No surprise that Ben disliked The Three Caballeros. As I said myself, in the review, it was truly awful. I honestly have nothing else to say regarding his review, so let’s move on.
Now, the Disneyologists amongst you will know that Fun and Fancy Free wasn’t the next film to come out of the Walt Disney Animation Studios after The Three Caballeros. The next release was in fact ‘Make Mine Music’, followed by ‘Song of the South’. However, neither of these films are available on Disney Life in the UK (in fact, ‘Song of the South’ isn’t available anywhere!). I looked into this on Wikipedia and found that this was related to a segment in ‘Make Mine Music’ featuring gun use and ‘Song of the South’ due to:
“the film’s portrayal of African Americans as racist and offensive, maintaining that the black vernacular and other qualities are stereotypes. In addition, the plantation setting is sometimes criticized as idyllic and glorified”.
A good call on Disney’s part in the 21st Century, I’d say. However, if either of these films become available again, we will give them a watch and let you know what we think (though, to be honest, I’m not in any rush to see them).
‘Fun and Fancy Free’ was the fourth of six films that had been created during the Second World War, whilst most of the WDAS staff had been drafted, and therefore had a considerably lower budget. The film starts with Jiminy Cricket (got a lot of time for Jiminy!), who introduces us to the first story, Bongo, about a circus bear that escapes back to wild (despite being bred in captivity). Following Bongo, we get the story of ‘Mickey and the Beanstalk’, which is basically an adaptation of ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’.
Despite the two stories (which, in themselves, were entertaining enough), much like in Saludos and Caballeros, the film frequently goes off on tangents of random musical animations that bear little relevance to the stories supposedly being told and are quite hard to follow at times. By this point, those segments have just become tedious to me and Ben. Thankfully, we also don’t have access to the next release, ‘Melody Time’ (there’s no specific reason why we don’t have access, so I’m assuming that it must just be total crap), which looks like it’s in the same ilk as the last three watched. Let’s hope The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad is better. If not, it’s Cinderella after that one! Woop woop!
Disney during the 1940’s was rubbish. After watching seven films of dated indulgence mixed with child donkey slavery, deer snuff and plenty of birds that are almost moist with excitement at watching Latin American propaganda material, we’ve been able to mercifully skip two films either due to gunplay or scenes containing slavery. Without a doubt this is the only time I’ve had reason to say, “high-five for film racism!” In all seriousness, there has been a slight bitter taste in quite a few of the films so far, whether it’s normalising slavery, firearms, tobacco, alcohol or implying that women are only good for cleaning and Prince / dwarf nurturing. I will instead give a big high-ten for the progress we’ve seen since.
Unfortunately there are still two more Disney films to endure of their 1940’s era, and the title of the 1947 entry, ‘Fun and Fancy Free’, leaves little room for optimism. At worst, they created such a meaningless pile of crap that they felt compelled to name the film with as much positive connotation as possible to mask the shitshow contained within. At best, it’s a documentary about swingers. Given the past reputation of Disney films I mentioned above, a propaganda flick about the joys of dogging with the wife in Baía, seems perfectly plausible.
The intro tune is annoying and dated as always and…. bugger. Donald Duck again. Could this guy just piss off? If we get Jose Carioca again, who bludgeoned the last two films with his Latin America sycophancy, I swear to God I will turn it off. I just had to get Kerry to wind the intro song back as I’m sure I just heard the line “If you should have a crummy cake”. Go listen and see if you hear that too. Now I’ve put that idea in your head, you probably will. Alas, on rehearing the line it actually says, “if you should have a crummy day”. I’m disappointed. A crummy cake will cheer me up I’m sure. I really want cake now. Subliminal advertising perhaps? Wait, are Disney now receiving backhanders from Latin America AND a Mr. Kipling? Is ‘Fun and Fancy Free’ going to be all about how your life must include Fondant Fancies maybe? I could go for a Fondant Fancy right now. Not sure I could cope with a whole film about them though, especially if that dick Donald Duck is going to be eating them. I’m thinking about cake an awful lot, so if this was their cunning plan, then it really is working a treat.
