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The Not-So-Innocent Side of Disney: Dumbo, the Strange Parts Of...
Dumbo and the Roustabouts
Dumbo, the flying elephant with incredibly large ears is a classic film with a few little flaws that will always stay in your memory.
In the beginning scenes of the movie the elephants are helping faceless workers build a tent for the circus. As catchy as the tune is, some of the lyrics of the song are just plain terrible. "We never learned to read or write", "We slave until we're almost dead", "Grab that rope you hairy ape!" Now why would you want to sing that about yourself? I guess back in the 40's people thought nothing much of this, but now this falls under racial stereotypes which upsets a lot of people and causes controversy. A child watching this is totally passive enjoying the music and visual effects, but as you grow up you realise how terrible the lyrics actually are.
The Roustabout Song
Speaking of racially stereotyping, the four crows who help Dumbo fly again fall under the African-American stereotype. Their leader Jim Crow, is a reference to the Jim Crow laws which brought strong criticism over the depiction of the crows. However the other half of the internet say that the crows are only stereotypical, not racially stereotypical. Personally, I'm on the fence between the two, yes it is stereotypical, yes its racist, but how else are they supposed to be portrayed? You can't deny that when I see an elephant fly is a classic song.
When I See An Elephant Fly
The Scary Part of Dumbo
The one frightening part of the film is no doubt the pink elephants on parade scene. Its strange enough an elephant and a mouse get drunk together. Its more strange that an elephant and a mouse did get drunk together. When I was young I remember thinking, what on earth am I watching? How has this gone to Dumbo crying over his mother from being locked up to him getting drunk? I found it scary and intriguing at the same time. Those creepy black eyes and that smile.
Those Eyes and That Smile
When the screen flashes randomly, this made me jump.
Even this little elephant is scared.
This is just plain weird.
For more psychedelic viewing, I need say no more.