Disney's Bob Iger says, "NO" to Song of the South on DVD

Discussion in 'DVD Video' started by unclejr, Mar 11, 2006.

  1. unclejr

    unclejr Guest

    unclejr, Mar 11, 2006
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  2. Derek Janssen, Mar 12, 2006
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  3. unclejr

    Joshua Zyber Guest

    Keep dreaming.
    Joshua Zyber, Mar 12, 2006
  4. unclejr

    unclejr Guest

    Okay, Josh. I know that you've seen the film on Japanese LD. In your
    opinion, what EXACTLY is keeping Disney from releasing this film on
    DVD? Certainly, Disney has released much more racially-insensitive
    material (in the form of their cartoon shorts) on their Treasures
    series with Leonard Maltin warning us about the racial content.

    unclejr, Mar 12, 2006
  5. Has anyone asked for Jim Hill Media's response to this?
    Bernie Woodham, Mar 12, 2006
  6. Here is the full question/answer quote as posted on www.songofthesouth.net:

    "My name is Howard Cromer. I live in Cypress, I'm a Disney shareholder. I'm
    actually delivering a message from my son, 10. He wants to know in recent
    years, in the midst of all your re-releases of your videos, why you haven't
    released Song of the South on your Disney Classics?" [Applause] "And, he
    wonders why. Frank Wells told me many years ago that it would be coming out.
    Well obviously Frank Wells isn't around anymore, so we still wonder why. And
    by the way, Mr. Iger, he thinks it was a very good choice when they made you
    CEO of Disney." [Applause]

    Iger: "Thank you very much. You may change your mind when I answer your
    question, though. Um... we've discussed this a lot. We believe it's actually
    an opportunity from a financial perspective to put Song of the South out. I
    screened it fairly recently because I hadn't seen it since I was a child,
    and I have to tell you after I watched it, even considering the context that
    it was made, I had some concerns about it because of what it depicted. And
    thought it's quite possible that people wouldn't consider it in the context
    that it was made, and there were some... [long pause] depictions that I
    mentioned earlier in the film that I think would be bothersome to a lot of
    people. And so, owing to the sensitivity that exists in our culture,
    balancing it with the desire to, uh, maybe increase our earnings a bit, but
    never putting that in front of what we thought were our ethics and our
    integrity, we made the decision not to re-release it. Not a decision that is
    made forever, I imagine this is gonna continue to come up, but for now we
    simply don't have plans to bring it back because of the sensitivities that I
    mentioned. Sorry."
    Bernie Woodham, Mar 12, 2006
  7. unclejr

    unclejr Guest

    Thanks, Bernie. I completely forgot to look at Christian's site for
    any information on this.

    unclejr, Mar 12, 2006
  8. unclejr

    mw Guest

    It is called "political correctness" and it is the far left's answer to censorship. It has done more damage to our culture and to this nation than Sen. McCarthy did back in the day. Oh no, we can't handle SOUNG OF THE SOUTH, but Black Entertainment Television can air the tv show LIL KIM: COUNTDOWN TO LOCKDOWN, and the hip-hop communtiy can continue to pimpify our culture. But SONG OF THE SOUTH? No way!
    Thank God, we were able to get KING KONG out on a special ed. DVD before the wiser heads at Turner had a chance to cut out all the scenes of the Skull Island natives.
    mw, Mar 12, 2006
  9. Not to mention, it also dates back to the proverbial Disgruntled Employee:

    Derek Janssen
    Derek Janssen, Mar 12, 2006
  10. unclejr

    Mr. Moe Guest

    Mr. Moe, Mar 12, 2006
  11. From this, one may note:

    - Cromer, being rather (ahemidiot) naive, asked whether it would be a
    Disney CLASSIC--Whereas, up to this point, many video fans had
    automatically assumed it would be Disney TREASURES, where rare obscure
    collector material goes, and where the WWII producer would have probably
    gotten charge of "historical context", as he'd hoped. Slight difference.
    Thanks to the blunder, Iger answered the question of whether Disney
    would lavish an expensive hi-profile 2-disk on it in Wal-Mart stores
    everywhere, of which we can guess that the answer would probably likely
    have been "no".

    - Note the deep level of detail in Iger's response:
    "Well, we...talked about it, and...there was bad stuff, and...we decided
    bad stuff wouldn't make money...Although it probably would, we thought
    it wouldn't, and..."
    Although it HAS gotten "heavy discussion" in the boardoom since last
    year, it sounds as if Iger wasn't privy to most of it--He didn't seem to
    be aware of the Classics-vs.-Treasures question, couldn't say whether it
    would have the "Black History" intro, and I'd wager we know what answer
    Bob would give in Trivial Pursuit if we asked him whether Remus was a
    slave or a sharecropper...

    Simply put--Think he was ambushed with this question. His mind has been
    on other and bigger corporate issues these last three months; he thought
    a simple proclamation would quiet an "obscure" fan-geek question, hadn't
    quite read the memos from last year, and thought a word from the top
    would end the discussion.
    Most likely it's NOT "a decision that's going to be made forever", now
    that somebody's noticed a lot of people who know more about it than he does.

