This movie is artistically beautiful and contains some of the finest actors of the time including child star Bobby Driscoll who was the voice of Peter Pan and academy award winning Hattie McDaniel who acted alongside the likes of Clarke Gable, Shirley Temple, and Vivien Leigh. This story is all about Uncle Remus, a wise, kindhearted storyteller who befriends a little white boy named Johnny. Johnny feels mistreated and neglected but Uncle Remus gives him something to live for and becomes a father figure to him since his daddy has left him. When he tells stories that revolve around the trickster Br'er Rabbit who outwits Br'er Fox and slow-witted Br'er Bea, the children hang on his every word. These stories are moral fables that have been passed down from generations of black history and can be traced all the way back to Africa.
This movie was heart-warming with many tender parts, especially at the end when Johnny's family is reunited. There is an especially moving part when Johnny wakes up from being bed-ridden and sees Uncle Remus, taking his hand to hold it.
It's a crying shame that I wasn't allowed to see this movie growing up. I was born only one year before the last showing of this movie in theaters. I sure wish I could have seen it in my childhood, and Disney robbed me of that joy. I had this movie on my "to-see" list since I was a little girl and I finally found it on youtube.
The reason Disney will not release this classic film on home video or DVD is lost on me. I did some research and found some of the complaints and quite frankly, I think they are unfounded and I will explain.
Why Song of the South is NOT Racist:
1.) People claim that the blacks in the movie are so happy all the time so it shows an unrealistic picture of happy, subservient slaves. First of all, this movie takes place POST Civil War, which means there is no more slavery. Of course the blacks are happy because they are well-treated by the plantation owners who regard them as family, affectionately calling Remus "Uncle." The blacks work on the plantation of their own free will and are paid for their work. Uncle Remus leaves the plantation at the end without asking permission. This is proof that the time period is a post civil war era. If you're complaining about showing black people living happily alongside the whites, then too bad. It's history, and the movie is just being true to the past. I don't see you complaining about Gone With the Wind which deals with a similar time period. The ex-slaves stay with Scarlett's family after the war because they are treated well and enjoy working there and are considered part of the family. People just want to have this ugly picture of slavery in their mind when they think about the deep south but even though poor treatment unfortunately did happen sometimes, other times, the blacks were sharecroppers and had good relationships with the whites.
2.) I've heard people complain about stereotypes. I didn't really see any stereotypes except maybe Br'er Bear who wasn't even mentioned in any of my research.
3.) Some people complain that the blacks singing traditional black songs were offensive as a stereotype. OH COME ON!!! The parts where the blacks sing traditional songs were among my favorite parts of the film. I think Disney hired some amazingly talented singers and the music was beautiful and added richly to the story. Be proud of your heritage! If I were black, I'd be proud that my ancestors had such beautiful music and sang it when they were both happy and sad to express emotion.
4.) The last objection to this film was that the Negro dialect was offensive. Really? Are you serious? The movie is just depicting reality. I rather enjoyed hearing the dialect because I don't think I've ever heard that dialect before. There are black dialects even today depicted in modern-day movies but you don't complain about that! Why not? It's just the way people speak. If the black people in Song of the South spoke the way the white people did, that would be dishonest because they didn't speak that way, they had their own way of communicating, just like different parts of the United States today have different accents. It's not a stereotype to show a white southern person with a southern accent but for some reason it's suddenly racist if a black person has a southern accent. In fact, my research shows that Disney watered down the dialect so that it could be better understood by the audience and that the actual dialect was even more thick. Why is everyone so racist???