Before discussing the video, we should bring back a little history about under what conditions Dumbo was made. Dumbo was the fourth feature film by Disney: 1) Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs (1937), Pinocchio (1940) and Fantasia (1940). After excessive spending on Fantasia, and despite the popularity and critical acclaim heaped upon Snow White, Pinocchio and Fantasia, these films were not moneymakers and Disney studio was almost bankrupt. Additionally, due to the war in Europe, they were cutoff from the overseas market. So, what Disney needed was an inexpensive box office success, and Dumbo was to be it. It would be a relatively short film with a concise story and low production costs that would appeal to a wide audience.
At first glance, and in the context of Disney's own efforts up to then, Dumbo appears less artistic, more cartoony than the three earlier films. In the case of Dumbo, this art has been pared down to the absolute minimum, consistent with pleasing audiences and making money. And Dumbo did make a profit, and is credited for having saved the studio.
This 70th Anniversary Edition film comes in AVC/MPEG-4 1080p 1.37:1. Although this film was made with a lower budget compared to Fantasia or Pinocchio, and the restoration was not as detailed as Pinocchio and Sleeping Beauty, the final result is still a very pleasing and amazing picture. Colours are solid and vibrant at times. The transfer is so clear and sharp that strokes from a paintbrush are often noticeable, as well as slight aging of the print and faint blemishes. Dumbo here showcases deep blacks up through clean whites. (4.5/5)
Dumbo's soundtrack has been fully restored and given a brand new lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix that is spacious and dynamic. However, the purists would have preferred that the original Mono and a new Mono lossless track be included.
The film won an Oscar for Best Musical Score and a nomination for the song "Baby Mine". And look at how Disney dramatizes the song in a series of mother and child tableaux, alternating sentiment with deft humour. At least the song had the good taste to lose to the Meryl Steep of composers: Jerome Kern, for "The Last Time I Saw Paris." (4/5)
Dumbo is such a good film, that you can completely understand it without audio, solely based upon its plotting and the characters' expressions. That said, note that neither Dumbo nor his mother talk. Their actions certainly do speak louder than words.
The film is pure emotion; a sweet tale of keeping up one's spirits even in the worst of times. Dumbo is a distillation of everything Disney animators had learned to that point. Animation, remember, is not the art of painting, but bringing drawings to life - to animate the inanimate. It isn't animals that they are breathing life into, it is drawings of animals, or people, or tress, or anything they choose. Its precision in storytelling (film was only 64 minutes long) is groundbreaking for an animated feature.
Dumbo is a sweet and short film about an outsider utilizing his scorned assets to his advantage. Compared to its 60th Anniversary DVD edition, both the video and audio are vastly improved. It is a timeless classic that the whole family will enjoy...again and again. Highly recommended.
DUMBO [1941/2011] [70th Anniversary Edition] [Blu-ray + DVD] [US Release] Walt Disney’s Timeless Classic! A Film You Will Never Forget!
For the first time ever, in celebration of this landmark film's 70th anniversary, experience the daring adventures of the world's only flying elephant with a dazzling all-new digital restoration and brilliant 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and also the 5.1 Disney Enhanced High Definition Theatre Mix Sound. The inspirational tale of Dumbo, the courageous baby elephant who uses his sensational ears to soar to fame with the help of his clever best friend Timothy Q. Mouse, will thrill and delight audiences of all ages. And now, the award-winning music and empowering messages about friendship and belief in yourself reach new heights in this must-have Blu-ray high-definition presentation of Walt Disney s animated classic Dumbo! Narrated by John McLeish.
FILM FACT Part One: Awards and Nominations: 1941 Academy Awards®: Win: Original Music Score for Frank Churchill and Oliver Wallace. Nominated: Best Song for "Baby Mine" for Frank Churchill and Ned Washington. 1947 Cannes Film Festival: Win: Best Animation Design. Following the aerial montage of Dumbo, there is a newspaper montage. Next to the picture of the flying elephant, there is the headline "Bombers for Defense." It is a reference of the national defence during the ongoing World War II. There is also a reference to the fireside chats of Franklin D. Roosevelt.
