Film: Song of the South

Opened: November 20, 1946

Directed by: Harve Foster & Wilfred Jackson

Starring: James Baskett, Bobby Driscoll, Luana Patten, Glenn Leedy, Ruth Warrick, Lucile Watson, Hattie McDaniel, Erik Rolf, Olivier Urbain, Mary Field, Anita Brown, George Nokes, Gene Holland, Johnny Lee, Nick Stewart, Roy Glenn, Clarence Nash & Helen Crozier

For years, Disney has tried to all but erase Song of the South from peoples’ memories (despite Splash Mountain being themed after it until 2022) and it’s easy to see why.

Young Johnny (Bobby Driscoll) is taken by his mom Sally (Ruth Warrick) to his grandmother’s (Lucile Watson) plantation. There, he meets Uncle Remus (James Baskett) who gives him life advice through the stories of Br’er Rabbit (Johnny Lee), Br’er Fox (Baskett) and Br’er Bear (Nick Stewart).

When black people who live on the plantation are shown, their lives are framed idyllically, which it clearly wasn’t. And all the black characters, including Uncle Remus, are only used to provide joy to the white characters.

In the animated sequences, Br’er Rabbit and Br’er Fox both become racial stereotypes with deep southern vernaculars.

Final say: Not a good moment in Disney’s past. ★☆☆☆☆

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