Thursday, May 23, 2013

Dumbo {1941}

{Animated Disney Film #4 of 52}

Dumbo is such a sweet, charming movie. I remember really liking it as a kid, and I still do. :) According to the special features on the DVD (I'm a sucker for such things), the Disney studio was struggling financially in the early forties. Pinocchio and Fantasia hadn't actually made a huge amount of money at the box office...I wonder why? Ha. You guys know those two aren't my favorites.

Anyway, with Dumbo, they found ways to cut costs. It's a shorter film (just over an hour, while most of the others had been around 90 minutes), they used simpler backgrounds and less special effects, etc. I think this is an incredible example of the talent of the folks at Disney: they could make a beautiful little film on a lower budget.

This film has such great imagery. Like the scene where they're setting up the circus tent during the rain/ Despite the fact that they supposedly cut the amount of special effects, there are some awesome ones here. I love the rain in the tent scene, the water that the hippos are in (during Baby Mine), and the dust when Dumbo tries to fly.

And you guys, I might not be able to appreciate animation set to classical music in Fantasia (*ahem*), but I absolutely love the Pink Elephants on Parade sequence. It's totally random and weird, but I think it's awesome. Maybe because the music is more to my style? I probably could have gotten into Fantasia if they had used swingy, jazzy, nonsense tunes instead of classical music. (One of my favorite parts is how the pink elephants effortlessly turn into clouds at the very end.)

Hm...what else do I love about this movie? The setting: a traveling circus in Florida. I love the music and songs and the way that the train sounds like music. I love how towards the end they use newspaper flashes to show what's happening...that's definitely a common thing in classic films made in this era. And I love that Sterling Holloway has a part as the voice of Mr. Stork. Holloway is so unique that he should have had a voice role in every single animated film that was made during his life. :) Apparently Disney liked him, too, as he did voices for ten of their animated films.

I also love that Dumbo is such a little misfit, but that he finds out what his talent is and has a happy ending. I think we can all relate to and hope for that. :)

Of course, I have to mention how emotional Dumbo is. His mother gets locked up in the "mad elephant" pen, for goodness' sake! The part where they are each swaying and looking miserable makes me tear up. And the whole Baby Mine song is so sad. You almost forget that neither Dumbo or his mother actually talk in the film. They're the only silent characters, but you don't even notice because they still convey so much emotion.

In conclusion, after two mediocre films in my Disney marathon, I'm glad to get back to one that I really enjoy. :) Up next is Bambi, which honestly I don't remember as being a favorite. It'll be interesting to see how I feel about it after another viewing.

P.S. I am having a blast with this Disney marathon thing. And one of the biggest reasons why is because of the awesome reaction you guys have had to it! I love reading your comments about how you feel about each Disney film, whether you agree or disagree with what I thought about it. :)

Until next time,


  1. haha! I must comment on the pink elephant thing... when I was little, it was my absolute favorite and yet least favorite part. It half-freaked me out, half-amused me. I haven't seen this movie in forever...I was always more of a princess-loving girl, so Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella got a lot more use that Dumbo and Bambi. :)

  2. This is one of my favorite Disney films. It's such a sweet, funny, and cute movie, yet also so touching. I get so choked up during the Baby Mine song, although I didn't understand why my mom always cried when we watched that when I was a kid. I get it now, though.
    Yep, love this film. I can't wait until I have my own kids and can watch it with them. :)

  3. Aw! Who doesn't like Dumbo!? How cute is this little guy - haven't watched this one in YEARS. As a result, I remember little about it. I've probably seen the princess movies since this - or even Bambi. Guess that says something about the kind of Disney girl I am. ;)

  4. I like Dumbo too... although probably more now, than when I was little. Everyone was so mean to him! However, seeing the awesome payback at the end made up for the overall sadness. :D

    I've always been puzzled by the fact that I like the pink elephant scene in this movie, but I can't stand Fantasia. Maybe you're right, and it is all about the music. :D

    Yes! I ALWAYS forget that Dumbo and his mom don't talk... it's brilliant, really.


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