    Derek Janssen (trying to be realistic, and fighting down old fervors
    from the Miyazaki Wars)
    Derek Janssen, Mar 13, 2006

  12. Disney's _Song of the South_ is readily available on DVD -- as an eBay
    bootleg. If you want to see it badly enough, you can find it. I have watched
    the film and can find nothing that is offensive enough to warrant its being
    banned in the US. There are the black "Uncle" and "Aunt" characters, which
    are a throwback to the days of slavery. And of course, the Tar Baby is
    black. But that's about it.

    The censorship of _Song of the South_ has to be some kind of Disney studio
    thing, because other studios aren't as conservative to when it comes to
    releasing racially-sensitive material on DVD:

    While Disney is busy rewriting history by pretending that it never made
    the completely harmless _Song of the South_ (1946), Universal/Paramount
    has no problem releasing _Holiday Inn_(1942) on DVD.

    _Holiday Inn_ has Bing Crosby appearing in one of the most embarrassing
    blackface sketches ever put on film. Crosby has turned his Connecticut
    ranch house into an inn which is open only on holidays. His housekeeper,
    Mammy, (played by Louise Beavers) knows her place -- which is in the
    kitchen -- and she is also a credit to her race. You can be sure that she
    had no problem with buying a first class ticket and then taking a seat in
    the back of the bus as she road over to the inn. Her two little children are
    cute as can be, but where is her husband? Nobody seems to know. Maybe he's
    off serving in one of the segregated branches of the military.

    In the "Abraham" musical number, the entire band and cast appears in
    insulting slave-like costumes and one of the female singers has an
    exaggerated pickaninny hairdo. Bing Crosby is dressed in an Uncle Tom
    suit as he sings a tribute to Abraham Lincoln for freeing the slaves.

    As the song progresses, Mammy is in the kitchen, where she gets to sing
    the following lyrics to her children:

    When black folks lived in slavery,
    Who was it set the darky free?
    That's right, child.

    There isn't anything that comes close to being this racist in _Song of the
    South_. So how is it that Universal has no problem releasing _Holiday Inn_,
    in all of its racist glory, while Disney fears a backlash from releasing its
    inoffensive _Song of the South_?

    One-Shot Scot, Mar 13, 2006
  13. unclejr

    jayembee Guest

    Hell, as far as I'm concerned, the Indian scenes in PETER PAN are
    more racially insensitive than anything in SONG OF THE SOUTH.

    -- jayembee
    jayembee, Mar 13, 2006
  14. unclejr

    GMAN Guest

    But Disney isn't worried about a 1/2 drop in park attendance if they offend the
    Native American population.
    GMAN, Mar 13, 2006
  15. unclejr

    jayembee Guest

    Exactly. Which is why anyone who says that it's all about sensitivity,
    and not about the bling is deluding themselves.

    -- jayembee
    jayembee, Mar 14, 2006
  16. But thought "park attendance" (ie. Splash Mountain fans) was their last
    connection hope at selling Br'er Rabbit to an unaccustomed generation of
    mainstream kids...

    Derek Janssen
    Derek Janssen, Mar 14, 2006
  17. Has the thought that maybe it's a copyright issue that is keeping Song
    of the South from being released on DVD been brought up yet? The
    copyright for the character of Mickey Mouse came up a few years ago,
    sending Disney running to Washington to renew it. This movie, along
    with the park attractions, is based on the Uncle Remus tales by Joel
    Chandler Harris, who's estate probably still holds the copyrights to
    all the stories and characters. Disney obviously had to buy the film
    rights for the characters from Joel Chandler Harris before they could
    even begin production on Song of the South. They would also have had
    to negotiate for any future big-screen theatrical and tape releases
    after the initial release. It's possible Disney does not have the
    rights to enable distribution on DVD format, unless they had put in a
    clause in the contract back when they first negotiated for vhs tapes
    over twenty years ago for any future media formats within a certain
    period of time. Maybe Joel Chandler Harris' family is really greedy
    and holding out for a bigger slice of rubarb pie. Even the park
    attractions must score them some dough annually.
    littlejoeflub, Mar 15, 2006
  18. ....Uh, we DID read the post where Bob Iger stood up in public at the
    Annual Stockholders' Meeting, said he watched it last week, and didn't
    want to release it?

    Derek Janssen (it's the *little* things that are so often laid open to
    Derek Janssen, Mar 15, 2006
  19. As far as issues of copyright, Disney bought the copyrights to the Harris
    stories a few years before they made "Song of the South". We are speaking
    of a simpler time. There were no ideas as far as videotape or dvd releases.
    Maybe merchandising rights, but Disney was releasing Uncle Remus toy
    products back when the movie was released. So they certainly had
    merchandiscing rights. But I think back in the time we are talking about
    when a movie company bought the rights to the book it was assumed they had
    the rights to everything. Since those days, copyright negotiations have
    become more complicated.

    But as far as the Joel Chandler Harris' family, they're just shit out of
    luck because the Uncle Remus tales went into the Public Domain a long, long
    time ago.
    Bernie Woodham, Mar 15, 2006
  20. unclejr

    jayembee Guest

    Did it ever occur to you that if that was the case, then Disney would
    have the easiest out on the face of the Earth for not bringing the
    film out on DVD? That if that was the reason why they couldn't release
    it, they'd just *say* so, instead of mumbling all sorts of excuses
    about "racial sensitivity"?

    -- jayembee
    jayembee, Mar 16, 2006
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