Research and Analysis on Walt Disney´s Film: Song of the South

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Walt Disney’s Song of the South (Jackson & Foster, 1946) is probably one of the least known films from the wildly successful company. The film tells the story of Uncle Remus—an African-American former slave—who tells the stories of Br’er Rabbit and his friends to children, some of which are white. The film is separated into segments which include live action, animation and a blend of both. The films animated sequences included catchy songs such as “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah and Everybody’s Got a Laughin’ Place” which accompanied the lessons that were taught, which are still popular and in use by the company today. The stories were borrowed from Joel Chandler Harris’s books about Uncle Remus who narrates African-American folk tales. The …show more content…
I was particularly intrigued by this film because of the lack of presence it has in conversations about Disney and Disney’s filmography. What also intrigued me was that upon my initial research for the film, I discovered that Splash Mountain—one of my favorite rides—was actually based on the film itself. As I began to delve deeper into my research, the hope of finding a wealth of information on the production aspects of the film began to dwindle quite rapidly, but what I did discover was that most of the information available about the film was in relation to the argument that the film is in fact racist. Because of this, I shifted my research from technical aspects to the promotion of the film and the reading of the film as a racist text. Once I shifted into this aspect of the film the information just started piling up. Numerous books have been written which dissect the film and its racist undertones, which I have used to support my thesis that the film does connote racism, but wasn’t produced with the intention of perpetuating racist ideology. I furthered my research into the legacy that the film has left because pieces of the film are present throughout Disney—whether it be in an attraction or in a montage. Songs and musical sequences are strategically used to omit any imagery that connotes racism. I looked into the status of the film and discovered there are no plans to rerelease the film in its entirety in the United States

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