Since Bob Iger’s interesting announcement at the Walt Disney Company shareholders meeting,
"The question of ‘Song of the South’ comes up periodically, in fact it
was raised at last year’s annual meeting …" Iger said. "And since
that time, we’ve decided to take a look at it again because we’ve had
numerous requests about bringing it out. Our concern was that a film
that was made so many decades ago being brought out today perhaps could
be either misinterpreted or that it would be somewhat challenging in
terms of providing the appropriate context."
there has been a growing expectation that the movie would be released on a special edition DVD. Now an AP story is adding fuel to the fire. (For an example read the comment thread at the Orlando Sentinel)
Its my feeling that Disney is being irresponsible by not releasing Song Of The South. Hiding it in the closet this long is giving the movie more importance than it otherwise should have. The movie is what it is. We can’t learn from the past by ignoring it. If the film is racist it needs to be explained why. Its merits as an artistic endeavor also need to be debated. Information wants to be free and in the free market of information that the internet has created everyone will be able to participate in the discussion.
Song Of The South was last shown in US movie theaters in 1986, which is not that long ago that its memory has faded, but long enough to be shrouded in the mist of time. But all we have now are faded video copies and a couple generations who haven’t seen the film at all. It is possible now to design a DVD that includes bookend statements, as well as special features, that make this DVD a ‘teaching moment’. That’s the angle the Walt Disney Company should be taking. If Disney does not want to be responsible for the final product, they can license the film for a one-time DVD release to the AFISA Animation Archives and make it a fundraiser for that excellent organization.