Melody Time: Disney Gold Classic Collection
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In the grand tradition of Disney's greatest musical classics such as FANTASIA, MELODY TIME features seven classic stories, each enhanced with high-spirited music and unforgettable characters! Donald Duck -- an all-time Disney favorite -- puts on a display of jazzy antics as the star of "Blame It On The Samba." Music becomes a real adventure for a busy bumble bee in "Bumble Boogie." From the mischievous young tugboat in "Little Toot," to the heroes of legend and myth in "Johnny Appleseed" and "Pecos Bill," this feast for the eyes and ears entertains with wit and charm. A timeless addition to your video collection, MELODY TIME is a delightful Disney classic with something for everyone in your family!|Many of the segments in this film were later released separately as shorts.|Donald Duck, Jose Carioca, and Aracuan Bird are reunited from THE THREE CABALLEROS in the "Blame It On The Samba" portion of the film.|The "Johnny Appleseed" portion of the film tells the story of folk hero John Chapman, born in 1774, who wandered the Ohio River region for some 40 years planting and tending apple orchards.|Many believe the "Bumble Boogie" section of the film owes an indirect debt to "Destino," a surrealist short that Salvador Dali and Disney attempted to produce together.
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This compilation was first released in theaters in 1948. It consists of seven segments and three bonus cartoons. It should be noted that The Legend of Johnny Appleseed also appears in another collection (Disney's American Legends). The seven segments are set to music of another era. Some are more successful at combining songs with images than others. The animation varies dramatically, sometimes in the same cartoon (the lovely stylized backgrounds featured in Once Upon a Wintertime as opposed to the doughy looking couple that relieves the woman of a nose while the man gets a big pink blob). As for the supposedly controversial editing done on Pecos Bill, if you weren't aware of the missing pieces/scenes beforehand, you won't notice the difference. It doesn't alter the story that radically. (Whether or not it was necessary to remove the offending elements is a moot point. It's done.)
I am more than happy to include this in my Disney collection as is.
Here's the reason I gave 4 instead of 5 stars:
My only complaint is that the Region 1 U.S. version is edited. The rest of this review is just about that.
I encourage people to buy the Region 2 U.K. version of this film instead, since that version is unedited. It will send a message to Disney that its customers prefer their classic animation uncensored and in its original form. Here is the link to the region 2 DVD. THIS IS THE ONE TO BUY!
(Note that in order to view the region 2 DVD you will need a region 2 DVD player or a region-free player. Most standalone players in the U.S. are region 1, but you can find region free players online. Or, if you plan to play your DVD on your computer, you will have a limited number of times you can change the region of your computer's DVD drive. It's 5 times for a Mac. For example, you can change your computer's region from 1 to 2, archive your legally purchased region 2 DVD to have it on your computer as a backup (NOT to copy, trade, or sell to others), and then change your DVD drive back to region 1, only using up 2 of 5 changes.)
I live in the U.S. but I purchased the region 2 version of Melody Time because it was unedited. I don't understand what kind of warped logic the region 1 content managers at Disney were using when they decided it was unacceptable to show Pecos Bill with a cigarette in his mouth. I suppose it had something to do with not wanting young kids to want to smoke just like their hero Pecos Bill did. But then I wonder why they thought that was unacceptable for U.S. children, and yet acceptable for U.K. children?
Just editing out the cigarette digitally would have been an acceptable annoyance, but to completely remove an entire verse from the central song of that story (the scene where Bill lasso's a tornado and uses a lightning bolt to light a cigarette), is going too far. It makes that song 1/6 shorter! Not to mention that these individual Disney shorts, and the entire Melody Time film taken together, represent a piece of classic animation art that is over 60 years old. It's up to parents to explain to their children that some beliefs and habits have changed over time. (Frankly I'm surprised that Disney went out of their way to censor the cigarette, yet left untouched a segment about Pecos Bill shooting up Native Americans.) But in my opinion the art itself should be made available in as close to its original form as possible. To give a non-Disney example, the character Wimpy in the Popeye cartoons gorges on hamburgers. If the content managers of that classic animation used the same logic as Disney did here, they would edit Wimpy out since there is an obesity epidemic in the U.S.! I'm glad Disney is not in charge of publishing classic book literature. Would we expect them to keep Huckleberry Finn in the "Disney Vault" because that book showed the treatment of slaves?
You don't educate children about right and wrong by withholding examples of what is wrong.
We buy these films for the nostalgia and because we are interested enough in Disney art that we want to see it as it was when it released. Children can be educated that habits like smoking, which were thought to be harmless 60 years ago, are now known to be disastrous for your health, and therefore should not be glorified. They can understand that times change. Thats up to the parents. Disney as a producer of great art, should provide it's beloved, classic vintage art in its original form, and leave it to parents what they are comfortable showing their kids.
1) Casey Bats Again
2) Donald Applecore
3) Lambert the Sheepish Lion
1) Opening Credits
2) Once Upon A Winter Time
3) Bumble Boogie
4) The Legend of Johnny Appleseed
5) Little Toot
7) Blame It on the Samba
8) Blue Shadows on the Trail
9) Pecos Bill
1) The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea
2) The Tigger Movie
1) Spoken Languages
2) Captions & Subtitles
1) The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars
2) The Spirit of Mickey
3) The Black Cauldron
4) Kiki's Delivery Service
5) The Lion King II: Simba's Pride