Sunday, June 27, 2010

"Here's a tall tale straight from the chuck wagon, just the way the old-timers used to tell it."

Film: "Melody Time"

Release Date: 27 May 1948

Director: Jack Kinney, Clyde Geronimi, Hamilton Luske, Wilfred Jackson

History: Walt Disney, still recovering from the lack of revenue for the studio as a result of World War II, was still stuck with "package films" to try and recover costs as of 1948. So, he tried the the same formula he had used on "Fantasia," and especially "Make Mine Music" once last time. "Melody Time," was more like "Make Mine Music," as it was "a concert feature" of popular music at the time. Unlike the latter, it worked a lot better, and despite not a very good original box office run, critics years later give it a lot more praise.

This time, Disney brought in such popular musical talent such as Buddy Clark, The Andrew Sister (back again in a Disney Animated Classic), Dennis Day, Freedy Martin, and maybe the most famous of the bunch, Roy Rogers and the Sons of the Pioneers. Many of the segments have been shown on their own in places like Disney Channel, and as such, have build up more popularity on their own. In 1998 on VHS, and then again in 2000 on DVD, the "Pecos Bill" segment was edited in the US. All the parts when Pecos is smoking have been cut out. The international versions are still intact however.

My Reaction: This coming November 2010, Walt Disney Animation Studios will release their 50th Animated Classic, "Tangled." But, 40 Disney Animated films before that, there was "Melody Time," Disney's 10th animated film and fifth in the six "package films" of the 1940's. Looking back, this "Melody Time" was a great film for what it was, but what it was was not necessarily Disney's best. But, I personally feel that the shorts found in this film are over all better then the collective of shorts found in "Make Mine Music." My favorites from this film would be "The Legend of Johnny Appleseed," "Once Upon a Wintertime," "Blame It On the Samba," and "Pecos Bill."

My Wife's Reaction: She really enjoyed the better known segments from this. Pecos Bill may be her favorite though. But for her, she remember these segment on their own, as broadcast on Disney Channel, so it was odd for her to see them in tehir original format in this film.

My Final Grade: (B-) This package film had it's moments of greatness and not so great moments. But, I may be harsher on it after four previous package films in a row before it. But, I liked it as a collection much better then "Make Mine Music."

All images copyright Disney. All rights reserved.

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