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Thread: Disney Plus Streaming will not offer 'racist' Song of the South film

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    Disney Plus Streaming will not offer 'racist' Song of the South film

    there will be a notable absence from Disney Plus: the 1946 film Song of the South, which has long been a controversial title for Disney because of how it depicts the lives of African-American plantation workers in the southern states after the civil war. The company has also decided to cut a scene from Dumbo that is considered racist. Song of the South grossed $65m at the US box office but was never released on DVD in the country, partly because of criticism about its depiction of the lives of Uncle Remus and other former slaves on a plantation as idyllic.
    Teh Gruaniad

    I've never seen the movie "Song of the South" but I have heard and seen the song "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah". Would it be so controversial to allow this movie to be seen ? Would it be too much for the snowflakes ? Probably.

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    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TSwizzle View Post
    there will be a notable absence from Disney Plus: the 1946 film Song of the South, which has long been a controversial title for Disney because of how it depicts the lives of African-American plantation workers in the southern states after the civil war. The company has also decided to cut a scene from Dumbo that is considered racist. Song of the South grossed $65m at the US box office but was never released on DVD in the country, partly because of criticism about its depiction of the lives of Uncle Remus and other former slaves on a plantation as idyllic.
    Teh Gruaniad

    I've never seen the movie "Song of the South" but I have heard and seen the song "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah". Would it be so controversial to allow this movie to be seen ? Would it be too much for the snowflakes ? Probably.
    I sincerely hope that, if you saw it, its racist reputation would not be confusing to you.

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    Veteran Member James Brown's Avatar
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    "I've never seen something, but what's the big deal about it" ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by TSwizzle View Post
    there will be a notable absence from Disney Plus: the 1946 film Song of the South, which has long been a controversial title for Disney because of how it depicts the lives of African-American plantation workers in the southern states after the civil war. The company has also decided to cut a scene from Dumbo that is considered racist. Song of the South grossed $65m at the US box office but was never released on DVD in the country, partly because of criticism about its depiction of the lives of Uncle Remus and other former slaves on a plantation as idyllic.
    Teh Gruaniad

    I've never seen the movie "Song of the South" but I have heard and seen the song "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah". Would it be so controversial to allow this movie to be seen ? Would it be too much for the snowflakes ? Probably.
    You can always watch Breakfast at Tiffanys to get your fix.

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    Saw it long ago as a kid, when the controversial stuff would go over my head. Do remember the tar baby scene, which I’m sure is definitely out today

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    Industrial Grade Linguist Copernicus's Avatar
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    I can see why the scene is offensive, although it is iconic for those of us who grew up in the 1950s and 1960s. The film was actually first released in 1946, the year that I was born. Those were the days when overt racist rhetoric was common, albeit controversial. For the sake of informing those who never saw the Uncle Remus actor singing this song, which was pervasive throughout my childhood, here is a recording of just the song. You can judge for yourself how offensive and racist it is.


    (View video on YouTube)

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    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
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    It really is quite a sweet little film, and I can easily believe that it was well-intentioned. But sometimes it is best to leave things in the past. I don't believe for a second that anyone is actually clamoring to have it released on streaming for any reason other than political grandstanding. If you and your kids want to watch a sweet, mostly harmless partially animated film from the era, Fun and Fancy Free was put out the year before and features Mickey and Friends in the middle section, so even kids of the modern age will have something to latch on to. It was the very last film in which Walt himself voiced Mickey, and is well worth a watch, and like Song of the South, Melody Time and many other cheaply produced montage films released in the post-war years, ultimately helped the company build the capital to create some true masterpieces over the next half decade, including the enduring classic Cinderella in 1950, and Peter Pan in 1953.

    But of course, appreciating period art and rescuing old Disney films from obscurity on merit alone isn't your real goal... is it?

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    Industrial Grade Linguist Copernicus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    It really is quite a sweet little film, and I can easily believe that it was well-intentioned. But sometimes it is best to leave things in the past. I don't believe for a second that anyone is actually clamoring to have it released on streaming for any reason other than political grandstanding. If you and your kids want to watch a sweet, mostly harmless partially animated film from the era, Fun and Fancy Free was put out the year before and features Mickey and Friends in the middle section, so even kids of the modern age will have something to latch on to. It was the very last film in which Walt himself voiced Mickey, and is well worth a watch, and like Song of the South, Melody Time and many other cheaply produced montage films released in the post-war years, ultimately helped the company build the capital to create some true masterpieces over the next half decade, including the enduring classic Cinderella in 1950, and Peter Pan in 1953.

    But of course, appreciating period art and rescuing old Disney films from obscurity on merit alone isn't your real goal... is it?
    Actually, it kind of is. Do bear in mind that Uncle Remus was part of an old oral tradition that had more to do with the cultural legacy of African Americans than white supremacy. Suppressing it may seem like the best path to take, in light of modern sensitivities over racial politics, but we probably ought to try to preserve something of the historical reality that spawned these stories. It may not be the case that it is always "best to leave things in the past". People do need to try to understand exactly what happened in the past in order to understand why things turned out to be the way they are in the present.

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    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Copernicus View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    It really is quite a sweet little film, and I can easily believe that it was well-intentioned. But sometimes it is best to leave things in the past. I don't believe for a second that anyone is actually clamoring to have it released on streaming for any reason other than political grandstanding. If you and your kids want to watch a sweet, mostly harmless partially animated film from the era, Fun and Fancy Free was put out the year before and features Mickey and Friends in the middle section, so even kids of the modern age will have something to latch on to. It was the very last film in which Walt himself voiced Mickey, and is well worth a watch, and like Song of the South, Melody Time and many other cheaply produced montage films released in the post-war years, ultimately helped the company build the capital to create some true masterpieces over the next half decade, including the enduring classic Cinderella in 1950, and Peter Pan in 1953.

    But of course, appreciating period art and rescuing old Disney films from obscurity on merit alone isn't your real goal... is it?
    Actually, it kind of is. Do bear in mind that Uncle Remus was part of an old oral tradition that had more to do with the cultural legacy of African Americans than white supremacy. Suppressing it may seem like the best path to take, in light of modern sensitivities over racial politics, but we probably ought to try to preserve something of the historical reality that spawned these stories. It may not be the case that it is always "best to leave things in the past". People do need to try to understand exactly what happened in the past in order to understand why things turned out to be the way they are in the present.
    I have no objection to history education, even on very sensitive topics. This is not necessarily accomplished by watching old movies uncritically or without context.

    Disney has indeed tried to suppress the memory of this film in many contexts, which has not worked and probably is not a great plan anyway. But, I don't see the decision not to stream this movie on their website as an example of suppression. Deciding to redistribute a movie on a new medium is both a social and and economic decision, and they do have a right to try and define their current brand.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    This is not necessarily accomplished by watching old movies uncritically or without context.
    True. We have a DvD set of classic WB cartoons. At the beginning of which is a message from Whoopie Goldberg warning that a number of the cartoons contain stuff that is considered offensive today. I'm glad they did that, providing the original versions of the cartoons, and acknowledged that some of the jokes are pretty cringe worthy today.

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