Song Of The SouthSong Of The South (1946) Feature Length Theatrical Animated Film by Dave Koch
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- Walt Disney Studios
- Animated Characters: Br'er Fox, Br'er Bear, Br'er Rabbit, Br'er Possum, Br'er Frog, Mr. Bluebird, Birds.
Live-Action Characters: Johnny, Sally, Uncle Remus, Ginny, Grandmother, Aunt Tempy, John, Toby, Maid, Mrs. Favers, The Favers Boys.
- Awards: Academy Award Winner, Honorary Award (James Baskett), 1947.
Academy Award Winner, Best Music, Song "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah" (Music: Allie Wrubel.
Lyrics: Ray Gilbert), 1947.
Academy Award Nominee, Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture (Daniele Amfitheatrof, Paul J. Smith, Charles Wolcott), 1947.
- Originally Released in 1946.
- Production Number: 2029.
- Running Time: 94 minutes.
Cartoon Production Information:
James Baskett (Uncle Remus) was the first live actor hired by Disney. James Baskett passed away two years after this cartoon is released.
Because Disney believes this film may contain themes, sequences or characters that some people may consider derogatory toward certain ethnic or religious groups- as well as direct pressure from African American advocacy groups- the Walt Disney Studios has been seen to "disown" the film by just ignoring it; Song of the South has not been released on video or DVD in the United States.
However, this film has been released on video in other countries- but not in a format which plays on VCRs in North America. Copies of the video in the PAL format have sold on Internet auction sites at high prices.
Renowned Cinematographer Gregg Toland (Citizen Kane) shot the lush Technicolor live-action sequences. Juvenile actors Bobby Driscoll and Luana Patten were signed to contracts at Disney- both would appear in other films for Walt. Ruth Warrick, who had played "the first Mrs. Kane" in Citizen Kane (1941), played Johnny's mother, and is known by millions today as Phoebe Tyler on the daytime drama "All My Children." Hattie McDaniel, who had won a special Oscar for Gone With The Wind (1939), played the feisty housekeeper Aunt Tempy.
The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Scoring of a Musical Picture, received an Oscar for Best Song ("Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah") and received an honorary Oscar to James Baskett for his portrayal of Uncle Remus.
The marriage of live action and animation was the initial foundation of Walt Disney's film career-the Alice in Cartoonland series of the 1920's had featured a live-action girl in a cartoon world. For Song of the South, the tales that Uncle Remus tells are separate animated sequences. In order to bridge the "real" world with the animated one, several special effects scenes in which the two worlds merge on screen were supervised by optical effects wizard Ub Iwerks (Iwerks had initially been Walt's partner and original animator of Mickey Mouse).
The merging of live action and animation also owes a debt to the art of Claude Coats and Mary Blair, whose overall color palette and visual styling for the film created a smooth connection between the two worlds.
The three animated sequences, "Running Away," "The Tar Baby," and "The Laughing Place" represent some of the tightest, fastest-paced and funniest scenes in a Disney feature. The personal interrelationships and timing required among the characters was so precise that scenes involving multiple characters were all animated by a single animator, rather than breaking the task down by character.
One of the problems faced in animating Brer Fox was that the actor James Baskett spoke at such a clip that the animators couldn't synchronize the fox's mouth movements with absolute accuracy. Legendary animators Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston calculated that Baskett rattled off the fox's dialog at about 1/8 of a second per word! This was Baskett's last film.
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