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 Post subject: Song of the South
PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 12:30 am 
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My girlfriend and I finally got around to seeing this film at a local art house a couple months ago. It was a weekly film session co-hosted by both black and white artists as part of their sub-series of controversial films, and there were black and white audiences in attendance.

For those who don't know, I am a 28 year-old African American male, who is also a lifelong Disney fan. As such, I have no problem stating the things about Disney that I don't like, but I am not as quick to judge upon the alleged racism, misogyny, whatever of Walt Disney himself or his animators.

That said, Song of the South is really not as terrible as it's made out to be. In fact, it's not terrible at all. My girlfriend enjoyed the film too, and the audience had a lively discussion and a mutual understanding about the film itself, rather than the controversy behind it.

I think the controversy comes from the bizarre expectations that comes with Disney filmmaking. If people wanted a historical documentary of the 1870's South, this is not that kind of film. Song of the South plays into a romantic viewpoint of the Reconstruction era South, the period from the time slavery was abolished from the Civil War, to the time Plessy v. Ferguson was established. The film has very little to do with racial portrayals in and of itself, but is generally a story about how a wise Uncle Remus tells folk tales to enrich the lives of troubled white children.

Disney really has no reason to "disown" this film. Yes, the studio like other animation studios at the time once partook of ugly stereotypes in their animated films based from what was accepted at the time. Those very same stereotypes are dated and yes, very unflattering. But Disney does better when they own their mistakes. They admitted in many of their historical accounts that Walt Disney himself was human like anybody else. They have also released those very same cartoons with racial depictions, not limited to WWII propaganda on video in the past decade in the proper context. (They've done a better job of distributing their classic cartoons than most other studios.)

The fact is, when Disney continues to use "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah" in their advertisements, people are naturally going to ask what film it came from. This black Disney fan is in favor of giving Song of the South a proper release. :ears:

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 Post subject: Re: Song of the South
PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 1:07 am 
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I didn't know you were black. I am black as well and I find the movie to be yes a product of its time but at the same time it is very progressive for its day. I even heard that Disney actually tried to invite the president of the NAACP, Walter White, to give his input but the meeting never occurred. I say this as well Song of the South is very misunderstood by everyone. I think some would be put off because it reminds them of ugly stereotypes that were common but on the other hand others would appreciate it as a part of our history that should not be locked up.


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 Post subject: Re: Song of the South
PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 11:53 am 
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Very interesting post. I hope the mods don't merge this thread with another generic SotS thread as this started very promisingly and I think deserves an independent existence.

This is somewhat off-topic, but I'm glad I've finally discovered two black UDers. :) I was thinking of making a thread to ask if we had any black members here but decided against it as I thought it may sound odd. I've never met an African American, but I did meet an African from Eritrea a couple of weeks ago on the bus stop. He was really sweet.

OK, I'm finished. Sorry for derailing the thread. :oops:


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 Post subject: Re: Song of the South
PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 1:03 pm 
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Jules wrote:
OK, I'm finished. Sorry for derailing the thread. :oops:


No problem. Glad to know I'm not alone. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Song of the South
PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2014 12:12 pm 
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What needs to be done is get rid of Black people like Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and the like. They are part of the NAACP who has vehemently protested the release of "Song of the South" because, in so many words, "it portrays black people as illiterate low lifes".

What they are trying to say is that they don't want anything to do with a 'family' film that centers around the relationship with a 'slave' who has a charm about him that draws all children, black or white, to him to hear his tales of Brer Bear, Brer Fox, and Brer Rabbit.

I am so glad that I own a Blu-ray copy of this marvelous movie. Even though it is a bootleg, I am just happy to have it to share with my grandkids and the whole family. It tells such a beautiful story and Disney needs to get some backbone and release this movie soon.

I attend a multi-racial Christian Church here in Wichita, and we just got a new pastor who happens to be black, and he has brought new life to our church family. I guess he overheard me talking with another church member about "Song of the South", and he asked if he could borrow it. He said he had never seen the movie in its entirety, and would like to watch it soon.

He actually devoted a sermon about the trials and tribulations of getting this movie released to the general public. It was amazing how much he got out of this film and he quoted lines from all of the actors, so I know he watched this more than once.

An actual release, DVD or Blu-ray, or both, would be a best seller, and I truly think Disney is missing the boat on this one.