Hello! Sorry I got totally side-tracked there. Right so, ‘Fun and Fancy Free’. We start with Jiminy Cricket, who was one of the less annoying parts of Pinocchio. I’m realising that I’m just starting to build up pockets of knowledge about Disney which has resulted in a cacophony of feelings ranging from pride to nausea. He’s singing on a boat about being fun and fancy free. They’re really driving home the point about fun and fancy freeness through the medium of song already, and I still have no idea really about what it means. I want to know why they made this the film name. Now he’s in a house. We see the fish he attempted to molest in Pinocchio and his ardour for her is clearly still alive. Next a cat tries to attack him after Jiminy pokes him on the nose with his umbrella. What a silly twat. Following this he chats with a drunk doll and an angry looking toy bear. He finds some records and a musical love story by some chick called Dinah Shore, which is so appealing he must play it. Jiminy and I are very different people / crickets.
The record starts playing and the audio suddenly becomes visual as well. Just because. We are informed this love story is about three bears. So presumably less “Romeo and Juliet” and more of a “Ron Jeremy” sort of love. The protagonist, Bongo the Bear, is the star of the Circus. He does all sorts of amazing things like juggling whilst upside down. On a unicycle. On a trapeze. The usual plausible stuff. Despite being literally the most talented being on the entire planet, he’s treated by the circus owners like crap. There are so many people in Disney films that I want to suffer hideous, grizzly deaths and to be honest, at least up to 1947, not enough of them do. In fact the number of villains and bastards that have met their maker total the same as deaths of sweet mothers of lovable fawns. So unsurprisingly he wants to leave and go back to the wild.
From his train carriage that goes from town to town, which more closely resembles a prison cell he manages to escape. It’s extremely satisfying considering his horrible and ungrateful owners. I feel a sense of joy as Bongo is reunited with the woods and his natural habitat, the only thing distinguishing his previous life from the other animals being his smile of appreciation. And his hat, bowtie, jacket and unicycle.
We then get many scenes of Bongo trying to adapt to the wild and generally having fun being free… That’s why the films called ‘Fun and Fancy Free’! Closure. Then, whilst Bongo has a bit of chill time in some flowers, we are treated to many scenes of trees and frolicking animals. Once again Disney doing its tried and tested art of killing time with cute drawings doing pretty much sweet F.A. and, as always, the song accompanying it is disgusting. After some struggles catching fish, Bongo meets a girl bear under a waterfall and immediately wants to do her. Or in Disney language, falls in love at first sight. She seems interested too. It must be that sexy hat, jacket and bowtie. This is an excuse for another hideous song with more indulgent animations such as cupid bears making a love nest out of pink clouds. I’m getting bored now.
The problem, it transpires, is that there is a fuck-off-big bear who also has an interest in her. Now, apparently if a bear likes another bear, they give them a slap. Does this actually happen or did the writers just decide this on a whim? Bongo being domesticated, doesn’t know this custom and so he doesn’t slap her about which means she thinks he’s not interested and goes off with the fuck-off-big bear instead. Now we get a song about how it’s “good to give them a slap”… I don’t think this song would be allowed in the 21st century somehow?! Just think how many impressionable boys of the 1940’s were inspired by the sentiments of this song! I wonder if the male writers that returned in distress from fighting the Nazi’s before making this film and wrote this ditty as retribution towards the women that stayed behind and didn’t have to experience the horrors of war.
Bongo decides to fight for his woman and with the aid of his unicycle, defeats fuck-off-big bear and lives happily ever after with her. It’s quite similar to Bambi, but better and far less distressing. I wouldn’t call it essential viewing, but there has been far worse in recent films.
We return to Jiminy Cricket who’s using a dolls bosom as a pillow. It was he who insisted we watch this musical story and then he slept through the bloody thing! Anyway, he sees an invite to a party across the way. As he travels to the party across the way, we get a song about going to a party across the way. I’m used to Disney doing shit like this now. Doesn’t mean I like it though.
The “party” it appears is in fact a congregation of the follow four people:
Is this a party or the young girl’s WORST FUCKING NIGHTMARE? “Mummy, Daddy I just had the worst dream where it was my birthday party and the only guests in the house were me, two elderly, drunk paedo puppets and an old man in a velvet pimp jacket making a mouth with his right hand!”