FILM FACT Part Two: Songs and Performers: "Look Out for Mr. Stork" [The Sportsmen]; "Casey Junior" [The Sportsmen]; "Song of the Roustabouts" [The King's Men]; "Baby Mine" [Betty Noyes]; "The Clown Song" (aka "We're gonna hit the big boss for a raise") [Billy Bletcher, Eddie Holden and Billy Sheets]; "Pink Elephants on Parade" [The Sportsmen] (preceded by two minutes of music on soundtrack version); "When I See an Elephant Fly" [Cliff Edwards and the Hall Johnson Choir] and "When I See an Elephant Fly" [Cliff Edwards and the Hall Johnson Choir] [Reprise].
Voice Cast: James Baskett (uncredited), Herman Bing (uncredited), Billy Bletcher (uncredited), Edward Brophy (uncredited), Jim Carmichael (uncredited), Hall Johnson Choir (Choral Sounds) (uncredited), Cliff Edwards (uncredited), Verna Felton (uncredited), Noreen Gammill (uncredited), Eddie Holden (uncredited), Sterling Holloway (uncredited), Malcolm Hutton (uncredited), The King's Men (Choral Effects) (uncredited), Harold Manley (uncredited), John McLeish (Narrator) (uncredited), Tony Neil (uncredited), Betty Noyes (Singer) (uncredited), Dorothy Scott (uncredited), Sarah Selby (uncredited), Billy Sheets (uncredited), Nick Stewart (uncredited), Chuck Stubbs (uncredited) and Margaret Wright (uncredited)
Directors: Ben Sharpsteen (sequence director), Bill Roberts (sequence director), Jack Kinney (sequence director), John Elliotte (uncredited), Norman Ferguson (sequence director), Samuel Armstrong (sequence director), Wilfred Jackson (sequence director)
Producer: Walt Disney
Screenplay: Aurelius Battaglia (story development), Bill Peet (story development), Dick Huemer (screen story), Harold Pearl (based on the book), Helen Aberson (based on the book), Joe Grant (screen story), Joe Rinaldi (story development), Otto Englander (story direction), Vernon Stallings (story development) and Webb Smith (story development)
Composers: Frank Churchill and Oliver Wallace
Video Resolution: 1080p [Technicolor]
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Audio: English: 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English: Restored 2.0 Original Audio Soundtrack, French: 5.1 Disney Enhanced High Definition Theatre Mix Sound and Spanish: 5.1 Disney Enhanced High Definition Theatre Mix Sound
Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish
Running Time: 64 minutes
Region: Blu-ray: All Regions and DVD: NTSC
Number of discs: 2
Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment / RKO Radio Pictures
Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: Walt Disney's animated motion picture ‘DUMBO’ is 64 wonderful minutes of a baby elephant with gigantic ears that discovers his place in the world. It is a small, intimate, emotionally powerful mother-son tale with terrific songs and characters and outstanding animation, in other words, perfect family entertainment.
Released in New York in October, 1941 in Los Angeles, it premiered days after Japan attacked America. The brightly coloured circus picture is irrepressibly happy, even as it depicts an abnormal child's tale of woe. Opening with storks delivering new-borns in sacks to their circus animal mothers, expectant elephant Mrs. Jumbo looks up in anticipation of her special delivery. When the little fella finally arrives, the other elephants confer the cruel nickname.
Along comes Timothy, a sprightly, city mouse who'd rather pal around with Dumbo than with a bunch of catty old show hacks. With a good sense of justice and showmanship, Timothy sets about convincing Dumbo that his handicap doesn't have to ruin his life and that what can't be changed can be cast to Dumbo's own personal interest. Watching his plans unfold is a pleasure.
Dumbo, whose mother is branded mad when she comes to his defence, is assigned to perform with the clowns and a nasty, cynical lot they are to and, like most early Disney pictures, ‘Dumbo’ is embedded with clearly drawn, multi-layered characters. The clowns are oppressive, not funny; a bully with big ears acts out against sweet Dumbo; black crows are hip but they are also kind.
It's a wonderful stunning timeless, seamless delightful story about being totally different. Highlights include Casey Junior's musical choo-choo train chugging the circus out of winter hibernation in Florida, Dumbo visiting his mother in solitary confinement, as Mrs. Jumbo sings "Baby Mine" and, of course, the hallucinatory "Pink Elephants on Parade," which remains one of the best animated sequences in history.
