The New Pictures, May 6, 1946

  • Share
  • Read Later

(2 of 3)

Make Mine Music (Walt Disney-RKO Radio), which has been described by one wag as the poor man's Fantasia, is a Technicolored musical blue-plate special, prepared for the 18-to-2 y-year-old age group which has heretofore proved least responsive to Disney films.

Most of the music—strictly popular—is well calculated to please that sort of audience. Much of the "art" is likely to please—or displease—audiences more diverse.

The hillbilly ballad The Martins and the Coys is a burlesque of backwoods feuding which will delight lovers of radio rurality and of Paul Webb's mountaineer cartoons, and offend those who think such caricature as insulting as the hush-mah-mouf kind of comic contempt for Negroes. All the Cats Join In is a jukebox setting of Benny Goodman's record, in which orgiastic hepcats and bobby-soxers, mad on chocolate malteds, tear all over the place, paced and sustained by the sketching of a deft, rapid pencil. It will satisfy the young and the benign, sicken those who suspect "healthy" tributes to button-eyed innocence.

"Pretty" numbers like Blue Bayou and a silhouetted ballet by Dancers Tatiana Riabouchinska and David Lichine aim for, and perfectly achieve, the qualities of dime-store and gift-shoppe art. As such they have great skill and a certain naive charm; but only genuine lovers of that kind of art can genuinely enjoy them. More likely to please everybody:

Some of the kidding of baseball mannerisms in Jerry Colonna's recitation of Casey at the Bat.

Disney's setting of Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf, featuring a wolf whose gullet looks like something out of Dante; a cat which, in a moment of terror, has an all-claws resemblance to a brier bush; and a cute little feeble-minded duck named Sonia.

A brisk, fanciful animation of the instruments in Benny Goodman's Quartet. Johnny Fedora and Alice Bluebonnet, a love story about a couple of hats, sung with proper gentleness by the apparently muzzled Andrew Sisters, with some neat bits of emoting by Johnny.

Best number: The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met, a grand finale in which Nelson Eddy supplies what seem like several dozen voices and Willie, the whale with three epiglottises, panics the carriage trade as Tristan and Mephistopheles.

Even Walt Disney's best films—barring his wonderful slapstick—have suffered from sticky taste; in this effort to be just plain folksy, that stickiness pretty thoroughly gums up the works. Disconcerting evidence of flagging inventiveness: the Gates of Heaven turn up in two numbers, and ghost-peopled clouds in a third. Yet Make Mine Music is supposed to be a variety show.


Toscanini: Hymn of the Nations.

Toscanini, conducting Verdi, makes a stunning film debut (TIME, April 29).

Joe Palooka, Champ. A must for kids and good for grownups, too (TIME, April 29).

Henry V. Shakespeare, Laurence Olivier and cinema give each other a new brilliance (TIME, April 8).

Ziegfeld Follies of 1946. Fred Astaire and others galvanize vaudeville (TIME, March 25).

The Sailor Takes a Wife but can't find where to take her (TIME, March 11).

Vacation from Marriage. War rejuvenates Robert Donat and Deborah Kerr (TIME, Feb. 18).

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3