D50: Make Mine Music

As the 1940s went on, and WWII raged in Europe, many of the animators at Disney were drafted into the army, and many more were taken by the US government to make propaganda films. As a result, Disney decided to continue to make anthologies to keep his remaining animators busy and to keep the company from going under. After the two government-sponsored films, Disney switched his attention to another film about music, Make Mine Music. However, unlike Fantasia, this was not some sort of experiment. It is rather obvious that it was made to keep the company floating. But in the end, I enjoyed it more than his experimental concert film.

Make Mine Music is comprise of eight animated shorts. A song accompanies each one from a very specific genre. The first one is a rustic ballad that tells the story of two feuding mountain families and how two of their members fall in love, but that does not mean the feud ends. This song and short are cute, and very risqué for today’s audiences. Not a great short, but a nice attention-grabber.

The second short is a tone poem entitled “The Blue Bayou”. Here, all we see are images from a bayou at night and two cranes flying around. It doesn’t sound like it is interesting, but when combined with the poem; it is a thing of beauty.
The third one is set to jazz and it just features a group of youths about town one night. The music and the creative animation make it one of the best shorts here.

The next one, “Two Silhouettes,” is a ballet. Here, all we see are, like the title suggests, the silhouettes of two dancers dancing to a beautiful song. This one is also a thing of beauty.

The next three are not necessarily set to a particular style of music, but are rather stories with music. The first one is about a baseball team that is losing by two points. Two of the team’s worst players manage to get on base, so it is up to its best player to score a home run so they can win. But his ego prevents him from doing so. It was nice, but easily the worse of the movie

The next one is “Peter and the Wolf.” We all know the story, so I’ll just say that it felt out of place, mostly because of the narration. At first the narrator tells us that a certain instrument represents a certain character, but I’m sure people would have figured it out without the narration. Then there is a love song about two hats destined to love each other forever and kept apart by the cold heart of destiny. This was actually pretty cute and sometimes sad, but in the end it is all about how love brings people together no matter what.

The final short is an opera about a whale that wanted to be an opera singer at the Met. It starts with a captain hearing it, but people don’t believe it. Eventually, an opera promoter thinks that the whale can sing because it swallowed an opera singer. And so, he sets up an expedition to find the whale and rescue the missing singer. But of course, that is not the case, and so, I will just say that things happen and the ending is VERY depressing, but it really does wrap up the short nicely with its moral about people not understanding talent that comes from the most unexpected places.

All in all, I enjoyed Make Mine Music more than I expected. From the eight Disney Animation’s so far, I’d say that this is in the top 5. Loved it despite the iffy shorts.

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