51 Days of Disney (Day 10): Melody Time

Version watched: 2000 DVD release

I am very glad that there is only one package film after this one, because talking about these movies is really starting to get old for me. There is only so many times that you can say that I can essentially say the same things about multiple movies. There just really isn’t that much that is so different about these movies, sure they all have different stories and styles, but there just isn’t enough substance in each segment to make it easy to talk about. Melody Time is very similar to Make Mine Music in that there are a larger number of shorter segments. In this case, there are 7 segments compared to Make Mine Music‘s 10 and the movie feels a bit stronger because of it. The segments just get a little bit more time to breathe.

Melody Time is a much better package film than Make Mine Music is. “Once Upon a Wintertime” starts as a very standard love story, but turns into something much more action packed and interesting as it progresses. “Bumble Boogie” is a surreal, jazzy version of  the “Flight of the Bumblebee.” It’s very fun to watch and the music by the Freddy Martin Orchestra is pretty fantastic to listen to, it’s just a shame that it’s so short.

The best segments are “the Legend of Johnny Appleseed”, “Blame it on the Samba”, and “Pecos Bill.” “The Legend of Johnny Appleseed”, of course, follows the story of Johnny Appleseed almost to a t. It’s very close to the original legend. What I like about the short is that it has a wonderful simplistic style to it’s backgrounds that is strongly reminiscent to Mary Blair’s concept art for Alice in Wonderland. It turns out that she did do the backgrounds for the segment, so that naturally made me like it even more. “Blame it on the Samba” features Donald Duck, Jose Carioca, and the Aracuan Bird from the Three Caballeros, but oddly enough no Panchito. This segment has some pretty surreal moments to it and the most logical reason that I like them is because the bizarre images are something that can really only be done in animation. They play with everything you know about the real world and just turn it on it’s end.

“Pecos Bill” is partially narrated by the legend of the silver screen, Roy Rogers and features some characters that are more famous to Disney fans as characters in the parks than they are as animated ones. Pecos Bill and Slue Foot Sue were the main characters of the Golden Horseshoe Revue, made famous by the now late Wally Boag and Betty Taylor. The story is about Pecos Bill, the cowboy wild child (essentially a wild west Tarzan), and many of the tall tales that surrounded his life and his courting of Slue Foot Sue. Just as a note, if you get the American DVD release, any shots of Bill smoking will be digitally edited to remove the cigarette. The weird thing about this is that Jose Carioca smokes cigars like a chimney, but he doesn’t get any editing.

Tomorrow is the last (and best) of the package films and then we get into the real meat of the Disney animated canon, so be on the lookout for that.

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