Friday, January 20, 2012
All You Cats Join In and “Make Mine Music”
Disney’s Eighth Animated Feature – 1946
Make Mine Music was Disney’s fourth “package” film, a feature-length film made up of a series of shorts. World War II had just come to an end, but during the war, much of Disney’s staff had been drafted or called upon by the U.S. government to make training and propaganda films. It was difficult for Disney to get anything in the pipeline except short films. And these reasonably popular package films were also a way for Disney to experiment with new techniques and talent.
The only piece that was a flat-out delight without inducing any cringes was Benny Goodman’s “After You’ve Gone,” with dancing musical instruments, a sweet little music video.
I also like the sequence “All the Cats Join In.” It’s got another bouncy Benny Goodman tune, unmistakable styling by Mary Blair, and a peek into teen culture of 1946. The kids gather in a jalopy and head to the malt shop to Lindy hop (How 1946 can you get?). Though I wince at the unnecessary moment when a bespectacled girl with the stack of books at the bus stop gets summarily passed over by the teens as they drive by. But if you’re going to look at work from this era, be prepared to wince.