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 Post subject: Re: Song of the South
PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2014 1:22 pm 
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Song of the South is a wonderful film! And totally misunderstood. I have both the original PAL VHS and the coverted one, as well as 2 excellent DVD versions. It is no different than other films of its time. Disney should definitely release it! Why, "Gone With The Wind" is far more racist than this film, yet is has been in wide release forever!!! There are far worse films out there that are available. I don't understand why they can't just release it with a disclaimer and a documentary like they did with the controversial cartoons in the "Walt Disney Treasures" sets. SOTS is part of Disney history, but by keeping it in the vault, Disney is denying us the chance to own this most important Disney Animation piece that was the first full-length feature to incorporate live action with animation. They could at least release it as a DMC exclusive or by special order only so only hardcore fans like us could order it, and that way they wouldn't have to worry about those naysayers that cry foul at it. Please Disney, RELEASE SONG OF THE SOUTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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 Post subject: Re: Song of the South
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 3:56 am 
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jazzflower92 wrote:
I didn't know you were black. I am black as well and I find the movie to be yes a product of its time but at the same time it is very progressive for its day. I even heard that Disney actually tried to invite the president of the NAACP, Walter White, to give his input but the meeting never occurred. I say this as well Song of the South is very misunderstood by everyone. I think some would be put off because it reminds them of ugly stereotypes that were common but on the other hand others would appreciate it as a part of our history that should not be locked up.


Well said! :clap: :clap:

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 Post subject: Re: Song of the South
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 7:23 am 
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Yeah I agree with the Gone with the Wind thing. The movie is far more racist than SotS and yet people praise it "oooh greatest movie of all time!!!" bs. So how come this movie gets praise and SotS gets hammered?

I guess Disney is an easier target to attack than MGM.

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 Post subject: Re: Song of the South
PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 12:56 pm 
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I love both Gone with the Wind and Song of the South. TCM has no problem showing movies unedited which are products of their time. Wish Disney were that courageous and dedicated to its history.


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 Post subject: Re: Song of the South
PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2014 11:31 pm 
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This is a spoiler to Maleficent but my statement refers more to Song of The South, just the statement has spoilers to Maleficent.

So having a scene of that is a representation of rape In Maleficent is fine and dandy, but yet Song of the South is so offensive that it doesn't deserve to be released or see the light of day?

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 Post subject: Re: Song of the South
PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2014 5:25 pm 
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Misogynistic Cartoons
http://animationguildblog.blogspot.com/ ... toons.html

The whole GWtW is for adults and SOTS is for kids, so it will be kept out of stores, argument...


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 Post subject: Re: Song of the South
PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2014 7:07 pm 
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I really want to see Song of the South as I've never seen it. I love Splash Mountain and it centers around Song of the South so I'd really like them to release Song of the South here in Canada/USA.

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 Post subject: Re: Song of the South
PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2014 10:59 pm 
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What needs to be done is get rid of Black people like Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and the like. They are part of the NAACP who has vehemently protested the release of "Song of the South" because, in so many words, "it portrays black people as illiterate low lifes".

What they are trying to say is that they don't want anything to do with a 'family' film that centers around the relationship with a 'slave' who has a charm about him that draws all children, black or white, to him to hear his tales of Brer Bear, Brer Fox, and Brer Rabbit
:roll:

While I do think Song of the South should be released in its entirety, dismissing its offensive nature is pure ignorance. The happily subservient ex-slave is an extremely offensive old Hollywood trope that was already beginning to go out of style by the time this movie was made. There's more on that in this fantastic article (I'd love to read the whole book but haven't gotten a chance to) :
http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/book ... iewed.html

And that's only the start of why it's legitimately offensive. Some of it is a product of the time, yes, but that's not always an excuse. It was only released 7 years after Gone With the Wind, but that's an eternity in terms of mid-20th century racial politics in America.

It is odd that one of the most iconic Disney rides and one of the most iconic Disney songs come from a film you can't actually see anywhere, but like the article says, it could be that they actually want to be culturally sensitive rather than just pretending it never happened.

And yet for all the controversy and curiosity surrounding it, the film itself is actually pretty boring. Not worth it either way.

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 Post subject: Re: Song of the South
PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2014 6:28 am 
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Lady Cluck wrote:

And yet for all the controversy and curiosity surrounding it, the film itself is actually pretty boring. Not worth it either way.


Agree to disagree. I personal find a lot of modern Hollywood films offensive, and yet they are out there for those who don't, and I'm very much not alone in that feeling. So why can't things exist the other way for a change? No one would make you watch or buy SotS, so why can't I? In fact, give me one good reason why I should not be allowed to enjoy this film again? I'll help you out with this one, you can't, because any reason you can come up with will ultimately only apply for yourself.

As for the film being boring, again I strong disagree. I've seen the film before and really enjoyed it. There is not such thing as a perfect film that everyone will enjoy, but that's ok. That's why there are so many to choose from. It's just sad that because of fear and ignorance, some of us are not allowed to enjoy this particular film and other like it to appease those who wouldn't watch it anyway.

