Posted on April 7, 2017
Retro Reaction #52.2 Dumbo
Dumbo, the circus elephant with big ears. So what’s this one all about.
This time there is no well known book adaptation, Disney bought the rights to this as a fresh idea. However I remember thinking that broadly this follows the typical Disney set if morals. Dumbo is an outcast because of the way he looks. He makes friends with a mouse (who seems to have gone to the jiminy cricket school for annoyingly moral talking sidekicks). He eventually discovers that although he can’t do the same as the other elephants he has his own talent. He can fly! This leads to him becoming the top performer and the mouse to become his manager.
The journey here involves Dumbo being demoted to being a clown performer, and his mother being locked up for madness. It also involves Dumbo getting drunk and seeing Pink Elephants. This plot detour is mainly to get a musical number in but still it seems quite psychedelic in the way it looks. The Pink Elephant’s song is the thing most people remember from the film.
We also get some controversial talking crows at the end. There was a claim of racism that I never picked up on through watching the film. Though I watched them in a different order I felt it was a take off from The Vultures in the Jungle Book. (Turns out Dumbo did this first). The Crows all seem quite sympathetic and give us another memorable song “When I see an Elephant Fly”
This film is short on runtime, but it still looks great. The message about working hard to overcome handicaps is ever relevant. This one has aged well.
Next Week we look at the boy that never grew up.
Have a Great Dayyyyyy!!!!!!