‘Dumbo’ works primarily as a bonding fable, though he conquers his fears and eventually stops letting pain dominate his childhood and he does so by choice. Only then does Dumbo, deeply loved by his mother, encouraged by his friend, glide to his highest potential and he hits back at his tormentors before it's over. Cleverly mocking Hollywood especially with Timothy the capitalist rightly cashing in. Dumbo showers his mother with kisses in an ending that brilliantly integrates the story's theme that one's happiness is made not predetermined.
Although it was directed by Ben Sharpsteen, every frame of this Walt Disney tale about the outcast elephant with huge ears was personally approved by Uncle Walt himself. On the animation side, the highlight is the parade of pink elephants after Dumbo and Timothy Mouse get tipsy. Made for a fraction of the cost of previous Disney animations, this may be one of the studio's shortest features, but it's also among the best. So don't miss this beautiful magical festive family Walt Disney Animation film treasure.
Blu-ray Video Quality – The film’s original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.33:1 is preserved, as is the RKO title card for those who are interested, in this stunning 1080p encoded image transfer. Comparing this to the first DVD release is like a night and day difference. Contrast is much more solid, and it doesn’t cause a hazy coloured mist to fall over the image as before, colours are truer and more richly delivered without ever going too bright, and sharpness is much better overall. Though there is no obvious banding in those blue skies, there seemed to be just a trace of it late in the film, and some anomalies in the water colouring can occasionally be glimpsed showing how truly sharp and clear the image is.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – The Blu-ray disc offers an awesome 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio sound mix and from original elements along with a Restored 2.0 Original Audio Soundtrack Mono mix for those who wish a historical audio track experience, plus 5.1 Disney Enhanced High Definition Theatre Mix Sound. The 7.1 mix has not been tricked out with extraneous obviousness. Music occasionally finds its way into the fronts and rears, and the several thunderstorms that happen during the movie provide the most obvious use of the rear channels for the rain and thunder effects. Overall, the audio track has a monaural presence despite the reworked sound, and it fits the unpretentious film just fine that way. No age-related artefacts like hiss or crackle are anywhere to be heard.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Blu-ray Feature Film + Bonus
DVD Feature Film + Bonus
All-New Digital Restoration
Special Feature: DisneyView Presentation [Expanded Viewing Experience]: DisneyView allows users to expand their viewing experience beyond the 1.33:1 original aspect ratio of the film by filling the otherwise dark edges of the screen with beautiful custom paintings by James Coleman, so you get the full 1.77:1 aspect ratio presentation.
Special Feature: About DisneyView Presentation with James Coleman  [1080p] [1.77:1] [00:53] The special brand of Disney magic has inspired the lives of many who have fallen under its spell. For artist James Coleman, it began when he started working in the Studio’s mailroom in the summer of 1969. His big break came when he entered one of his paintings in a studio art show. Several of the Disney Artists saw his potential and encouraged him to go into animation background painting. As the Background Department Supervisor, James Coleman was a strong creative influence in developing the look of over thirty shorts and twelve animated feature films. But with this delightful presentation, you actually see James Coleman in a small rectangle video screen at the top right of your TV screen, where he gives a very insightful talk about his time at the Walt Disney Studio. He also tells us that he worked on ‘DUMBO’ and it is one of his most favourite Disney Animation film. This is a must view extra.
Special Feature: Cine-Explore Experience  [1080p] [1.77:1] Here you get to view the whole of ‘DUMBO’ again, what you get to view while the animation film is in progress, is lots of rectangle images dotted about the screen, where you get lots of extra information about the animation film ‘DUMBO’ and the workings of the Walt Disney Studio in producing all of their animation work. But what is most interesting and fascinating aspect of this presentation is what you get to see with the main rectangle panel at the top right of your TV screen, is that you get to see and hear in a special viewing room Pete Docter [Director], Paula Sigman [ Disney Historian] and Andreas Deja [Animator]. We also get to see lots of rare image drawings relating to ‘DUMBO’ as well as Ward Kimball talk about his work on the animation film and also informs us that they were also working on ‘BAMBI’ at the same time. Another interesting aspect of this presentation, is that we get to see and hear Woolie Reithermann and his hard work and dedication on ‘DUMBO,’ plus we also get to see and hear other rare fascinating characters who helped to make ‘DUMBO’ the success it became. But we finally get to hear how ‘DUMBO’ came about and it was through Helen Aberson and Harold Pearl’s delightful little book entitled “DUMBO: The Flying Elephant” that Walt Disney really loved and brought the rights to the novel. But this is definitely a MUST view, as it is a fascinating introduction into the beautiful magical experience of the classic animation film ‘DUMBO’ and how it all evolved. But one word of warning, if you can only view this particular extra via the DVD disc, you do not get to view all the extra rectangle images popping up on your TV screen, but all you get is the audio commentary in the background.
