'Song of the South' Re-Release Gains Supportive Development - Inside the Magic

‘Song of the South’ Re-Release Gains Supportive Development

in Movies

Uncle Remus in Song of the South

Credit: D23

Song of the South (1947) has long since been a bad mark on the Walt Disney Company’s history, and the studio has gone to great extremes to hide it. However, could there actually be support for it?

James Baskett and Bobby Driscoll in Song of the South
Credit: Disney

There’s no denying it: Song of the South is perhaps Disney’s most infamous and scandalous property, even before the days of The Black Cauldron (1985) or Strange World (2022). As much as the studio has tried to bury it, conceal it, and even sink its popular theme park attraction, the film still lingers in the public consciousness in spite of thousands never having seen it.

Related: Splash Mountain Closes For Good at Walt Disney World

It’s become something of an urban legend, a Disney movie so scandalous that they have to pull it from all marketing and keep it under lock and key definitely sounds like something far-fetched. And yet, there are many with fond memories of the film who want to see it restored.

Based on the stories collected by Joel Chandler Harris, the film has been heavily criticized for its racial portrayals, inaccurate descriptions of the American South during the Reconstruction era, and several reportedly hurtful stereotypes. Yet Disney fans still think it has its place amongst the rest of the studio’s work.

Could Song of the South Come to Disney+?

Br'er Fox and Br'er Rabbit
Credit: Disney

Inside the Magic recently covered the possibility of Disney re-releasing the film in the wake of the company’s 100th anniversary. If Disney truly wants to acknowledge the films that made it a household name, it needs to admit to its mistakes and missteps as well.

Related: Photos Reveal New Disney Princess Castle Coming to Life

That being said, the response from readers was not only vocal but unexpectedly supportive as well. So much so that it’s enough to make many, including this writer, wonder if the movie actually has a place in the Disney library.

Retired Splash Mountain Ride to Have Entire Finale Scene Erased for New Attraction, Report Claims
Credit: Disney

That’s not to say Song of the South is a 100% perfect film, far from it. However, the success of the movie was instrumental in the development of the Disney brand. While few modern audiences can identify the film, thousands have taken a plunge down Splash Mountain, and there are very few who don’t know the tune of “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah.”

Related: Splash Mountain Is Dead – Tiana’s Bayou Adventure Is Alive in New Official Reports From Disney

The comments section surrounding the coverage almost entirely favored the film’s return, even if only to combat the “woke” mob. However, many readers made excellent points regarding its restoration.

Uncle Remus and Br'er Rabbit
Credit: Disney

A user identified as “Sherri” shares thoughts echoed by multiple users when she writes,

“Yes, I think it should come out of the vault. We can’t have it both ways. As someone who is adamantly against banning books, it would be sheer hypocrisy to keep this banned. All connections to the ride are gone. Parents and adults should be able to make their own decisions.”

Further down, “Rene Muñoz” takes a more direct approach when they add,

“I totally agree that they should release the Song of the South movie. Not only because it would bring great economic gain to the Company but it is a reality that can be purchased elsewhere or secretly. but it would also show an act of humility by recognizing that the stereotypes were not correct but that they have improved over time. For many years, the Splásh Mountain attraction worked despite the controversy and was one of the most important in the park. So launching it again would be a success. In addition, it would rescue the most important cinematographic work of one of the actors of the African-American community. James Baskett. Hopefully, they release her in the future.”

And “Karebear” further supports the film’s need by writing,

“People completely miss the point with this film. First, it is history with all its messiness and uncomfortable reminders, but it is also a story where the main character is a black man who keeps a family together by being smarter and wiser than all of them. At the end of the day, it shows we need each other, and color doesn’t make anyone superior.”

Song of the South is decidedly not the first movie most should consider when they hear “Disney,” but how much of its unsavory reputation has genuinely come from the studio and not from public opinion? It’s not the company’s best project but it was still part of Walt Disney’s legacy.

Related: “That Is Our History” Historian Defends Splash Mountain and Uncle Remus

In a perfect world, the film would be re-released with a heavy disclaimer and a commentary from a Disney figure or film historian like Leonard Maltin. While some of the creative choices made by Disney were as wrong then as they are now, it’s still better to recognize how far the studio has evolved than to pretend something like this never happened.

Would you watch a re-release of Song of the South? Tell Inside the Magic in the comments below!

in Movies

View Comments (17)