“A pop Fantasia” is how jon TK described Make Mine Music and I have to agree. The third film in the package film era, I have to say that I remember seeing a lot of these shorts in my childhood but I can’t remember watching them all together in the way they were supposed to be seen, especially not as an adult. So once again, here I am technically watching a Disney film for the first time. These were some really hard times for the studios. Walt had very little money and resources, with a lot of his staff being either drafted into the army or called upon by the government to make training and propaganda films. The package films were a way to make back what they put into the films, but earned very little (if any at all) profits. That being said, I did think Make Mine Music had several memorable shorts almost worthy of the Disney name.
At the suggestion of jon TK (a wonderful reader who regularly provides some amazing insights and observations, right alongside tinkerbellfan5 and keely-baily on IMDB), I looked up the original opening for Make Mine Music on YouTube called “The Martins and the Coys,” which had been cut from the home video release. I think one of the YouTube comments summed it up the best: “The original Red vs. Blue” (sorry, I’m also a huge Roosterteeth fan). They claimed to have cut this from the home video release for not wanting to expose children to cartoon gun violence. While I can understand that, I think there are plenty of cartoons out now that kids are exposed to that make the “violence” in this short look like The Care Bears.
The backgrounds for “Blue Bayou” were gorgeous and showed off some Bambi style with the multi-plane camera. The cranes were photo realistic lovelies to watch. Apparently animation for this sequence had originally been created for the deleted “Clair de lune” scene in Fantasia (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0038718/trivia), explaining its exceptional quality. “All The Cats Join In” was definitely a jazzy toe tapper with some interesting animation, in comparison to the previous segment’s photo-realism. This piece has almost a comic book pop feel to it, reminiscent of some of the later shorts that would be found in Fantasia 2000. It’s an impressive display of swing dancing, some of which I hypothesize they had photo reference for.
I feel like there it’s required in every Disney film that there be a scene that allows effects animation to stretch its wings and show what it’s made of. For Make Mine Music, it’s “Without You.” Rain falling against windowpanes, twinkling stars, sunrises, and rippling water is a small sampling of what is shown in this short. All of which would not be possible if it were not for the effects animation department.
“Casey at the Bat” most definitely is done in the classic Silly Symphony style, from the round cartoonish faces and the inhuman feats of bodily activity (like the guy getting his mustache tangled around his bat and the catcher braiding his fingers literally together). I have to wonder if the three girls who fawn over Casey served as some inspiration for the three girls that later fawn over Gaston in Beauty and the Beast, because they all seem similar. “Two Silhouettes” merged animation of live action performance almost seamlessly and was a lovely interpretation (if quite literal) for the piece of music it accompanied. The little bit at the end with the two cupids dancing together was cute, and almost reminiscent of Fantasia with the way they merged into a heart.
Oh boy. I remember “The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met” more than any other short in this film. Why? It’s the one that made me sad as a kid and it still makes me sad now. Willie was so cute the way he serenaded everyone! I wish there were whales who could sing opera in real life, just because of how awesome that would be. It also strikes me a little too close to current events now with the issues surrounding whaling in the world today. Of course, whales aren’t being killed today because insane conductors think that they might have swallowed three opera singers. Still, the world sounds a little less melodic without you, Willie.