Make Mine Music

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Make Mine Music
Make mine music poster.png
Original theatrical release poster
Directed by
Produced byWalt Disney
Story by
Based on"Casey at the Bat"
by Ernest Thayer
Peter and the Wolf
by Sergei Prokofiev
Starring
Music by
Production
company
Distributed byRKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Release date
‹See TfM›
  • April 20, 1946 (1946-04-20) (New York City premiere)[1]
  • August 15, 1946 (1946-08-15) (U.S.)[1]
Running time
75 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$1.35 million[2]
Box office$3.275 million (worldwide rentals)[3]

Make Mine Music is a 1946 American animated musical anthology film produced by Walt Disney and released by RKO Radio Pictures on April 20, 1946. It is the eighth Disney animated feature film.

During the Second World War, much of Walt Disney's staff was drafted into the army, and those that remained were called upon by the U.S. government to make training and propaganda films. As a result, the studio was littered with unfinished story ideas. In order to keep the feature film division alive during this difficult time, the studio released six package films including this one, made up of various unrelated segments set to music. This is the third package film, following Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros. The film was entered into the 1946 Cannes Film Festival.[4]

Film segments[edit]

This particular film has ten such segments.

The Martins and the Coys[edit]

The popular radio vocal group The King's Men sings the story of a Hatfields and McCoys-style feud in the mountains broken up when 2 young people from each side inadvertently fall in love. [This segment was later censored from the film's U.S. video release due to management's objections to the film's depiction of gun use.]

Blue Bayou[edit]

This segment featured animation originally intended for Fantasia using the Claude Debussy musical composition Clair de Lune from Suite bergamasque. It featured two egrets flying through the Everglades on a moonlit night. However, by the time Make Mine Music was released Clair de Lune was replaced by the new song Blue Bayou, performed by the Ken Darby Singers. However, the original version of the segment still survives.

All the Cats Join In[edit]

This segment was one of two sections in which Benny Goodman and his Orchestra contributed.[5] Their music played over visuals drawn by an animator's pencil as the action occurred. The scene portrayed teens of the 1940s being swept away by popular music. This segment features some mild female nudity that was edited out in both the US and UK DVD releases, although the film's Japanese LaserDisc and VHD releases features some mild female nudity intact and uncensored.[6]

Without You[edit]

This segment is a ballad of lost love, sung by Andy Russell.

Casey at the Bat[edit]

This segment featured Jerry Colonna, reciting the poem also titled "Casey at the Bat" by Ernest Thayer, about the arrogant ballplayer whose cockiness was his undoing. A few moments are exaggerated or altered and music is added. A sequel cartoon to this segment called Casey Bats Again was released in 1954.[7]

Two Silhouettes[edit]

This segment featured two rotoscoped live-action ballet dancers, David Lichine and Tania Riabouchinskaya, moving in silhouette with animated backgrounds and characters. Dinah Shore sang the title song.

Peter and the Wolf[edit]

The segment "Peter and the Wolf" is an animated dramatization of the 1936 musical composition by Sergei Prokofiev, with narration by actor Sterling Holloway. A Russian boy named Peter sets off into the forest to hunt the wolf with his animal friends: a bird named Sascha, a duck named Sonia, and a cat named Ivan. Just like in Prokofiev's piece, each character is represented with a specific musical accompaniment: Peter by the String Quartet, Sascha by the Flute, Sonia by the Oboe, Ivan by the Clarinet, Grandpa by the Bassoon, the shooting of the Hunters' guns by the Kettledrums, and the evil Wolf primarily by horns and cymbals.

After You've Gone[edit]

This segment again featured Benny Goodman and The Goodman Quartet (Teddy Wilson, Cozy Cole and Sid Weiss) as six anthropomorphized instruments (Piano, Bass, Snare and bass Drums, Cymbal and Clarinet) who paraded through a musical playground.

Johnnie Fedora and Alice Bluebonnet[edit]

This segment told the romantic story of two hats who fell in love in a department store window. When Alice was sold, Johnnie devoted himself to finding her again. They eventually, by pure chance, meet up again and live happily ever after together, side by side. The Andrews Sisters provided the vocals. Like the other segments, it was later released theatrically. It was released as such on May 21, 1954.[8]

Finale: The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met[edit]

The final segment, the finale of the film, is a bittersweet story about a sperm whale (named Willie) with incredible musical talent and his dreams of singing grand opera. A rumor is spread throughout the city about an operatic whale, but is seemingly disproven, therefore the short-sighted impresario Tetti-Tatti believes that the whale has swallowed an opera singer and sets out to "rescue" his non-existent quarry, the newspapers announcing that he was going to sea. Whitey, Willie's seagull friend, excitedly brings Willie the newspaper, all of his friends believing that this is his big chance, so he goes out to meet the boat and sing for Tetti-Tatti. He finds them, and upon hearing Willie sing, Tetti-Tatti comes to believe that Willie has swallowed not one, but three singers (due to his having three uvalae, each with a different voice range; tenor, baritone and bass), and chases him with a harpoon on a boat with three crewmen. Upon hearing the whale sing, the crewmen try to stop the stubborn and deluded Tetti-Tatti from killing the whale, as they want to continue listening to him sing, even to the point of pinning Tetti-Tatti down by sitting on him. A montage then follows of what would be Willie's future career in performing opera on the stage of the Met, with Tetti-Tatti shown to have finally been convinced otherwise. In the end, reality strikes when Tetti-Tatti succeeds in harpooning and killing Willie, but the narrator then explains that Willie's voice (now in a thousand, each more golden than before) will sing on in heaven. Nelson Eddy narrated and performed all the voices in this segment. As Willie the Whale, Eddy sang, among others, Shortnin' Bread, "Largo al factotum" from The Barber of Seville and all three male voices in the first part of the Sextet from Donizetti's opera, Lucia di Lammermoor.

