and Fancy Free (1947)  (Read 12902 times)

1SO

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Fun and Fancy Free (1947)
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2009, 07:18:19 PM »
It's worth mentioning that there's a film missing from our Marathon.  in between Make Mine Music and Fun and Fancy Free, Disney released a live-action/animation hybrid entitled Song of the South.  In that film, the animation took the supporting role, but stole the show with the classic Disney characters of Brer Rabbit, Brer Fox and Brer Bear.  It also contained a little bluebird on your shoulder and that year's Oscar winning Best Song, "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah".

The film was a success, paving the way for Walt Disney to keep going through live-action entertainment.

I know weíre all dragging our bodies through this section of the marathon, so itís more than a little disheartening when the Title Card reads ďEdgar Bergen and Dinah Shore in Fun and Fancy FreeĒ.

Jiminy Cricket returns and of course itís great to see him again, but itís obvious from early on that Cliff Edwards still provides the voice, this isnít our same rough-edged pal from Pinocchio.  Itís as if he was prescribed a high dosage of lithium since we saw him last.

I was confused by the fact that I had first watched this film just over a year ago.  While I remember Mickey & the Beanstalk quite well, I had absolutely no recollection of Bongo.

Bongo is like early drafts from Dumbo mixed with early drafts from Bambi.  The events are simply Disney repeating themselves (twitterpated again?) with a much reduced quality in animation, depth, insight and emotional payoff.

5:08 into Bongo are 2 chipmunks who are NOT Chip & Dale, but very much resemble Chip & Dale.  C&D had already made their debut in the short film Private Pluto in 1943.

Worst Moment: The Love Song.  Bad Song.  Lame animation.  I think it may have inspired the "Pleasure Town" love scene in Anchorman.

Best Shot: The angry Lumpjaw who takes down trees as he walks.

I think the low point of Bongo for me is when his girlfriend (Lulubelle) hits him, to spur him on.  I was very disinterested.  Bongo thinks sheís turned on him, So she does it again and again, almost the the point of tears.  I had to say this about a cartoon, but I was completely lost as to the motivation.  Then she hits the big bear by accidentÖ and he falls completely in love with her.  (A misguided message about marital abuse?)  Thatís followed by the completely creepy shot of the others bears coming down from the trees and gathering around like they hope to take part in the upcoming orgy.

This odd behavior is explained in the song "A Bear Says it With a Slap."  I can't help thinking this explanation should have come much earlier.

Liked during the fight when it rained bears on top of Lumpjaw.

The first half mercifly ends and the Up With People Jiminey Cricket Musical Parade continues with a party across the way.

Itís only further insult to the ending of Three Caballeros, that this party isnít the low point of the marathon so far.  This 5 minute segment, if released today, would be crucified as one of the worst scenes of the year.  But we hold out because we know Mickey, Goofy and Donald are coming.

The sole reason to remember Fun and Fancy Free is the final segment, Mickey and the Beanstalk.  This isnít a great, classic sequence, but itís great too see these Disney legends putting on a show.

Iíd love to hear other opinions on the narration.  Itís primarily by Edgar Bergen, but thereís a constant stream of wisecracks from his dummy companion, Charlie McCarthy.  While I found the jokes to be terrible in general, I have to admit I did laugh atÖ

EDGAR: All was misery, misery, misery
CHARLIE: Just like the 8th Grade

EDGAR: This was once Happy Valley
CHARLIE: Now itís Gruesome Gulch

They donít even get a momentum going yet and the movie cuts back to the Dummy Party.  My heart sank.  Sadly, this will happen again.  The reason for this is purely financial.  Live action was cheaper than animation Ė so much so that Disney could easily afford the special effects on the few occasions when the two would mix on screen.

Fun and Fancy Free marks Jim Macdonald's debut as the voice of Mickey Mouse.  Until then, Walt had provided the voice of his beloved character with only occasional help.  But by now Walt, a heavy smoker his entire life, felt he was incapable of providing the right falsetto voice.

The segment finally kicks in with Goofy & Donaldís food duet.  And the night of the growing beanstalk may be the most professional segment of the film.  From there, the film is passible but coasting painfully on the backs of the stars.

Enough already.  I'm ready to just move on.

7. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
10. Bambi
14 Pinocchio
20. Fantasia
21. Dumbo
36. Saludos Amigos
38. Make Mine Music
39. Fun and Fancy Free
40. The Three Caballeros

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FLYmeatwad

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Re: Make Mine Music (1946) + Fun and Fancy Free (1947)
« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2009, 11:11:07 PM »
I'll be getting to these films at some point this week.

