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-   -   Disney keeps killing movie mothers (http://message.snopes.com/showthread.php?t=26965)

snopes 08 March 2008 07:23 PM

Disney keeps killing movie mothers
 
Ever since Bambi's mum hit the clover in 1942, Disney, in particular, has been giving mothers the flick from their scripts, even if they existed in the source material.

The move provides an adversity in the plot for the central (young) character. Mother characters, by nature, elicit too much strength. By being there as the one to run to when things go wrong they steal the thunder.

Much easier to kill them off - the earlier the better - and let the audience concentrate on the child.

http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599...007146,00.html

para1 08 March 2008 09:47 PM

Don't the Shrek movies still include Fiona?

Still, Bambi, Cinderella, Snow White, Ariel, Pochahontas and Jasmine had no mothers.

Auntie Witch 08 March 2008 09:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by para1 (Post 537940)
Don't the Shrek movies still include Fiona?

Still, Bambi, Cinderella, Snow White, Ariel, Pochahontas and Jasmine had no mothers.

Shrek isn't Disney.

Ryda Wong, EBfCo. 08 March 2008 10:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by para1 (Post 537940)
Don't the Shrek movies still include Fiona?

As noted, Shrek != Disney. Even if it did, I don't think that's a valid counterpoint in that Fiona is a primary charechter.

101 Dalmations had Perdita (sp?) survive. After dropping a litter of 99 BYB puppies. :eek:

And Mary Poppins, which, IMHO, is one of Disney's best films in terms of its social ethics, had a surviving mother.

Still, the trend is rather unmistakable, especially in Fairy Tale based films. Of course, the death of the mother is a trope in Fairy Tales to begin with.

zephyra 08 March 2008 10:42 PM

I ran across a list of all the Disney animated movies and whether the main characters had parents. I wish I could find it again.:(

Victoria J 08 March 2008 10:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ryda Wong, EBfCo. (Post 537976)

101 Dalmations had Perdita (sp?) survive. After dropping a litter of 99 BYB puppies. :eek:

Surely all the puppies aren't Perdita's ? Certainly in the book she has a large but not spectacular litter, and the rest are rescued with the puppies she gives birth too - leading to the 101. I don't know the film particularly well.

Victoria - expelled for drinking ink - J

my2pence 08 March 2008 10:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Victoria J (Post 537988)
Surely all the puppies aren't Perdita's ? Certainly in the book she has a large but not spectacular litter, and the rest are rescued with the puppies she gives birth too - leading to the 101. I don't know the film particularly well.

Victoria - expelled for drinking ink - J

Same is true in the movie. Some of the puppies are Perdita's, but most are rescued from Cruella and adopted by the family.

Ryda Wong, EBfCo. 08 March 2008 10:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by my2pence (Post 537991)
Same is true in the movie. Some of the puppies are Perdita's, but most are rescued from Cruella and adopted by the family.

Oops! I totally forgot that! Um. Anyway, she's still alive....

Artemis 08 March 2008 10:57 PM

Plus, it's not a Disney thing--it's a story convention. Look at the kids in old fairy tales--either they're orphans or they have terrible parents. Well looked after, white picket fence kids don't make for the best of stories. Terrible things, or the threat of terrible things, have to happen for a story to be halfway decent.

A Turtle Named Mack 08 March 2008 11:24 PM

The orphan striking out on his own and doing grand things is a very strong theme in a lot of fairy tales and epics. If Disney stands out as having an unusual trend in showing parents, it is the presence of the father. So many of the 'kid makes good' tales have the father dead, even when there is a mother (usually in those cases, a supportive mother, but not daring). Disney heroes/heroines usually have fathers who are involved, from Bambi to Cinderella to Ariel to Belle to Mulan to even Lion King (at least the father makes appearances even after he is dead). Pinnocchio had Gepetto, as much a father as any. There are a few exceptions, such as Dumbo, and sometimes part of the conflict is between the father and child (Peter Pan, Mary Poppins, Findding Nemo), but even in these, the father means well and clearly loves his children

Brad from Georgia 08 March 2008 11:33 PM

Mrs. Hawkins is alive in Disney's Treasure Island and Treasure Planet.
Mrs. Darling is alive in Disney's Peter Pan.
Mrs. Dear is alive in Disney's Lady and the Tramp.
Lady is alive in Disney's Lady and the Tramp II: The Revenge.
Mrs. Jumbo is alive in Disney's Dumbo.
The mom is alive in Disney/Pixar's Toy Story and Toy Story II: The Revenge.
The mom is alive in Disney's Song of the South.
Davy Crockett's wife survives him in Disney's Davy Crockett.
The mom is alive in Disney's Old Yeller.
The mom is alive in Disney's Johnny Tremain.

