With high-flying entertainment and messages about friendship, acceptance, courage and believing in yourself, Walt Disneys Dumbo is a timeless classic for children of all ages. Meet Dumbo, Mrs. Jumbo's sweet little Baby Mine, who charms all who see him until its discovered that he has huge floppy ears! With the support of his very best friend, Timothy the mouse, Dumbo soon learns that his spectacular ears make him unique and special, allowing him to soar to fame as the world's only flying elephant.
"A Disney "classic" that actually is a classic, Dumbo should be part of your video collection whether or not you have children. The storytelling was never as lean as in Dumbo, the songs rarely as haunting (or just plain weird), the characters rarely so well defined. The film pits the "cold, cruel, heartless" world that can't accept abnormality against a plucky, and mute, hero. Jumbo Jr. (Dumbo is a mean-spirited nickname) is ostracized from the circus pack shortly after his delivery by the stork because of his big ears. His mother sticks up for him and is shackled. He's jeered by children (an insightful scene has one boy poking fun at Dumbo's ears, even though the youngster's ears are also ungainly), used by the circus folk, and demoted to appearing with the clowns. Only the decent Timothy Q. Mouse looks out for the little guy. Concerns about the un-PC "Jim Crow" crows, who mock Dumbo with the wonderful "When I See an Elephant Fly," should be moderated by remembering that the crows are the only social group in the film who act kindly to the little outcast. If you don't mist up during the "Baby Mine" scene, you may be legally pronounced dead."--Keith Simanton
Robin Hood (1973):
An imaginative Disney version of the Robin Hood legend. Fun and romance abounds as the swashbuckling hero of Sherwood Forest, and his valiant sidekick plot one daring adventure after another to outwit the greedy prince and his partner as they put the tax squeeze on the poor.
"A minor classic from Disney, this 1973 all-animal, all-animated musical version of the familiar story is more charming than one might expect. Perhaps it's the warm, chummy take on key relationships within the legend--the way Robin Hood (Brian Bedford) gets twitterpated whenever the subject of Maid Marian (Monica Evans) comes up or the way best pal Little John (Phil Harris voicing a variation on his own Baloo from The Jungle Book) admonishes the Sherwood Forest hero, "Aw, Rob, why dontcha just marry the girl?" (Then, of course, there's the canny "casting" of the romantic leads as foxes: Robin the sly one and Marian the, well, foxy one.) The rest of the vocal cast is lively and eclectic: Peter Ustinov, Andy Devine, Terry-Thomas, George Lindsey. Roger Miller provides the songs and voice for the minstrel character Allan-A-Dale. The film is ably directed by Wolfgang Reitherman, whose decades of work in Disney's animation division helped create the studio's rich legacy." --Tom Keogh
The Fox and The Hound (1981):
The Disney animated feature The Fox and the Hound tells the story of a friendship between traditional enemies. Tod is a fox whose parents have died. His best friend is a hunting dog named Copper. As Copper grows up, he learns that it is his job to hunt foxes. Tod's caretaker Widow Tweed takes Tod to live in a game preserve where he falls madly in love with Vixey. Copper and his owner eventually enter the preserve to hunt Tod, and eventually Copper must decide between duty and friendship.
"The Fox and the Hound marked the last collaboration between Disney's older artists, including three of the "Nine Old Men" (Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston, and Woolie Reitherman), and the young animators who would make the record-breaking films of the '90s. Based on a book by Daniel P. Mannix, the film tells the story of a bloodhound puppy and a fox kit who begin as friends but are forced to become enemies. Tod and Copper barely establish their friendship before Copper begins his training as hunting dog. Unfortunately, neither character develops much of a personality, which makes it difficult to care about them. The screen comes alive near end of the film, when Tod and Copper have to join forces to fight off an enormous bear. It had been years since Disney produced a sequence with this kind of feral power--and years would pass before they surpassed it. The Fox and the Hound ranks as one of the studio's lesser efforts, but it suggests that better films were soon to follow. (Ages 5 and older)" --Charles Solomon
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