Just as the curtains close, the film ends.

Cast[edit]

Actor Role(s)
Nelson Eddy Narrator; characters (The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met)
Dinah Shore Singer (Two Silhouettes)
Benny Goodman Musician (All the Cats Join In/After You've Gone)
The Andrews Sisters Singers (Johnny Fedora and Alice Blue Bonnet)
Jerry Colonna Narrator (Casey at the Bat)
Sterling Holloway Narrator (Peter and the Wolf)
Andy Russell Singer (Without You)
David Lichine Dancer (Two Silhouettes)
Tania Riabouchinskaya Dancer (Two Silhouettes)
The Pied Pipers Singers (All the Cats Join In)
The King's Men Singers (The Martins and the Coys)
The Ken Darby Chorus Singers (Blue Bayou)

Release[edit]

Make Mine Music was initially released in theaters in 1946. Like many other package features of the 1940s, it was never given a wide theatrical reissue. Instead, its distinct segments were separated and released as separate short films or used as segments in Disney television programmes.

Home media[edit]

Make Mine Music was originally released on LaserDisc and VHD in Japan on October 21, 1985. It was released on VHS and DVD in the US on June 6, 2000 under the Walt Disney Gold Classic Collection line. This release was edited to remove The Martins and the Coys, because it contained comic gunplay not suitable for children.[6] Since Walt Disney Direct-to-Consumer and International re-acquired Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment from Walt Disney Studios on March 14, 2018, The Martins and the Coys was uncensored.[citation needed]

Outside of North America, Make Mine Music has been largely unavailable on DVD and VHS. It has, however, been available in Scandinavia on both VHS (1983) and DVD (2006) and since 2013 on DVD in the UK (also with The Martins and the Coys intact). This and The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad are the only two major Disney animated films never to see a release on Region 4 DVD in Australia; however, The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad did get a VHS release in Australia in 2000.

Make Mine Music was absent from Disney+ upon its launch in November 2019 and as of 2020 is the only film in the Disney animated canon not yet available on the service.

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

The film grossed $2,085,000 in domestic rentals from the United States and Canada. Cumulatively, it grossed $3,275,000 in worldwide rentals.[3]

Critical reaction[edit]

Abel Green of Variety stated that "the animation, color and music, the swing versus symph, and the imagination, execution and delineation—that this Disney feature (two years in the making) may command widest attention yet. The blend of cartoon with human action has been evidenced before; here Disney has retained all his characters in their basic art form, but endowed them with human qualities, voices and treatments, which is another step forward in the field where cartoons graduate into the field of the classics."[9] Harrison's Reports felt that some of the shorts were "more entertaining than others, but all are good, and each has something to please movie-goers of all tastes and ages. It is a delightful blend of comedy, music, pathos, animation, and color, given a most imaginative treatment."[10]

Bosley Crowther, reviewing for The New York Times, praised the film as "a brilliant abstraction wherein fanciful musical instruments dance gayly on sliding color disks, sets of romping fingers race blithely down tapes of piano keys and musical notes fly wildly through the multi-hued atmosphere—all to the tingling accompaniment of Benny Goodman's quartet playing the ancient and melodious torch song, "After You're Gone." Color, form and music blend dynamically in this bit, and a rich stimulant of sensuous rhythm is excitingly achieved."[11] Edwin Schallert of the Los Angeles Times wrote that Make Mine Music was "a picture of much inventiveness and imagination. The lighter the picture is, the more is its excellence demonstrated, it might be noted. And while music is the keynote of the production, it ranges well into comedy, and plentifully into swing."[12]

The film currently holds a 70% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with an average score of 6.5/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "This collection of musical-themed shorts doesn't reach the artistic heights of Fantasia, but it's well animated and mostly good fun."

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Make Mine Music: Detail View". American Film Institute. Retrieved April 29, 2014.
  2. ^ Stengel, Fred (September 12, 1945). "14 RKO Pictures to Exceed Million in Prod. Cost in Coming 'Year of Years'". Variety. p. 4 – via Internet Archive.
  3. ^ a b "Richard B. Jewell's RKO film grosses, 1929–51: The C. J. Trevlin Ledger: A comment". Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television. 14 (1). 1994.
  4. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Make Mine Music". Cannes Film Festival. Retrieved January 3, 2009.
  5. ^ Hischak, Thomas S.; Robinson, Mark A. (2013). The Disney Song Encyclopedia (2 ed.). Taylor Trade Publishing. p. 4. ISBN 9781589797130.
  6. ^ a b https://forum.blu-ray.com/showthread.php?t=301104&page=26
  7. ^ https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0046835/
  8. ^ "Johnny Fedora and Alice Bluebonnet" (in French). Retrieved December 3, 2010.
  9. ^ Green, Abel (April 17, 1946). "Film Reviews: Make Mine Music". Variety. p. 16. Retrieved September 21, 2020 – via Internet Archive.
  10. ^ "Make Mine Music". Harrison's Reports. April 20, 1946. p. 63. Retrieved September 21, 2020 – via Internet Archive.
  11. ^ Crowther, Bosley (April 22, 1946). "The Screen in Review". The New York Times. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
  12. ^ Schallert, Edwin (April 17, 1946). "'Make Mine Music' Hits Peak in Musical Whimsy". Los Angeles Times. Part II, p. 2. Retrieved September 21, 2020 – via Newspapers.com. open access

External links[edit]