Thoughts on Popular Culture and Unpopular Culture by Jaime J. Weinman (email me)
One interesting tidbit that most stories about the film omit is James Baskett's honorary Oscar. That makes him the first African-American male to win an Academy Award for acting.Although I can certainly understand the problems some people have with this film, it's always seemed odd to me that the release of this film would be so controversial while the continual availability of "Gone With the Wind" seemingly escapes protest. From where I sit, any complaints that can be lodged against "Song of the South" would apply to a much greater degree to GWTW. I assume that somehow the Disney image makes "Song" an easier target, but still.
The difference between Gone With the Wind and Song of the South is that South is considered a children's film, and as such is much more prone to scrutiny than a picture like Wind, whose primary audience is adults.
Most stories about the film, including the present AP article, pass along the mistaken belief that SOTS is not clear about the era it's set in; as if it were uncertain whether the sharecroppers are slaves or not.In truth, the film is rather obviously set in the postbellum period. When a disappointed Uncle Remus gets set to leave the farm, he simply packs up and leaves; something he could never do if he were a slave.Sloppy, sloppy research. At this point I'm ready to say that most of the reasons for this film's suppression are bogus, mistaken claims. Not to say that SONG OF THE SOUTH doesn't have plenty of problems; but it's being suppressed for problems it doesn't have.
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