Thursday, November 12, 2015

This Day, 1946

Song of the South was released.

I saw it multiple times as a kid, and the racism sailed right over my pointy little head.

But you know? This was mainstream stuff in the middle forties. And far milder than Gone With the Wind, which Time-Warner has kept in continuous circulation without apology, even as Diz Co. keeps its film with Hattie McDaniel off the American market.

Movies, all movies, are the products of the time in which they are created. It's important to remember that. Even Charlie Chaplin concocted gags that now make many people cringe. But we need to remember the context of the era in which Chaplin ... and all other filmmakers ... existed.

Thanks for the reminder, President Emeritus Sito.


Jamaal Bradley said...

Racist? .....More along the lines of insensitive. I own this movie with various other films that depict an era when African Americans dialect and grammar were made fun of. This was only caused by years and years of blacks not having the same educational opportunities as whites. So to create films that use this to amuse people is very degrading in my opinion.

Steve Hulett said...

Agree with you. But I've long felt that GWTW is worse than SotS, and yet it's in continuous release.

The way blacks were portrayed in old Hollywood, the way gays were portrayed, the way the handicapped were shown, was often degrading.

Tim said...

The primary difference between SotS and GWTW, is merely who released it.
The Walt Disney brand is family friendly, and a symbol for what is right and pure and childlike in the world.
MGM/RKO.... what is that? It's just a faceless company that the public can't really point a finger at. The average person on the street could not name 5 other MGM films, but they could rattle off 20 Disney films.

The other difference is that in GWTW, the central character is not black. So we ignore the racism to enjoy the meat of the serious war drama and love story. SotS is mainly about Uncle Remus, and his influence on Bobby Driscoll. We compartmentalize the racism to justify an epic work of art.

At least, that's my opinion.

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