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  #1  
Old 06 January 2013, 09:04 PM
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Icon13 Why Can’t You Watch Disney’s Song of the South?

The Disney Company hasn’t let Song of the South out of its hallowed “vault” in 25 years. The film’s live-action depictions of Uncle Remus and his fellow smilin’, Massah-servin’ black folk are embarrassingly racist. But South’s central song, “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah,” is all but synonymous with Disney itself, and the characters live on in the company’s massively popular Splash Mountain rides. So Song of the South lives on, yet the company can’t even really acknowledge the film, much less cash in on it directly. If you were born after 1980, you’ve almost certainly never seen it in full, and it’s unlikely that will change anytime soon.

http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/b..._reviewed.html
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  #2  
Old 06 January 2013, 09:10 PM
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I took a US history class at the local community college where we actually watched the entire film (the teacher had it on VHS) as a demonstration of racial stereotypes when we were studying the lead-up to the Civil Rights Movement.
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Old 07 January 2013, 01:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snopes View Post
If you were born after 1980, you’ve almost certainly never seen it in full, and it’s unlikely that will change anytime soon.
Unless your Uncle Dave picked up a copy at a street fair in Taipei for you.
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Old 07 January 2013, 01:47 PM
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I actually have a copy of the PAL tape. Mostly as a curiosity piece; I can't play it or anything. Also, while it is undeniably racist and insensitive as a film, I have fond memories of the songs and the characters from my childhood.
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  #5  
Old 07 January 2013, 03:27 PM
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I saw it in the theater when it came out. There was a long line.
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Old 07 January 2013, 04:10 PM
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I saw it in 2011, at the World Science Fiction convention in Reno, NV. It wasn't at all the way I thought it would be, given the controversy about it.

Seaboe
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Old 07 January 2013, 04:17 PM
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My grandma took me to see it in the theater when I was young. Looking at the timeline, it must have been the 1986 re-release. I don't remember much of it, apart from the familiar animated characters, and something about a bull.

For what it's worth, I was born in the last few months of 1979, so I guess I missed the magic cut-off.
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Old 07 January 2013, 08:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seaboe Muffinchucker View Post
It wasn't at all the way I thought it would be, given the controversy about it.
How did it differ from your expectations?

I have never seen the movie. I remember wanting to see the '86 re-release but my parents refused to take my brother and I because they felt we weren't old enough to understand why the stereotypes were problematic.
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Old 07 January 2013, 05:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thera View Post
I saw it in the theater when it came out. There was a long line.
Not when it originally came out. It didn't do all that well during the initial release in 1946, which is well before you were born. The re-releases in 1980 and 1986 did very well (Grandma took me in 1980), and would have likely had lines. I remember during the 1986 release that there was controversy about it. Some of my relatives wanted to take their kids, while others in the family said it was offensive, based on the 1980 viewing. I didn't really remember the show except for Zippy-Do-Dah, so I actually don't know how bad it is, but there were some bad feelings in my family over it. The branch of the family that I have come to realize since are pretty much bigots were claiming it wasn't that bad, and just reflected the time it came out. It would be interesting to discuss this article, particularly the bits that make it clear it was controversial on release, with my family, but we don't talk much anymore.
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Old 08 January 2013, 03:25 PM
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The crows in Dumbo are definitely problematic, but I don't think kids pick up on that the same way they would something like a whole movie where poor black people are happily serving rich white people.

I loved Dumbo when I was a kid, but I only watched it once with my own kids. The crows, Dumbo getting drunk, and a few other things bothered me. It just wasn't one of the ones I wanted them to watch a lot and internalize in any way.
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Old 08 January 2013, 03:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Starla View Post
How did it differ from your expectations?
I was completely unaware it had a coherent, overarching plot. I thought it was a series of vignettes. I also thought the racism would be less subtle than it was.

Seaboe
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Old 07 January 2013, 06:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Ramblin' Dave View Post
Unless your Uncle Dave picked up a copy at a street fair in Taipei for you.
Can I please, please, please call you Uncle Dave from now on?

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Old 07 January 2013, 06:45 PM
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I'm nearly certain we watched this at least once as a filmstrip when I was in elementary school. Not as historical commentary but as entertainment. I was born in 1976.

It's possible I just picked up pieces of it over the years from The Wonderful World of Color on TV, but I feel like I saw the whole thing once. I know very well my mom wouldn't have taken me to see it in the theaters though. Even though I was oblivious to the racist paternalism, she wouldn't have been.
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  #14  
Old 07 January 2013, 07:42 PM
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As a filmstrip? How do you watch a 1.5-2 hour film in strip form?

Seaboe
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Old 17 August 2015, 02:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mags View Post
I'm nearly certain we watched this at least once as a filmstrip when I was in elementary school. Not as historical commentary but as entertainment. I was born in 1976.

It's possible I just picked up pieces of it over the years from The Wonderful World of Color on TV, but I feel like I saw the whole thing once. I know very well my mom wouldn't have taken me to see it in the theaters though. Even though I was oblivious to the racist paternalism, she wouldn't have been.
I think I can top that - I've never seen "song of the south" but I remember being shown in 5th grade the Disney treasure "the story of menstruation" (and I was born LONG after it was made - they must have been showing it for years). I see someone even put that gem up on youtube;
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLhld_PI2zg
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  #16  
Old 08 January 2013, 04:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Swordmaster View Post
Can I please, please, please call you Uncle Dave from now on?

Certainly, but I can't promise I can get my hands on another copy of the DVD...

The last time I saw it was in 2005, on the aforementioned copy I found in Taiwan (which I no longer own - my ex kept it when I went back to America). By that time I had read a number of critical pieces on its racial insensitivity (including the Snopes page on it), without being able to remember much about the movie itself. (I had seen it once when I was a kid - the 1986 re-release I'm guessing - but I barely remembered anything about it.) I found some of the criticisms well-founded, others not so much. For example, the birthday party scene where the black boy is conspicuously absent: on the DVD at least, that scene is literally only two or three seconds long and you have to be looking in advance to be fully aware of who is and isn't there. But the happiness-in-servitude aspect of it? Definitely real and definitely problematic at best.

Incidentally, my parents also had a copy of the DVD (no idea how or where they found it), and were always firmly of the belief that it wasn't racist at all. But as I've gotten older, I've found it harder all the time to avoid concluding that they are slightly racist themselves.
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