Special Feature: Never-Before-Seen Deleted Scene: The Mouse’s Tale [1080p] [1.77:1] [5:35] Here we get an introduction by Don Haan, at the Disney Animation research Library, where Don Haan goes into great detail on why this sequence was never used in ‘DUMBO.’ But what you get to view, with the help of the original script, very detailed rare drawings and the original audio voice recording, which gives you a sort animation feature of this lost deleted sequence and especially how it would of looked if it had been included in ‘DUMBO.’ Dan Haan at the end of the sequence informs us he is very puzzled why there is no information why Walt Disney decided not to include it is ‘DUMBO.’
Special Feature: Never-Before-Heard Deleted Song: “Are You A Man Or A Mouse” [480i] [1.33:1] [3:53] Here also you get to see part of the animation sequence, like if it was included in the animation film ‘DUMBO,’ where the baby elephant is at the top of the burning building in the circus tent. But the rest of the sequence is provided by rare beautiful drawings and the voice of Timothy the mouse, telling Dumbo not to give up hope and always smile in the face of adversity. But can see why Walt Disney felt it would hinder the flow of the animation film.
Backstage Disney Features:
Special Feature Documentary: Taking Flight: The Making of Dumbo [1080p] [1.77:1] [28:08] This is a totally fascinating documentary into the history of ‘DUMBO’ and how it became the classic animation it is today. We get to see and hear from people like Eric Goldberg [Walt Disney Supervising Animator]; Jim Capobianco [PIXAR Animation Studios]; Jonas Rivera [Producer for ‘UP’ PIXAR Animation Studios]; John Canemaker [Animation Historian]; Paul F. Anderson [Author and Disney Historian]; Didier Ghez [Disney Historian]; Carol Grubb [Daughter of Joe Grant]; Richard P. Huemer [Son of Dick Huemer] and Michael Sporn [Animation Director]. With all of these contributors for this fascinating documentary, you get to hear all about the talented artists and musical directors who poured so much energy and talent into producing ‘DUMBO’ and making it such a financial success. This is also a must view extra and not to be missed.
Special Feature: The Magic Of DUMBO: A Ride Of Passage [A Heartfelt Look At Disneyland's Most Popular Ride] [1080p] [1.77:1] [3:08] This is definite Disney Promotion on how people love the Dumbo Ride and how its appearance has changed over the years in operation notes from the likes of Imagineering Senior VP Tony Baxter. To me it is a bit too over the top in your face promotion and seeing all the ghastly over the top spoilt children, who are equally over the top gushing about the ride. Not one of my most favourite parts included in the extras.
Classic DVD Bonus Features:
Special Feature: Sound Design Excerpt from “The Reluctant Dragon”  [480i] [1.33:1] [5:56] A five-minute and 56 second clip that actually comes from a minor 1941 feature called ‘The Reluctant Dragon.’ The premise of the film showed writer Robert Benchley as he toured the Disney studios. With this very rare insight into how they go about making all the sound effects for a Walt Disney Animation Cartoon. It is a fascinating rare archive film, with such amazing use of different items to make the sound effects and also the orchestration. This is a very unusual picture quality, as the print is totally in sepia, and is a totally MUST view.
Special Feature: Celebrating DUMBO [480i] [1.33:1] [1:04] Here we get a collection of contributors that includes Leonard Malting; Andreas Deja; Don Haan; Ron Clements; Roy E. Disney; Rudy Behlmer; Lisa Keene; John Canemaker; Mike Gabrial; John Musker and Christy Maltese. But the outcome from all these people is how they love the ‘DUMBO’ animation film and give intimate detail of why it is top of their list.
