REVIEW REWIND: Fun and Fancy Free (1947)
Continuing our viewing of the Disney animated feature films, we have come to the 1947 classic Fun and Fancy Free.
Like most of the films of the 1940s, this is another package film. It contains two major stories. The first is Bongo, based on Little Bear Bongo by Sinclair Lewis, and is narrated by Dinah Shore. It starts out with Jiminy Cricket finding himself in a child's room and he puts on a record telling the story. Bongo is about a circus bear named Bongo who wishes to be free. One day, he gets his wish and he ends up in the forest where he has to learn the rituals of being a bear in the wild, including courting a female bear named Lulubelle.
The next story is narrated by Edgar Bergen who is having a party for Disney star Luana Patten along with his ventriloquist dummy friends Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd. Mickey and the Beanstalk is pretty much based on the famous fairy tale Jack and the Beanstalk by Benjamin Tabart, complete with giant and singing harp. But, instead of Jack, it's Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy.
Bongo is a wonderfully animated piece. The design of Bongo and Lulubelle are just absolutely adorable. But, I have to admit that the short, at around 30 minutes, feels a little long for a story so simple. It could have easily been told in half the time. The slapping part made me uncomfortable, especially when you see Bongo lay a hand to Lulubelle. I know bears "say it with a slap," but, by today's standards, it just seems like assault and battery.
Also by today's standards that doesn't work is the Edgar Bergen part. While, I'm sure, everything was innocent during that time, by today's standard, it seems a little creepy for an old man who isn't a relative to be throwing a party for a young girl. So, I have to admit that whole section had me weirded out a bit. But, not to the point where I didn't enjoy the movie.
I loved the Mickey and the Beanstalk section. It's nice to see Mickey, Donald and Goofy together. And the animation, like Bongo, is quite nice. I also enjoyed the music. Anita Gordon, who plays the harp, has a beautiful voice. Willie the Giant lifting the roof off of Edgar Bergen's house was a nice touch and made for a fun ending.
All in all, it's an enjoyable film, but, to me, one of the weaker of the package films. They should have kept the animation shorter and added one or two more shorts instead.
Just a reminder, I bundled Melody Time with my review of Make Mine Music. So, we move to The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad next.