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  • Writer's pictureCollin Souter

Week # 11: "Make Mine Music"

(Originally published on 3/18/22)


Make Mine Music

Run time: 67 min.

Release Date: April 20, 1946

Where/when I first saw it: Possibly on laserdisc as background noise in the mid-90s, but maybe this was the first viewing.

How I watched it today: Blu-ray on the big screen, Sunday late afternoon

If ever there were a movie in Disney’s first decade (for features) that could be described as “Fantasia For Beginners,” “Make Mine Music” is it. A collection of nine musical cartoons that are like Not-Quite-Silly Symphonies, with little touches of “Fantasia” here and there, the Disney team appeared to have had a lot of ideas sitting around and found a way to package them together in a structure that is on even less solid footing than “The Three Caballeros.”

I’m not surprised that my favorite turned out to be the one “Fantasia" reject, “Blue Bayou,” which was supposed to have Clair de Lune as its music. I would love to see that version at some point, but what’s here is still quite lovely and graceful. “Peter and the Wolf” is fun and a great way to introduce the music to young, first-time listeners. It has always been a textbook example on how music tells a story and, on top of that, you have the irresistible voice of Sterling Halloway doing the narration. I also quite enjoyed “Johnny Fedora and Alice Bluebonnet,” about two hats that fall in love and lose each other through unpredictable circumstances. Writing this a few days after seeing the film, that’s what stuck with me the most.

What’s here isn’t bad. It’s enjoyable enough. It just doesn’t achieve much of a lift-off at any point. It’s missing the artistry of previous films before it and the infectious celebratory aspects of “The Three Caballeros.” Many of Disney’s artists were off fighting the war and these were a few scraps stitched together to make something whole. The “package films” era is a fascinating stretch because it allows us to view these films as anthologies, which, by nature, are hit and miss. Disney’s features have almost always worked wonders as a whole up to this point. It’s the studio in the midst of a struggle and it’s obvious the top talent weren’t around to act as a guiding force. “Make Mine Music” serves as a palette cleanser for Disney devotees of the time awaiting for the glory days of the studio to return. You kinda sit watching this film waiting for some kind of glory in and of itself.


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