In a press release, the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable criticizes Disney Studios for hinting at plans to re-release Song of the South, 2007. Upon the film’s release in 1946, it did not exactly win any prizes for racial sensitivity. The National Urban League and the National Negro Congress charged the filmmakers with promoting racial stereotypes, while the NAACP denounced “the impression it gives of an idyllic master-slave relationship.”
The picture, a mix of live action and animation, is based on the Uncle Remus stories of Joel Chandler Harris and takes place in Georgia during the Reconstruction period following the Civil War. James Baskett plays Remus, who tells fables involving the characters Bre’r Rabbit, Bre’r Fox and Bre’r Bear to a young boy from an unhappy home. Critical reception was mixed-to-poor, with film critic Bosley Crowther of The New York Times commenting that “apparently the Disney wonder-workers are just a lot of conventional hacks when it comes to telling a story with actors instead of cartoons. The cartoon episodes, when they do intrude, assume refreshing proportions which they probably do not actually have—they come as such moments when the humans have so completely candyfied the screen that they seem sublime salvations, avenues into fresh, song-laden air.”
Song of the South was re-released in 1956, 1972, 1981 and 1986, sitting out the civil rights era of the early 1960s. It has never been released on DVD in the United States.