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 Post subject: Re: Song of the South
PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2014 7:46 am 
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No one would make you watch or buy SotS, so why can't I? In fact, give me one good reason why I should not be allowed to enjoy this film again? I'll help you out with this one, you can't, because any reason you can come up with will ultimately only apply for yourself.
I said I think it should be available.

But we can't pretend that some of the images and stereotypes in the film aren't truly offensive and horrific. As much as I personally am against the self censorship of history as an adult, I understand why they do it considering Disney's primary target audience is impressionable children. Same goes for things like Sunflower in Fantasia. It's just that Song of the South unfortunately teeters on the edge of promoting offensive stereotypes for almost the entire film, and completely falls off the edge at times. They can't really pick and choose things to edit out, like they do with some other offensive cartoons or even something like Splash Mountain (the omission of the tar baby and Uncle Remus, downplaying the plantation South setting, etc.)

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 Post subject: Re: Song of the South
PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2014 1:09 pm 
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What frustrates me is that society tries to act like we're so tolerant and progressive that we can't release Song of the South again because a film from the 40s is so offensive, and yet studios continue to produce films and tv shows on a regular basis that feature offensive gay stereotypes, and that's okay.

And when was the last time you heard of a movie being buried because its gay characters are offensive?

Disney needs to just sell Song of the South as a blu-ray exclusive in a limited batch and get over themselves. Many of Tarantino's films are far more "racist" than Song of the South and he gets Oscars for them. Maybe if Disney added a scene where Uncle Remus whips out a shotgun and blows away the swamp trash kids people would be good with it.


Last edited by ianwahlers on Mon Oct 13, 2014 3:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Song of the South
PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 11:37 am 
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I still have a VHS-tape of 'SOTS'. Disney apparently had no problem with releasing the movie in Europe, the is is a typical issue for the USA.

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 Post subject: Re: Song of the South
PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 4:12 am 
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I don't know if anyone here read this story (below), but it left me feeling really mad at Disney and their legal team. But I think mostly not surprised, which is kind of sad in it's own right. At this point, I just want to see the Song of the South copyright expire. Disney has made it clear they have every interest in burring this film and their copyright gives them the power and right to do so. Anyway...

Quote:
Disney Ignored Song of the South Shareholder Proposal
Posted on February 24, 2017 by hemingray

As Disney shareholders may be aware, asking about Song of the South’s release became somewhat of a tradition at the Disney shareholder meetings starting in 2006. Back in 2011, shareholder Matthew Hansen asked Disney CEO Robert Iger about releasing Song of the South. In short, Iger responded, “[J]ust remember it as it was, and don’t expect to see it again for… at least for awhile, if ever.” Full transcript and audio can be found here.

Undeterred, Hansen began to work on a shareholder proposal. In September of 2015, on vintage Song of the South letterhead, he wrote to Disney:

I respectfully submit the enclosed shareholder proposal for inclusion in the 2016 proxy statement pursuant to the 2015 proxy statement of The Walt Disney Company and in accordance with Rule 14a-8 ofthe Securities and Exchange Act of 1934. I intend to present the proposal at the 2016 Annual Meeting of Shareholders.

Disney received the proposal and responded to him, saying that the Disney Board of Directors would review it. A few weeks later, Disney’s legal team WilmerHale responded in a 6-page letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Basically, they asked them to allow Disney to ignore the proposal, “pursuant to Rule 14a-8(i)(7), on the basis that the Shareholder Proposal involves matters that relate to the ordinary business operations of the Company.” Here is an excerpt from Disney’s response:

In addition to interfering with management’s day-to-day operations, the Shareholder Proposal also seeks to “micro-manage” the Company. Specifically, the Shareholder Proposal instructs the Company to release one particular film (Song of the South) from among its approximately 2,900 titles, through a specific medium (Blu-ray) and within a specific timeframe (in connection with its 70th anniversary). Determinations about what, how and when to release a particular title are inherently complex, and shareholders as a group are not in a position to make informed decisions on such matters.

How’s that for arrogance? The SEC concurred, saying that they would “not recommend enforcement action to the Commission if Disney omits the proposal from its proxy materials”, effectively greenlighting Disney to ignore Hansen’s proposal.

The full document containing all correspondence between the parties is available for viewing on the SEC web site: https://www.sec.gov/divisions/corpfin/c ... 5-14a8.pdf

Matthew Hansen kindly provided me with the following backstory, which I will include here in its entirety:

It has been an interesting journey that began when I asked Bob Iger at the 2011 Annual Meeting that took place in SLC, if they would release the film. His stern response (that can be heard in shareholder archives, or I have a copy of it downloaded) prompted me to want to attempt a shareholder proposal that would line up with the 70th anniversary – since we all know Disney obsesses over anniversaries with their home video catalog releases. (But apparently me specifying the 70th they claimed as “micro-managing” the company. Go figure.).

