In the grand tradition of Disney's greatest musical classics such as FANTASIA, MELODY TIME features seven classic stories, each enhanced with high-spirited music and unforgettable characters! Donald Duck -- an all-time Dis... more »ney favorite -- puts on a display of jazzy antics as the star of "Blame It On The Samba." Music becomes a real adventure for a busy bumble bee in "Bumble Boogie." From the mischievous young tugboat in "Little Toot," to the heroes of legend and myth in "Johnny Appleseed" and "Pecos Bill," this feast for the eyes and ears entertains with wit and charm. A timeless addition to your video collection, MELODY TIME is a delightful Disney classic with something for everyone in your family!« less
"I'm as disappointed with this issue as some others who thought they were buying the original masterpiece. Okay, so Pecos Bill has a ciggie in his mouth in the original (funny, I never took up smoking because of that, and I was 6 when I saw the original). I doubt that those who see this desecrated version will understand why the original was such a unique experience. It's a little strange to me that Pecos Bill can't smoke and Johnny Appleseed has to clean up his act, but the Power Rangers can violently and noisily wipe out legions of their foes with such glee. Bring back the originals, guys. This, and "Song of the South", with Uncle Remus intact."
An Underrated, Unremembered Disney Classic
Monty Moonlight | TX | 09/04/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"In 1948, Walt Disney combined animated sequences with popular music of the time to create one of his lesser known, lesser appreciated classics, "Melody Time." The animated anthology feature presents 7 pieces to the audience, each wonderful in its own way, though probably not to everyone's tastes. Our host, with the help of a paint brush, is a talking, animated theatrical mask, and he introduces each story with a voice over, beginning with a holiday favorite (as most of these segments were released as individual shorts in the years to come), "Once Upon a Wintertime," with vocals provided by Frances Langford. "Once Upon a Wintertime" is a romantic tale of nostalgia with a Christmas card feeling. It focuses on a young couple's sleigh ride together, which is followed by ice skating, leading them into a rather harry situation on thin ice. Of course, the boys save the girls in the end, and all is hugs and kisses and melting snow. It's a very charming animated short many will feel nostalgic about due to its airings on various Disney holiday specials.
"Bumble Boogie" comes second, and this is a surreal, visual extravaganza of one bee's musical nightmare. It's music, a take on "Flight of the Bumblebee," is performed by Freddy Martin and his Orchestra, and it's great fun to watch. Of course, being that this one is less of a story than the others, it is probably among the less popular pieces in the program.
The third musical tale in this package feature is actually some of Disney's best work. It's the legend of Johnny Appleseed as told and sung by Dennis Day. The visuals are a feast for the eyes and the music a feast for the ears, while the story will bring a tear to your eye.
"Little Toot" follows Johnny Appleseed, and though the tale is a simple and none too original one about an anthropomorphic, kid tugboat having to redeem himself after causing too much trouble, the animation is pleasing and the musical narration makes it great! The singing is provided by the always delightful Andrews Sisters.
The fifth installment is "Trees," in which Alfred Joyce Kilmer's poem is sung to enchanting visuals and haunting melody. This is the most thoughtful and "artsy" piece in this particular anthology. Many will hopefully find it beautiful, but, of course, there are those who will want to skip over it.
The next piece in "Melody Time" is a treat for Joe Carioca and Latin music fans everywhere! In his last theatrical appearance, Joe, or Jose, and his pal Donald Duck are down in the dumps when they stroll into a Latin American bar and are pepped up by the Aracuan bird and some fantastic Samba music and dancing! The song is performed by the Dinning Sisters and the segment includes some dazzling live-action integration featuring Ethel Smith on organ. Oh, and the title is "Blame It On the Samba," of course!
The last but anything but least is the tall tale of none other than Texas's folklore favorite, Pecos Bill! As with "Johnny Appleseed," this part of the film is a classic in its own right. Who else could sing this fantastically tall tale than Roy Rogers and the Sons of the Pioneers in a charming live-action opening. Roy and his buddies, including Trigger, Smartest Horse in the West, sing the story around a campfire to young Bobby Driscoll and Luana Patten of "Song of the South" and "So Dear To My Heart" fame. Well, Trigger doesn't sing. It's all to answer Bobby's question of why coyote's howl at the moon. From there, we get the animated saga of Pecos from childhood (found and raised by coyotes) to adulthood, when he became a rootin' tootin' cowboy riding his dangerous palomino horse, Widowmaker. Pecos is a legend in his own time for being the greatest cowboy on Earth, but it all goes awry when he encounters one of Disney's most heavenly creations, Slue Foot Sue. Widowmaker is immediately jealous of the gorgeous, redheaded cowgirl, and he successfully separates the two forever on their wedding day in a most amazing way.