Special Feature: Original Walt Disney TV Introduction  [480i] [black-and-white] [1.33:1] [1:04] This is a Walt Disney’s Disneyland Special on the promotion of the animation film ‘DUMBO.’ Here we get to see and hear Walt Disney giving great praise about their all-time favourite animation film. But what is a total shame, is why they couldn’t have allowed us to see the whole of this TV Special, very strange.
Theatrical Trailers: Original Theatrical Trailer  [480i] [1.33:1] [2:10]. Theatrical Re-Release Trailer  [480i] [1.33:1] [1:16]
Special Feature: Art Galleries Feature: Here you have Eight Galleries to view, which you can see listed below, and to access each Gallery you have to follow the following specific instructions, which are as follows:
1. To View an Image Full Screen: use the Directional Arrows on your Remote Control and press the ENTER button. 2. To Browse Images: Use the Left arrow and Right arrow buttons on your Remote Control to move from One Full Screen to another. 3. To Return To The Gallery: Press ENTER on your Remote Control. 4. To Return to This Gallery Instruction Menu: Select “?” on the Gallery Wall and press ENTER on your Remote Control. 5. To Exit the Gallery: Select the “X” on the Gallery Wall and press ENTER on your Remote Control.
Finally, I have had to give you this above instructions, because you are not given this specific information for the Art Galleries, but you can only find out when you go to the first Gallery and see at the bottom of your TV screen the following symbols “?” and “X” and I hope this has been of help to you and now here are the following Art Galleries for your enjoyment:
1. Visual Enjoyment. 2. Character Design. 3. Layouts and Backgrounds. 4. Storyboard Art. 5. Production Pictures. 6. Research Pictures. 7. Publicity. 8. Original Dumbo Storybook .
Bonus Shorts Feature:
Special Feature: Walt Disney’s Silly Symphony Cartoon: Elmer Elephant  [1080p] [1.33:1] [8:30] This Silly Symphony Cartoon short tells the story of a timid elephant named Elmer. In this story, he is invited to Tillie Tiger's birthday party, bringing her a bouquet of flowers. Tillie loves Elmer, but the other animal kids make fun of his nose (trunk) and cruelly mock him when Tillie isn't around to defend him. Broken-hearted by their teasing, Elmer leaves the party and cries in front of the nearby pond. Elmer is reassured by a nearby elderly giraffe named Joe who admits to him that he used to suffer the same teasing about his neck. Just then, a fire breaks out at Tillie's tree-house with Tillie still in it. The rescue efforts by the other children as well as a monkey fire brigade prove futile. With the help of Joe Giraffe and some pelicans that resemble Jimmy Durante, Elmer successfully puts out the fire and rescues Tillie. Voices by Bernice Hansen and Directed by Wilfred Jackson.
Special Feature: Walt Disney’s Silly Symphony Cartoon: The Flying Mouse  [1080p] [1.33:1] [9:19] This Silly Symphony Cartoon short tells the story of a young mouse fashions wings from a pair of leaves, to the tune "I Would Like to Be a Bird." To the great amusement of his brothers. When his attempts to use them fail, he falls into the tub and shrinks his sister's dress and gets spanked by his mother. When a butterfly calls for help, he rescues it from a spider. When the butterfly proves to be a fairy, the mouse wishes for wings. But his bat-like appearance doesn't fit in with either the birds or the other mice, and he finds himself friendless; even the bats make fun of him, making a point that he is "Nothin' But A Nothin'" and the butterfly fairy reappears and removes the mouse's wings, telling him that it is best for him to be himself. Directed by David Hand and Music by Bert Lewis and Frank Churchill.
Disney Family Play Feature:
Special Feature: What Do You See? [Decipher the Scrambled Images in This Game] You have either the Single Player Mode or the Family Mode. But what you have to do is recognise the scrambled image as fast as you can. Select the correct answer at the bottom of the screen by using the arrow keys or number keys 1 – 6 on your Remote Control. The faster you choose the correct answer, the more points you score. Us the “POP-UP” menu button to pause or exit the game. There will be 10 new images per game. So please have a go, as it is a great deal of fun and definitely a MUST play, and so good luck to all you players out there.
