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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 10, No. 6. May 28, 1947

Disney's "Make Mine Music" is Amusing but Scrappy

Disney's "Make Mine Music" is Amusing but Scrappy

Light modern music, from ballet to boogie-woogie, vocalised by top-notch singers and animated by Disney cartoons—these are the material of "Make Mine Music." The film may be described as a lighter edition of "Fantasia," and is quite well done, except that exception could probably be taken to the episodic nature of the film. With an average of under eight minutes per subject, ten cartoons are strung together with no attempt at continuity.

The better numbers, we think, are those which are undeniably swing, for in these the quick music and clear bright colours are very attractive. Like the songs which inspire them, the tone poems and sentimental serenades lack depth.

The opening number of the show is a fresh-coloured wild west rustic ballad: "The Martins and the Coys." In this a barn dance is outstanding for its colour, music and true Western flavour.

This is followed by " Blue Bayou," a poor tune, which is not compensated for by the use of wearing blues and purples, slumbrous shadows and an inappropriate stork.

A jazz interlude, "All the Cats Join In," follows. This is about a juke-box and hepcats. Outstanding here is the skilful use of a wandering pencil which sketches in the needed detail with engaging effect. The colour is refreshing and the sequences altogether vivid, but the tune unfortunately does not stand out.

"Without You," vocalised by Andy Russell, is mainly impressionistic. Scenes of gloom and misery gradually form and change while frigid stars wander incongruously around the heavens, as the singer bewails his lost love.

Jerry Colonna's dramatic recitation, "Casey at the Bat," is set in America at the turn of the century. The admiration for Casey and the tension when he goes in to bat are amusingly shown, while the suspense is well sustained till the final surprise denouement.

Following this is a ballet, "Two Silhouettes," which is danced by Tania Riabouchinska and David Lichine. A purple heart splits up into two cupids who draw a curtain to show the black silhouettes of the two dancers against a rose and heliotrope background. In this the vocal is used as a foundation for the action, but the movement of the stars and the figures to the words is very obvious and automatic. The cupids are rather crude and interfere with the action. Chief interest is in Dinah Shore's vocal.

The seventh number is the Disney version of Prokofieff's well-known musical fairy tale "Peter and the Wolf." We feel that it lacks the charm which it might have been given, and that the cartoon figures are disappointing. They are, in fact, a rehash of previous Disney characters. The puppet-like Peter bears a striking resemblance to Pinnochio, Sonia to the much more successful Donald Duck and the wolf is a too horristic version of the Big Bad Wolf. The poor narration is not compensated for by the bad recording of' the music. Altogether the number is quite humorous if allowances are made for the differences from the original tale.

In the second Benny Goodman number, "After You've Gone," a trict-tempo quick-step, we see the instruments of the quartet zoompling around at high speed to match the fast, heavily-accentuated rhythm. The colours lack subtlety and the ideas are crude, but the music deserves no better.

The number which appeals most to us is "Johnny Fedora and Alice Blue Bonnet," the very delightful love story of two hats. It follows the story of the well-known song from department store to a surprising and satisfying finale. The animation is very well done and another feature is the vocal by the Andrews Sisters.

The finale is the opera pathetique. "The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met." An impresario, Tetti-Tatti, goes in search of a mythical singing whale. This is the lovable giant, Willie, whom we first meet when he is singing "Mamma's Lil' Baby Loves Shortenin' Bread" to a delighted audience of pelicans and seals. His friend the little seagull leads him to the impresario, who attempts to harpoon the whale but is restrained by his sailors who are enchanted with Willie's singing. We are shown Willie's possible career at the Met in such roles as Tristan and Mephistopheles if he had been "discovered." But Tetti-Tatti at last manages to shoot Willie, and the final scene shows Willie in heaven as an angel whale complete with halo and harp, standing by the Pearly Gates on which hangs a notice, "Sold Out."

Altogether this film is excellent entertainment and can be safely recommended for an evening's amusement.—K.L.B., J.A.L.


There's a legend I never did like,
Of a Dutchman who blocked up a dyke;
There are tidier ways
Of eliciting praise:
For instance—try writing for Spike.