Disney’s “Melody Time” (1948)

Image: Disney, Wikipedia.org

Ahh yes, “Melody Time”… Another of the Package Films, and memorable at that. A lot of childhood memories are in this film, but is this film as good as my childhood claims it is?

(Also, I’ll be splitting up the segment reviews in parts yet again.)

“Melody Time” (Buddy Clark – Master of Ceremonies) –

The opening tune is quite catchy, and relaxing. The classical theater masks of comedy and tragedy come to life, are joined by others, and sing in the voices of Buddy Clark and some backup singers. The animation is fluid and stylized, somehow different than the usual Disney style, and the lyrics are simple yet catchy, and nostalgic.

My RATING for “MELODY TIME” is 8 / 10.

“Once Upon a Wintertime” (Frances Langford) –

Love is in the air on a frozen lake as all couples, human and animal alike, skate to song. Beautiful animation with a somewhat predictable story and jarring tonal shifts. The lyrics of the song are nostalgic and sweet, yet there is no dialogue otherwise, just instrumentals. This segment is pure adorableness and eye candy, the animation having its own style as opposed to the usual Disney house style.

My RATING for “ONCE UPON A WINTERTIME” is 6 / 10.

“Bumble Boogie” (Freddy Martin) –

An incredibly catchy song set to amazing visuals of a bumblebee escaping from a variety of instruments taking on floral and insectoid shapes. No dialogue or lyrics, and honestly, kind of forgettable once it’s over.

My RATING for “BUMBLE BOOGIE” is 5 / 10.

“Johnny Appleseed” (Dennis Day) –

The tale of a young man setting off to plant appleseeds at the behest of an angel, changing the course of history for the better. The ending is kind of unexpected and weird for Disney, though… The characters and their designs are back to the classic Disney house designs, and are all somewhat fleshed out here. The dialogue and narration are all serving to further character and story, and rhyme mostly, too! The backgrounds are stylized and beautiful. The music is mostly folk tunes and hymnals, different yet refreshing from other Disney tunes.

My RATING for “JOHNNY APPLESEED” is 9 / 10.

“Little Toot” (The Andrews Sisters) –

A young tugboat proves himself during a storm after causing an ocean liner crash into a city. The story is kind of ridiculous in this, and the characters are hard to relate to at times. There is no dialogue, the lyrics are pretty good, and music and singers are phenomenal. It’s the Andrews Sisters! The animation is also gorgeous, boasting rain, water, and smoke effects.

My RATING for “LITTLE TOOT” is 7 / 10.

“Trees” (Fred Waring and his Pennsylvanians) –

The effect of nature on a forest community of animals. It’s refreshing that the animals were not anthropomorphized. Some of the best animation, rain effects, lighting, and music I’ve seen for its time. Haunting lyrics and beautiful singing make this a must see.

My RATING for “TREES” is 10 / 10

“Blame It on the Samba” (Ethel Smith and the Dinning Sisters) –

Donald Duck, José Carioca, and the Aracuan Bird return… Again… With Live Action People… Again… There really is no reason to have this segment at all other than brand recognition. The Aracuan Bird is vocally annoying this time around with his constant chatter, and while some of the animation is inventive, the organ playing impressive, and the song kind of catchy, the concept fatigue is real…

My RATING for “BLAME IT ON THE SAMBA” is 3 / 10.

“Pecos Bill” (Roy Rodgers and Trigger – The Smartest Horse in the Movies) –

Another folk tale with a surprisingly competent live-action cast. The horse did impress me more than the humans, though. The story of Pecos Bill is fun, and throws the audience a few curveballs. It’s plain weird, but weird-good. The dialogue is varied amongst the players, and rhyming of course. The characters in the story are strange and seem to fit the narrative rather than the character traits given. The music is nice and relaxing, blending into the dialogue easily, and the star song, “The Ballad of Pecos Bill” is awesome and bombastic. The backgrounds, scene transitions, and animation are all top-notch, with a lot of humor.

My RATING for “PECOS BILL” is 8 / 10.

OVERALL –

Better than most of the other Package Films, with a wide variety of quality, yet leaning more towards good than bad. Revisiting this film makes me appreciate it more, and while some of these are misses, a lot can be considered good hits.

Image: Disney, D23.com
Image: Disney, Wikipedia.org

My OVERALL Rating for “MELODY TIME” is 70%.

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