Bill Thompson

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Re: Make Mine Music (1946) + Fun and Fancy Free (1947)
« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2009, 09:15:15 AM »
Finally got around to these, first up we have Make Mine Music,

Quote
Thatís not to say that everything in Make Mine Music falls short of the mark. I happened to be a big fan of the Benny Goodman and Andrews Sisters segments. While many others appear to be enchanted with Casey At Bat, Willie the whale or Peter and the Wolf, I wasnít as taken with any of those segments as I was with the jazz cats or Johnnie and Alice. However, even my enjoyment of those segments speaks to the fundamental uneven nature of Make Mine Music. Those two segments stand out above all others, and the rest of the segments come across as anywhere from good to dull and boring. Make Mine Music never builds any momentum, itís hard to fall in love with a movie that canít sustain your interest from segment to segment. I needed to love Make Mine Music, but I had trouble even liking it in parts, just like a bad first date.

Find the rest here.

Rankings:
1) Fantasia (1940)
2) Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs (1937)
3) Bambi (1942)
4) Dumbo (1941)
5) Pinocchio (1940)
6) The Three Caballeros (1944)
7) Saludos Amigos (1942)
8) Make Mine Music (1946)

Bill Thompson

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Re: Make Mine Music (1946) + Fun and Fancy Free (1947)
« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2009, 09:45:46 AM »
Film #2,

Quote
There are two stories in Fun & Fancy Free, but they are both interchangeable. Obviously one will resonate more than the other, but thatís no slight on Bongo. Itís merely a fact that any story that includes Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy together on an adventure will be the highlight of the movie. I found both stories to be a lot of fun, cute in places, lighthearted throughout and enjoyable to take in. Still, I enjoyed the adventures of Mickey, Donald and Goofy more than I did the travails of Bongo, but how can any bear hope to beat the duck, the mouse, and the whatever the heck Goofy is?

Read the rest, here.

Rankings:
1) Fantasia (1940)
2) Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs (1937)
3) Bambi (1942)
4) Dumbo (1941)
5) Pinocchio (1940)
6) Fun & Fancy Free (1947)
7) The Three Caballeros (1944)
8) Saludos Amigos (1942)
9) Make Mine Music (1946)

1SO

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Re: Make Mine Music (1946) + Fun and Fancy Free (1947)
« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2009, 10:30:57 AM »
Read both reviews and I think what may be holding back the marathon right now is that these films give us so little to chew on and mull over.  Perhaps things will pick up again once we hit Cinderella.  (Although Ichabod is a real return to some good classic stuff.)

Another thing Bill is you don't even mention the live-action stuff in Fancy Free, which really took a lot away from the heart of the film for me.

But I am glad to see Bill and FLY, still taking part in the marathon.  I thought it was dead in the water, but maybe the marathon will continue (very behind schedule...but that's okay.)
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Bill Thompson

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Re: Make Mine Music (1946) + Fun and Fancy Free (1947)
« Reply #15 on: June 16, 2009, 12:34:38 PM »
Another thing Bill is you don't even mention the live-action stuff in Fancy Free, which really took a lot away from the heart of the film for me.

It didn't affect the film that much for me, I actually enjoyed it for the most part. I looked at that as a storyteller's interlude, and as long as they were funny, I thought they were, I was okay with them.

FLYmeatwad

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Re: Make Mine Music (1946) + Fun and Fancy Free (1947)
« Reply #16 on: June 16, 2009, 07:35:25 PM »
I'm in for the long haul! I'll get to these at some point this week. Currently priority for me goes...

1. King of Comedy
2. Jimmy Neutron
3. The Mission
4 and 5. These 2
6. Mandrake's dictation
7 and 8. Clovis' dictation

FLYmeatwad

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Re: Make Mine Music (1946) + Fun and Fancy Free (1947)
« Reply #17 on: June 21, 2009, 11:02:48 AM »
Heh, guess Jimmy and The Mission get the shaft again, I'm starting the first of these two right now. We have another one of these faux Fantasia's after these two right? Before the Ichabod and Mr. Toad one. I may or may not be including some thoughts on Song of the South as well.

FLYmeatwad

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Re: Make Mine Music (1946) + Fun and Fancy Free (1947)
« Reply #18 on: June 21, 2009, 01:52:44 PM »
Going to keep this one mostly quick, I think.

Make Mine Music - Well, despite enjoying the two previous entries in the Disney Animation catalog, and thus the marathon so far, the comparisons that this film draws to the atrocious Fantasia had me worrying as I began the film. Not more than two minutes in were all fears completely shattered as the brilliantly diabolical segment "The Martins and Coys" began playing. The film immediately establishes itself as a unique entry in the Disney compendium and proves as it goes on that this film is everything that Fantasia could ever aspire to be; the film provides structure. Switching musical styles from short to short with a masterful hand, Disney provides some breath taking animation variation that the film's make up really allows for, which is great to see because it really demonstrates the range of the animator. Song after song roll by with beauty and splendor, each accompanied by a fitting sketch that helps provide some concrete ideas for the film to work with. All in all it's mostly simplistic fun, I can agree with that, but if we take this film purely as escapist animation, something that the opening and closing shorts seem to challenge, I really don't think there's been a better film I've seen up to this point in time. I'm usually not one to simply go for fun, and ultimately my numerical rating will evidence that, but this film is an enjoyable ride from character to character and story to story that I would be happy to take time and time again.