Special Feature: What Do You Know? [Fun Trivia Game For All Ages] Like the previous Game, you have either the Single Player Mode or the Family Player Mode. Again like the previous Game, the faster you answer correctly, the more points you score. When you see the number keys on your Remote Control, you have to enter them in the two blank boxes [for example you have to insert two numbers like “03”] at the top of the TV screen and then press OK. To change your answers, select CLEAR. Use the “POP-UP” menu button to pause or exit the Game. So once again please have a go, as it is a great deal of fun and is definitely a MUST play, so good luck to all you players out there.
Special Feature: Learn How To Take Your Favourite Movie On The Go [Disney File Digital Copy] This is very much explained in the heading.
Special Feature: Discover 3D Blu-ray with Timon & Pumba: This is a promotion animated cartoon presentation on promoting 3D Blu-ray with the two cartoon characters from the Disney Animation ‘The Lion King.’ Please note that you will not be able to view it in 3D, as it is only included on the DVD.
Sneak Previews [10:52] The Lion King [Diamond Edition] [Blu-ray + DVD]  [1080p] [1.77:1]; DisneyNature: Chimpanzee [1080p] [1.77:1]; Spooky Buddies: The Curse of the Howlloween Hound [Blu-ray + DVD] [1080p] [1.77:1]; Anti-Smoking Promotion [1080p] [1.33:1]; Disney Movie Awards Promotion [1080p] [1.77:1]; Tinker Bell and The Pixie Hollow Games Promotion [1080p] [1.77:1]; Disney Parks Promotion [1080p] [1.77:1]; Disney Junior TV Channel promotion [1080p] [1.77:1]; Beauty and the beat: The Enchanted Christmas [Special Edition] [Blu-ray Combo Pack] [1080p] [1.77:1]; Lady and the Tramp [Diamond Edition] [Blu-ray + DVD] 1080p] [1.77:1]; Disney Treasure Buddies [Blu-ray + DVD] [1048p] [1.77:1] and Tinker Bell and the Mysterious Winter Woods Promotion [1080p] [1.77:1].
Finally, with the Blu-ray release of ‘DUMBO,’ Disney's animated feature is at long last available in gorgeous high definition. And while the film is only 64 minutes long, it has just as much heart and spirit that we have come to expect with this truly magic Walt Disney animation film extravaganza. The Blu-ray disc itself functions, looks, and sounds exactly the same, with only the tiniest of differences in the language options. Fans of this animation film shouldn't hesitate to make a purchase, especially at the price with this. I can still earnestly recommend this Title, as it is a brilliant solid job, and is definitely one of Disney's most amazing Blu-ray discs. Very Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
on November 27, 2014
I love these movies and feel so happy to get them on DVD. They are more permanently accessible in my DVD library. But I may be the wrong person to answer your question because I am elderly and cannot speak for the millions/ billions younger than I.
What I can say is that it is wonderful to find AMAZON.CA as a rich resource for obtaining thee early Disney masterpieces despite the marketing ploys of "Mr. Disney's" contemporary reps who insist on holding back redistribution/ release of these works.
There seems to be a loss of artistic integrity in our present world.
I look forward to purchasing more of these masterpieces from the past - but, as I've mentioned, I may not belong to the appropriate feedback audience.
I congratulate you on your "humane" decision to keep these wonderful works alive and available to the public. And they seem to be in pristine condition despite one glitch I had with the magnificent Fantasia/ Fantasia 2000 which, as I understand from feedback from many friends, is a movie so many peoples from all ages love. As a musician I consider it to be a magnificent wonder, combining so professionally and perfectly narrative, music, and art work.
For some reason, I never saw most of the Disney classic movies when I was growing up - but I'm certainly having a good time watching them all these years later. Dumbo, of course, may be the most beloved Disney film of them all - despite the fact that it is relatively short (64 minutes), sports a pretty simplistic style of animation, and features a main character that never speaks a single word. The film's popularity is due in large part to the story itself, as there is a little bit of Dumbo in all of us. At some time, we've all been embarrassed by our appearance, laughed at and snubbed by those around us, and been made to feel like a complete loser.
