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Dumbo (Big Top Edition) (1941)

Cast: Sterling Holloway, Sterling Holloway, Edward S. Brophy, more...
Director: Ben Sharpsteen, Ben Sharpsteen, Samuel Armstrong, more...
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Rating:
Studio: Walt Disney Video
Genre: Classics, Kids, Animated, Animation, Cel, Studios, Disney
Running Time: 64 min.
Languages: English, Spanish, French
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Synopsis
The shortest of Disney's major animated features Dumbo involves a baby elephant with unusually large ears. Ostracized from the rest of the circus animals, poor Dumbo is even separated from his mother, who is chained up in a separate cage after trying to defend her child. Only brash-but-lovable Timothy Mouse offers the hand of friendship to Dumbo, encouraging the pouty pachyderm to exploit his "different" qualities for fame and fortune. After trepidatiously indulging in a vat of booze, Dumbo awakens in a tall tree. Goaded by a group of jive-talking crows, Dumbo discovers that his outsized ears have given him the ability to fly. The musical score by Frank Churchill and Oliver Wallace won Oscars for them both. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Says: Dumbo, even more so than the more famously child traumatizing Bambi, was the movie that really got me as a kid. Not only is there that typical Disney child abandonment theme, but the ugly duckling plot and the circus animal abuse backdrop makes it even more emotionally engaging. It's also one of the studio's best animated features, with the pink elephants on parade sequence among their most beautiful. Toss in the memorably characterized crows, and you have magic. This new "Big Top" edition includes a lot of features and games aimed at the kiddies, as well as two bonus shorts: Elmer Elephant and The Flying Mouse. -- Craig Phillips


GreenCine Member Reviews

Very Good, with Reservations by MBreslau November 24, 2012 - 6:22 AM PST
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Considering when and how it was made, the art and the animation are top-notch, almost rivaling the works of Miyazaki. Motions are smooth, curves don't wiggle, colors are vivid.

However, in the 1941 era there was a lot of 'innocent' raceisim and stereotyping. The faceless black happy roustabouts at the beginning I found particularly upsetting; the crows at the end were less offensive than I had feared.

The stork sequence bothered me a little too, but then this is Disney and they couldn't handle biology more realistically. Be prepared to clarify to your kids, if needed.

That said, the middle of the movie, particularly the pink elephant sequence (Dumbo's hiccups) is excellent, often reminiscent of Fantasia.

Recommended, with reservations.




GreenCine Member Rating
12345678910

(Average 7.95)
20 Votes
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Jonathan Rosenbaum's Alternative List to the AFI's
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From Rosenbaum's 1998 article in the Chicago Reader: List-o-mania, Or How I Stopped Worrying And Learned To Love American Movies (Films were listed alphabetically only.)
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