Let's start with the successful segments, which are the majority of them, so we'll probably be here for a while. As T.O. would say, get your popcorn ready. The stories here are all familiar, the concept of the Martins and Coys sketch is apparently a retelling of a simplistic tale, but as the segments opens with a gaggle of lushes lounging about with shotguns in hand as the upbeat music played in the background and the vocalist began kicking in the film becomes engrossing and captivating. Perhaps the most beautiful shot was of the men all floating up to heaven and eventually settling in on rain clouds before the film unexpectedly continues along to chronicle the marriage of the surviving members. It's nothing mind shattering, but it's a delightfully dark segment with a nice touch of black comedy, which I can appreciate. The Blue Bayou segment had a Fantasia feel to it, putting forth a graceful beauty in animation and not sustaining too much of a narrative, but the song is short and serves as a nice transition to the "All the Cats Join In" segment. This part is delightful, channeling some of the active animator of classic shorts and the previous two films in the Studio's repertoire. The animation is minimal, but it works really well with the song and is a fun time. The two most famous segments are next up, "Casey at the Bat" which provides a classic story set to traditional animation before it really picks up towards the end. The transitional sequences of the children playing followed by the beautiful thunderstorm is breathtaking and really effective, though certainly a bit predictable for the many who have heard the story before. Next comes another segment apparently axed from Fantasia, the "Peter and the Wolf" part that, quite wisely, takes a classic score and provides information for the audience to work with when watching the segment. The explanation of which instruments were supposed to represent what, something that would not have been clear otherwise, was a great idea, and the narration added humor that the short simply did not possess on its own.

The final two segments are, arguably, the film's highest points. The Johnny Fedora and Alice Blue Bonnet is incredibly animated and the song is wonderfully performed. Catchy and upbeat, but downtrodden and dreary when needed, the music really takes center stage in the final two shorts. The romance is generic in the first short, but it works on mostly all levels. Johnny's isolation, eventual freedom, and eventual downturn hit all the right notes and provide the emotional investment on all fronts needed for such an outlandish concept to work. Then the whale segment happens and that brilliantly diabolical segment that started things off is cranked up about ten notches as the fable of the singing whale takes center stage. The short is funny, the best use of humor in the film comes in the two groups of scholars debating the idea of a singing whale, and very uplifting as we watch Willy swim off to pursue his dream after signing a nice song for his aquatic friends. The audition sequence is great and the story of Willy is wondrous, until the rug is pulled out from under the audience's feet in such an unexpected fashion that the film's merits are immediately raised. The shot of Willy being struck is wonderfully tragic and the conflicting joy and sorrow in the final shot is poetic. Truly an accomplishment on all fronts.

The film contains a few bad segments, even in the fun, escapist sort of way. "Without You" is slightly interesting, but by comparison to the rest of the film it is really weak and mostly fails to engage. The "Two Silhouettes" part is fun for about a minute, and I didn't mind the use of live action because I felt it blended well with the animation, but it does wear on the eyes and ears after a couple of minutes of the ballet. The animated instruments of "After You've Gone" are mostly hollow as well, failing to cause any laughs and only mildly engaging from a purely visual level. Like said in the Peter and the Wolf segment, "Imagination is a wonderful thing, but sometimes it gets carried away." That seems to be the biggest problem in these three poor segments. While the segments are admirable, they are weak points. Still, as a whole, Make Mine Music is, at its worst, fun and silly escapist animation at its finest given the time period, and I really do feel that the first, penultimate, and final segments all elevate the film into worthwhile territory. Once again I am happy this marathon is happening because this is truly a wonderful surprise and, ultimately, proves to me that a concept like Fantasia can work if the proper elements are used. Make Mine Music may not be one of Disney's finest films, but it certainly is one of the studio's most underrated.

B-/B or 3.48943208143275273502313

Make Mine Music achieves an 8.2 out of 17, with 0 being my memory of a specific Disney film that will be discussed at some point in the near future Fantasia, 8 being my recollection of another specific film in this marathon that will be revealed when it has been watched, and 17 representing how great Hercules is based on my most recent watching, which was likely over the summer, or winter break.

Currently in the marathon the rankings go as...

1. Bambi - (16.3/17)
2. Dumbo - (14.9/17)
3. Pinocchio - (13.3/17)
4. Make Mine Music - (8.2/17)
5. Saludos Amigos - (7.7/17)
6. The Three Caballeros - (6.66/17)
7. Snow White - (2.5/17)
8. Fantasia - (0/17)

Bill Thompson

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Re: Make Mine Music (1946) + Fun and Fancy Free (1947)
« Reply #19 on: June 21, 2009, 02:37:18 PM »
Make Mine Music is essentially a couple of good segments, but all the genius, innovation and amazing animation from Fantasia has been removed.