I’m guessing many of you have not seen one of Walt Disney’s most obscure films, Make Mine Music. While I wouldn’t go so far as to say it is a good film, it is so strange that I find it oddly entertaining.
The thing that makes Make Mine Music unique is that it literally is a collection of unfinished projects that were hastily cobbled together to make a feature film. In some cases, you can see why some were abandoned because they don’t really fit with Disney’s style. Others are just flat out strange. Even in the world of the package films, Make Mine Music feels especially random.
The conceit of Make Mine Music is that all 10 shorts have musical themes. However, some shorts I don’t really get the musical theme, particularly Casey at the Bat, which isn’t about music at all.
Anyway, there are 10 shorts and they are a very odd grouping and feel like leftovers, but they do have their charm.
Martins and the Coys
This short was actually removed from the current Make Mine Music DVD because it was deemed as too controversial and mean-spirited. However, you can still see it on youtube if you search. It’s a take on the famous Hatfields’ and McCoys’ feud with the King’s Men singing the story of two feuding families and their children Grace Martin and Henry Coy. They fall in love, but it turns out Grace is a meanie and beats up poor Henry, so there really isn’t a happy ending which makes it very strange.
Originally intended for Fantasia, this short about a bayou habitat was changed from Clair de Lune to the more modern Blue Bayou, sung by the Ken Darby Singers. You can watch it with Clair de Lune, and I think it is much better, but both are fine, and the animation is nice.
All the Cats Join In
In this short, we get Benny Goodman and his orchestra accompanying a pencil drawing of a bunch of teenagers getting ready for a party and dancing. It feels like an odd choice for Disney where we see some skin and a girl getting out of a shower, but it is a harmless little short.
Singer Andy Russell accompanies a Dali-inspired short with images of trees melting together and changing like a waterfall.
Casey at the Bat
This is an odd addition to the film because it’s really not about or featuring music at all. It’s a poem by Ernest Thayer about the big star of the baseball team, Casey, striking out. The strange thing about this short is Casey is an arrogant jerk. I guess he gets his just desserts, but it is kind of a strange lead character for Disney to use.
For this short, they rotoscoped 2 ballet dancers, David Lichine and Tania Riabouchinska, and then used their images like a cameo or silhouette on the screen. Dinah Shore sings the title song, and I guess it is interesting if you like ballet dancing.
Peter and the Wolf
Narrated by Disney great Sterling Holloway, Peter and the Wolf adapts Sergei Prokofiev’s classical music into a story where each character is a different instrument. We have Peter as a string quartet, Sonia the Duck as an oboe, and Ivan the Cat as a clarinet. This short has the best animation of Make Mine Music.
After You’ve Gone
This is another odd addition to Make Mine Music. It features Benny Goodman and The Goodman Octet as 8 instruments box, fight, and participate in other activities.
Johnnie Fedora and Alice Bluebonnet
If you love Pixar’s Blue Umbrella short, you might love this short. Like Blue Umbrella gives us umbrellas in love, this one gives us hats. I can’t really get into umbrellas or hats in love, but it is cute enough. The Andrews Sisters singing the title song gives a vintage feel to it.
The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met
This is without a doubt the weirdest short in Make Mine Music, which is probably why I like it the best. You see, Willie the Whale has always wanted to sing opera at the Met. The head of the Met Tetti-Tatti seeks out Willie, thinking he has swallowed an opera singer. We then see visions of Willie singing opera at the Met. This looks so strange to have a whale standing upright singing in an opera costume. The ending for Willie and the messaging in the short are both bizarre. I’m no expert on opera but the music by Nelson Eddy throughout the short is outstanding.
So that is your 10 shorts in Make Mine Music. As you can probably tell, it is an eclectic group, and I think an entertaining watch. It take some effort to track down the movie, but I encourage you to give Make Mine Music a watch. It’s one of the more unique Disney offerings and better than you might expect.
Have you seen the Make Mine Music? Which short was your favorite?
Edited by: Kelly Conley