This is beyond creepy. Somehow the girl isn’t scared and even more inexplicably, Jiminy Cricket’s first instinct isn’t to call the police. I call bullshit. After doing research (or ‘nipping onto Wikipedia’), I’ve discovered the chap in the velvet jacket is comedian, actor and ventriloquist, Edgar Bergen. I question his ventriloquist skills though, mainly due to the fact when the puppets talk, Edgars MOUTH IS MOVING! Now I don’t know about you, but when I think of the main skills required to be considered a ventriloquist, not moving one’s mouth is pretty damn high on the list! Possibly ventriloquism has progressed a long way in the last 70 years, but I’m not impressed with this dude’s skills. Or his choice of dolls *shudder*. I get the feeling that most people would have known who Edgar Bergen was in 1940’s America or with the way he is presented, people are definitely expected to be familiar with his work. It’s yet another way the film feels so dated.
Here’s another thing that has blown my mind: that little girl died aged 57. Which was at the time of writing, over 23 years ago!!! Which has brought home the fact that just about everyone involved from the animators to the musicians to the actors to the dancers to George (see previous reviews), is now dead. Some have been for many years. Plenty probably died before I was even born. And yet thanks to the miracle of film, I get to endure some of the nonsense they created, even though our timelines never even crossed paths.
And on that note, Edgar and his creepy puppets tell the long since deceased girl Luana and story about a place called ‘Happy Valley’. He asks creepy puppet #1 to try and picture it. Creepy puppet #1 strains as if he is about to soil himself evidently proving that asking what is essentially sculped wood to produce conscious thought bubbles is a waste of time. Luana, as a sentient being, is on hand to help however, and Happy Valley is thunk thinked thoughted imagined into reality. Happy valley is a very… happy place. And why wouldn’t it be, after all it has a singing harp. Wait, what? I’m finding this sing harp annoying but each to their own. It should be noted that it also seems to be part harp, part woman. Ok then. To show how happy a place it is, we get more frolicking animals. Its feels like at least three quarters of the Disney animation films thus far have solely been frolicking animals.
One day the harp was taken and this basically caused famine and misery. The scientific reason for this should be so obvious I feel no need to discuss it further… We go to the house of Mickey, Goofy and OH FOR FUCKS SAKE, Donald. For the third film in a row. And if Donald could be annoying when he’s not hungry (granted he was extremely sexually frustrated), the levels of dickness he reaches when famished is inexplicable. He treats the others like complete crap, becomes hyper-aggressive and irrational which culminates in his attempted eating of a live cow’s tail.
We return to the world’s most horrifying birthday party for a reminder of just how creepy the puppets are (as well as just how annoying that girl, Luana, is). After their hilarious capering 😒, the world-famous Edgar Bergen continues with the story. Mickey sells the cow for magic beans. At this point I realise we’re watching an adaptation of Jack and the Beanstalk. The Disney films so far have done a lot of adapting rather than creating original stories. But then saying that, after seeing their original stories, I don’t really blame them. Unsurprisingly, the beanstalk grows, they climb it and there’s a giant house in the clouds. I reckon I know who stole the harp-woman.
So after entering the castle they realise there’s a giant there. Kerry has just suggested that the giant should say “Fe Fi Fo Fuck, I smell the blood of a stupid duck…” That would be amazing, so obviously he doesn’t say that. We return to “reality” to find creepy-puppet #2 pretending to be a giant. And apparently adorning a pirate hat helps this illusion. Ok then. The rest of the story passes by as I expected. They realise the giant has indeed stolen harp-woman, and they successfully steal her back and escape although there are quite a few near-misses. Around a thousand at a rough estimate. It does get a little “oh hurry the fuck up” if truth be told. The harp makes everyone happy and everything live again, the story ends, the film ends, and no lives have been changed by the experience that is watching ‘Fun and Fancy Free’.
And that’s the best way to summarise the film really. It wasn’t bad (Three Caballeros), Depressing (Bambi) or creepy (Pinocchio), but at the same time wasn’t exciting, overly rewarding or necessary (a film that isn’t Disney in the 1940’s) either. They just did it, and it just was. And now I just need a drink.