Pecos Bill's end closes the book on "Melody Time," a most enjoyable musical experience that is far too unknown by far too many people who often think the previous segments were always stand alone shorts. Even many folks who know the Disney anthology films well don't truly appreciate them, including many who simply don't like the fact that they are anthologies. In fact, that was a general feeling about the Disney anthologies during their initial releases, but coming out of WWII, Walt was doing his best until he could release a solid feature again. The results, in my opinion, are some really great films that offer so much variety in one sitting, and this is probably the best of them. The trouble with anthologies is that often a viewer only likes certain segments. Of course, to be negative about them in general due to that reason would make you a real "glass is half empty" kind of person. In all honesty though, I can't see any reason not to love all the segments of this film, but I'm one of those people who greatly enjoys music of the 1940's despite being born decades later.
Now, time to talk about this Gold Collection DVD release. If you're wondering why I have given this film only 4 out of 5 stars, there's a plain and simple answer. It is EDITED!!! Yes, it's edited, something I and most film lovers simply cannot stand! When Disney released this and its other anthologies some 7 years or so ago, it took the liberty of removing things (sometimes entire sequences) it found inappropriate for modern American viewers (yes, from what I hear, the U.K. Region 2 version of Melody Time is uncut!). In this film's case, Disney has unforgivably hacked up the Pecos Bill segment due to the fact that Pecos rolls and smokes a cigarette. Look, folks, I'm against smoking completely, but I'm also against book burning, and that goes for films too. History is history, including film history. Not to mention the fact that it takes an important chunk out of his story and song, the legendary encounter with a tornado! The following part of Pecos's song, animation and all, was removed:
"Once he roped a raging cyclone out of nowhere Then he straddled it and settled down with ease And while that cyclone bucked and flitted Pecos rolled a smoke and lit it And he tamed that ornery wind down to a breeze."
Along with that famous part of the Pecos Bill legend, any other footage of Pecos smoking has been altered, as in the cigarette has been digitally removed. It's sickening. I'm a huge Disney fan myself, but this is something I won't be able to forgive them for until they rerelease an uncut version (which, by the way, I and everyone else who bought this release should get for free). The same goes for "Saludos Amigos," from which Goofy's cigarette has been removed, and especially "Make Mine Music," from which an entire animated sequence was removed (The Martins and the Coys).
Well, all that having been said, this is a wonderful film and those who don't remember the original version probably won't notice anything missing, and the Disney animation that IS included intact is a must have. Love all the Mary Blair influence throughout! Still, it's terribly painful for those of us who do remember the original version and the editing is just as wrong and stupid as smoking itself. Besides that though, the fullscreen DVD (yes, it's supposed to be fullscreen, as the movie always was) offers three delightful extras in the form of classic Disney animated shorts. This is something I applaud them for, though it's strange that there are no extras relating to the film itself.
The three shorts included as bonus features are the Disney favorite "Lambert the Sheepish Lion," about a Lion raised by a sheep and mistreated by the flock until he saves their hides from a wolf, "Donald Applecore," featuring the usual, highly enjoyable hi-jinks of Donald and Chip 'n' Dale, and "Casey Bats Again," a favorite of mine that tells a follow-up story to "Casey At Bat." This sequel is about Casey forming a baseball team of his nine beautiful daughters. Always loved this one because of the girls, ha. Strange that it is found on this DVD rather than on "Make Mine Music" though, which includes the original Casey story as part of the feature presentation.
So, overall, this is a DVD that is a must have because the film is 5 star worthy and the extras are three must-have Disney shorts. The picture quality is nice too. Unfortunately, it has the one major flaw of Pecos's section being hacked up. I guess all we can do is hope that Disney makes a couple of Treasures Collection tins for the anthologies someday. I'd love to see a set for Make Mine Music and Melody Time, both uncut, and likewise for Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros, and even Song of the South and So Dear To My Heart! Again, ALL uncut!
Trippy "Melody Time" came 15 years too early!
Great Movie Addict | 11/17/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Similar to "Fantasia" in concept, this film uses popular music from the 50's to underscore it's fabulous animation. And like "Fantasia," I'm sure this film was FAR more popular in the trippy '60's than when it was originally issued. This film may be hard for some to sit through entirely, but each of the individual segments feature animation and design at the peak of the Disney Animation Department's powers. One "PC" problem: Disney has digitally removed Pecos Bill's cigarette throughout that particular segment--and yet, in the very next segment, there's an animated parrot smoking a cigar and swimming around in a martini (through the entire segment!!). Zowie! What's next? Removing the scene in "Bambi" where his mother gets shot??"
Roy Would NOT be Happy
Cowgirl | 07/05/2006
(1 out of 5 stars)
"we got no further in this DVD than "Pecos Bill", after discovering that they cut out part of the song. yes, it's a DVD called "Melody Time" and they cut out part of a song! I'd like to know the genius at Disney who thought this would be a good idea. needless the say, this item is being returned to Amazon."
Lola | Central Florida, USA | 06/09/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I saw this movie in 1948. It was the first time I had met Johnny Appleseed and Pecos Bill. Watching it 54 years later made me feel like I was 7 years old all over again. If other reviewers hadn't commented on the editing I probably wouldn't have noticed. The combining of the music with the animation at just the right moment makes it magical. I am so happy that I found this tape. I hope the the children of today love this as much as I did thenand remember it the rest of their lives."