February 23, 2005

Hell freezes over: "Song of the South" due out on DVD in 2006

Sources inside Buena Vista Entertainment indicate that "Song of the South" will finally be released on DVD in 2006.

"Song of the South." The Academy Award winning film that former Disney Feature Animation head Thomas Schumacher once told Roger Ebert was on "permanent moratorium" has reportedly been greenlit for release late next year. A special 60th anniversary edition that -- thanks to a plethora of extra features -- will try & put this somewhat controversial motion picture in historial context.

"Why -- after all these years -- did Disney finally give in?," you query. It's simple, really. "Song of the South" 's 60th anniversary was simply too good a promotional hook for the Mouse's marketing staff to pass up. More to the point, Buena Vista Home Entertainment could really use a hit right about now.

Given that Disneyana fans have been clamoring for a "Song of the South" DVD for nearly a decade now, BVHE execs are hoping that all of this pent-up demand will eventually translate in really big sales for this disc. Disney is hoping to sell at least 10-12 million units of this particular motion picture.

"But aren't Disney Company execs concerned about how the African American community may response to 'Song of the South' 's release of DVD?," you continue. Yep. I won't lie to you folks. There's a lot of people in the Team Disney Burbank building who are very concerned that -- by releasing this much maligned motion picture on home video & DVD -- that the Mouse House is potentially opening itself up to a ton of bad publicity.

With the hope of avoiding that, BVHE reportedly plans to really pile on the extra features with "Song of the South." Among the ideas currently being knocked around is producing a special documentary that -- through use of clips from that TV movie version of Rodgers & Hammerstein's "Cinderella" that Disney produced back in 1997 as well as sequences from "The Proud Family" & "That's So Raven" -- would demonstrate that a person's color really doesn't matter at the modern Walt Disney Company. There's also talk of including Walt Disney Feature Animation's seldom-seen short, "John Henry," as one of the disc's special features.

"Song of the South" never made it out on video in the United States in past years, primarily due to the potential backlash among Civil Rights groups.

Fans of all races have begged and cajoled but Disney has stood their ground...until now.

So you can stop bidding on those overpriced black and gray-market videos on eBay, provided you can hang on for about a year and a half or so.

Posted by mhking at February 23, 2005 10:46 PM

Seen with a white child's eyes, I remember Song of the South as one of the most pleasant movies of my childhood. I was enamored of Uncle Remus all my life. I believe the "Zip-a-Dee-De-Dah" song was a hit parade favorite. I remember it being on radio. This is a beautifully done classic film. I do so hope it won't generate any negative backlash. Considering the time, and the beauty of the presentation, I consider it a masterpiece of black/white history. Let another generation see it and judge for themselves -- without input from "the usual suspects!"

Posted by: Indigo at February 24, 2005 01:05 AM

I don't get it - what's so controversal about this movie? This is the first I've ever heard of it . . . mind you, I was born during the 60s, so that may be part of the reason why I've never heard of it.

Posted by: Lola Lee at February 24, 2005 05:32 PM

The great Charlie Chan movies are also slowly being released. Not the best films quality wise, but very enjoyable.

I also look forward to the release of those classic Bugs Bunny cartoons. Many charictures of blacks and Japanese, but how are the young supposed to know how people were treated if these pieces of history are censored?

Posted by: Steven J. Kelso Sr. at February 24, 2005 09:07 PM

And last but not least. This from “ramblings of a black conservative”. Walt Disney plans to release the “Song of the South” DVD in 2006. Disney claims there has been great demand for this DVD over the years but feared potential African American backlash. Now who wouldn’t want to reminisce with enduring characters such as “Tar Baby” or sing along to the timeless lyrics from “Uncle Remus":
"The leopard's pappy got the gout,
From eatin' too much speckled trout.
His mammy dreamed of polka dots—
That's how the leopard got his spots” I wonder if H.K. Edgerton has reserved his copy?

Posted by: Christopher Arps at February 24, 2005 10:54 PM

well I wonder when they will release "polly" the black version of pollyana. there has been a high demmand for that made for tv movie. ithad keisha knight pulliamfrom cosby show. im sure all u black folk had that movie in your home

Posted by: shari at February 27, 2005 12:57 AM
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