Since I had to hold a certain amount of shares for a year it required some waiting before I could move forward with anything. But once I did it has been interesting. Everyone I showed my proposal to loved it. I even received support from someone I felt was very important to my cause – animator Floyd Norman! I even met him twice this summer. To sum up what I gathered from talking with him – Bob Iger for some reason hates the film, and I fear while he is CEO it won’t see the light of day. I have a UK VHS of the film and watched a converted digital copy of it recently during a flight to CA and I can’t figure out why he would feel that way about it.

Anyways, one of their many reasons in their SIX pages to the SEC is that the film has not been a matter of widespread debate and as they claim only been brought up at a few meetings and requested by a few ardent fans – which I don’t believe. The fact that the then-chairman of the board John Pepper chuckled and said “We almost made it through the meeting” [without someone mentioning Song of the South] when I asked my question in 2011 because it was an almost annual question, which was then followed by the Rose Wagner theater packed full of shareholders cheering and applauding my question – makes it hard for me to believe them when they claim it has been only a “few” meetings and ardent fans requesting it.

Which is why I am hoping that we can maybe get some more discussion about the film to show them it isn’t just a small group of ardent fans that want this film. One friend I showed this to told me it is pretty sad that in a day when a film such as 12 Years a Slave can win Best Picture, they are still withholding Song of the South from being released – yet feel free to use just about everything from it to market their parks. One such instance, aside from the obvious ride, was an ad we received in the mail showing days kids had off from school in the fall as times we could plan to come to Disneyland and it called them “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah Days” and had Mr Blue Bird to help advertise.

It seems that Disney is content with ignoring its shareholders and fans who wish to legally own this movie for themselves. But they certainly have no qualms about continuing to exploit and profit off of the film’s legacy via Splash Mountain and the Academy Award winning song Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah. It’s a sad reality, but one that needs to be shared with the public. A sincere thank you to Matthew Hansen for his efforts, and perhaps someday Disney will stop snubbing some of the very people that help keep them profitable.


http://www.songofthesouth.net/news/2017/02/24/disney-ignores-shareholder-proposal/

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Last edited by milojthatch on Mon Feb 27, 2017 2:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Song of the South
PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 1:16 pm 
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It's a shame Disney is going thru such aches to hide this film.

They already won the controversy against it when they released their wartime cartoons on video, as well as unedited prints of their regular shorts also featuring racial stereotypes. It's a matter of giving it the proper context, as people like Leonard Maltin was more than willing to do in the past.

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 Post subject: Re: Song of the South
PostPosted: Sun Feb 26, 2017 11:07 pm 
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Semaj wrote:
My girlfriend and I finally got around to seeing this film at a local art house a couple months ago. It was a weekly film session co-hosted by both black and white artists as part of their sub-series of controversial films, and there were black and white audiences in attendance.

For those who don't know, I am a 28 year-old African American male, who is also a lifelong Disney fan. As such, I have no problem stating the things about Disney that I don't like, but I am not as quick to judge upon the alleged racism, misogyny, whatever of Walt Disney himself or his animators.

That said, Song of the South is really not as terrible as it's made out to be. In fact, it's not terrible at all. My girlfriend enjoyed the film too, and the audience had a lively discussion and a mutual understanding about the film itself, rather than the controversy behind it.

I think the controversy comes from the bizarre expectations that comes with Disney filmmaking. If people wanted a historical documentary of the 1870's South, this is not that kind of film. Song of the South plays into a romantic viewpoint of the Reconstruction era South, the period from the time slavery was abolished from the Civil War, to the time Plessy v. Ferguson was established. The film has very little to do with racial portrayals in and of itself, but is generally a story about how a wise Uncle Remus tells folk tales to enrich the lives of troubled white children.

Disney really has no reason to "disown" this film. Yes, the studio like other animation studios at the time once partook of ugly stereotypes in their animated films based from what was accepted at the time. Those very same stereotypes are dated and yes, very unflattering. But Disney does better when they own their mistakes. They admitted in many of their historical accounts that Walt Disney himself was human like anybody else. They have also released those very same cartoons with racial depictions, not limited to WWII propaganda on video in the past decade in the proper context. (They've done a better job of distributing their classic cartoons than most other studios.)

The fact is, when Disney continues to use "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah" in their advertisements, people are naturally going to ask what film it came from. This black Disney fan is in favor of giving Song of the South a proper release. :ears:


You should really consider writing to the Disney Company about this. Viewpoints like this would help them consider doing at least a limited release of this film.

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