Song of the South to rise again?
Disney’s first live-action motion picture (well, mostly), Song of the South, just might see the light of day once again. Locked up tight in their well-promoted archives since 1986 and never released on video tape, LaserDisc or DVD in the United States, the subject once again was raised at their annual shareholders meeting, this time in acknowledgement of a petition drive demanding the movie’s release. The petition has attained 115,000 signatures thus far.
It should be pointed out that Disney’s fear they might be seen as actively racist has not deterred them from releasing the movie overseas, and these prints have served as the basis of the great many bootleg editions that are commonly found in this country.
“The question of Song of the South comes up periodically,” Disney CEO Robert Iger told the Associated Press. “We’ve decided to take a look at it again because we’ve had numerous requests about bringing it out. Our concern was that a film that was made so many decades ago being brought out today perhaps could be either misinterpreted or that it would be somewhat challenging in terms of providing the appropriate context.”
The movie is historically important, and, of course, there’s that annoying First Amendment thing. It stars James Baskett as Uncle Remus and Hattie McDaniel as Aunt Tempy. Ironically, there weren’t a lot of starring roles given to blacks in 1946. Baskett was quite the star in the black movie circuit.
The song Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah won an Oscar as best picture, and the Splash Mountain rides at the Disney theme parks were inspired by the movie.
It is believed a DVD release will make a great deal of money for the House of Mouse.