Probably some more, too.....

Avril 09 March 2008 12:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Brad from Georgia (Post 538026)
Mrs. Darling is alive in Disney's Peter Pan.
...
Mrs. Dear is alive in Disney's Lady and the Tramp.
...
Mrs. Jumbo is alive in Disney's Dumbo.
...
The mom is alive in Disney/Pixar's Toy Story and Toy Story II: The Revenge.
...

I selected these for a bit of a response.

In Peter Pan, the action happens away from home--away from Mrs. Darling.

Mrs. Dear is not Lady's mother.

Mrs. Jumbo is in jail.

The humans in Toy Story are not really even supporting characters. Woody and Buzz don't have mothers.

In each of these, the mother is pretty much out of the picture. Killing her would be gratuitious.

Avril

Nonny Mouse 09 March 2008 12:46 AM

In The Aristocats the mother is alive and is as much a part of the adventures as her kittens are.

Kim Possible has adventures on her own with a sidekick, but her parents are active in her life and support her in her little world-saving hobby.

The Suite Life of Zach and Cody features a hip single mom who's very involved in her kids' lives, even if she doesn't quite manage to rein in their shenanigans.

Nonny

chelle 09 March 2008 03:02 AM

In Lion King, Simba's mom doesn't die (he does loose his dad, though).

Dutch Angua 09 March 2008 10:06 AM

Mulans parents are both alive, even her grandmother is still among the living.

kitap 09 March 2008 10:57 AM

Disney's just continuing a long tradition; look at The Secret Garden, A Little Princess and The Wizard of Oz.

The mother is alive in The Parent Trap, and while the parents are dead in Escape to Witch Mountain, they're dead in the book as well. (I figure if she gets to mention Hannah Montana, I get to mention these two movies.)

Tarquin Farquart 09 March 2008 12:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by chelle (Post 538134)
In Lion King, Simba's mom doesn't die (he does loose his dad, though).

I was just thinking of that one.

Mickey is a gyrl 09 March 2008 02:29 PM

Though, technically, it wasn't Disney that killed Tarzan's mother- it was Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Alice in Wonderland, it doesn't mention any mother, but her sister acts the role of the mother.

(ok, I'll give you credit in Brother Bear- Kenai kills Koda's mom)

And in Lady and the Tramp, Darling (not Mrs. Dear ;) ) and Jim Dear have a baby, and Lady acts as the mother when the rat comes into the house.

ganzfeld 09 March 2008 02:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Avril (Post 538073)
In Peter Pan, the action happens away from home--away from Mrs. Darling.

More importantly, Pan and the lost boys have no parents, with central themes being having no mother and wanting a mother. (They never mention missing their dads, as far as I can recall.)

Christie 09 March 2008 02:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ganzfeld (Post 538423)
More importantly, Pan and the lost boys have no parents, with central themes being having no mother and wanting a mother. (They never mention missing their dads, as far as I can recall.)

Peter Pan is interesting. The whole reason Wendy and her brothers are brought to Neverland in the first place is because Peter wants Wendy to be a mother to him and the Lost Boys. So mothers have immense value. Fathers, on the other hand? Definitely not so much. Mr Darling is depicted, in the book, play and Disney movie as being pretty clueless about his kids and in some ways is seen as the bad guy in some of his actions. Which makes it less than coincidental that the same actor almost invariably plays Captain Hook (not in the Disney cartoon of course!) -- it may, of course, be to have a smaller cast -- but I've always believed there was a deeper message at work there. Mothers are warm and nurturing - fathers will make you walk the plank ;) .


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