Everyone knows the story already. Poor little Dumbo, with his big ears, is ridiculed and called a freak by the other elephants, harassed by kids going in to see the circus, separated from his mother, and eventually made into a clown, the very embodiment of his unhappy life. Only little Timothy Mouse befriends him, and his spirit of optimism and commitment to help Dumbo prove himself are needed more than ever when things go from bad to worse. In the end, the very thing that makes Dumbo different turns out to be the source of his greatest strength. The message of the film is pretty simple: believe in yourself, even when others put you down and, for heaven's sake, don't make fun of someone just because he looks different. Dumbo is also a story about love, particularly the love between a mother and child, and the importance of friendship.
Classic Disney films such as this are both wonderful and remarkable - yet so many of them are also sad. I imagine that children, while they will certainly understand the themes of this story, don't connect to the film on the same emotional level as I do as an adult. I really got emotional watching this - right from the start, with the sadness exuded by Mrs. Jumbo as she watches children being delivered to seemingly every one but her. It's tough watching Dumbo suffer ridicule and embarrass himself further by tripping over his big ears, suffer a cruel separation from his mother, and mope around with those tears spilling out of his big blue eyes, but I made it through all of that OK. Then came the scene where he visits his mother in her solitary confinement. If Leonard Maltin can admit that this film makes him cry every time he watches it, so can I. I don't know how anyone can get through that visitation scene without shedding at least one tear.
I said the animation was relatively simplistic, but that does not mean it isn't spellbinding, nor does it mean you won't encounter any scenes that are rather stunning in detail. Some of the professionals interviewed in a 15-minute featurette included on the DVD do a great job of pointing out the most remarkable scenes (and everyone has something to say about the Pink Elephant sequence, which is just bizarre and certainly memorable). Other special features include an audio commentary by film historian John Canemaker, a short, one-minute introduction to the film by Walt Disney himself, a photo gallery of conception art and storyboards, a video of the song "Baby Mine" performed by Jim Brickman with Kassie DePalva, and two short cartoons, Elmer Elephant and The Flying Mouse. Additional bonus materials aimed more specifically at young viewers are Sing Along Songs for Look Out for Mr. Stork and Casey Junior, a DVD storybook which children can read along with, and a "My First Circus" game that teaches children about the different kinds of animals normally found in a circus.
In a perfect world, Disney would just send a free copy of Dumbo to every set of parents in the country. Since that isn't economically feasible, I hope that as many parents as possible do make Dumbo a part of their children's young lives. This classic animated film is everything you would expect from Walt Disney - and more.
on May 5, 2004
There is so much debate to what is the best ever cartoon animated movie and you'll get answers such as "The Little Mermaid", "Aladdin", and "The Lion King". But this movie is above and beyond better than them and all the other cartoon animted movies. I wouldn't call it the best G Rated ever because of the likes of live-action G Rated movies such as Babe and Gordy and computer animated G Rated movies such as Toy Story but before all those, there was Dumbo. All those movies have heart-warmth and Dumbo is a big reason why because it's a pioneer for those movies. It's the first G Rated ever made that warmed people's hearts because of a young circus elephant that wanted to find his mom because she was taken away from him. The best part in the movie is when he goes to visit his mom and she's rocking him in her trunk. That part really touched my heart. The other character I like is the mouse. He's very funny and the fact he befriends this very sad elephant is classic friendship. Sure this movie might be out-dated now but to us fans, it will forever be a classic!
on March 5, 2004
After the financial failures of both Pinocchio and Fantasia, Dumbo was a smash success, the film told the sweet and simple story of a little baby elephant who had a small, but big problem, his ears were so big that everyone teased him and made fun of him, his beloved mother was locked up after trying to defend him from a bunch of mean kids and Dumbo is alone facing a world of injustice, luckily for him, a small mouse friend named Timothy will help him find that his great ears can be used to fly. This is one of Disney's sweetest tales, although it is many times unfairly described as racist, and now it's time for me to say what I feel about his racism. We see a scene where all these black men are working on setting up the circus, all of them black, well that is no reason to say that the film is racist since "racism" is the belief that one race is better than another or it also means being descriminated due to someone's skin color, well that isn't happening in this scene, it is just describing how things were back in the days, these men are not being descriminated. So back to the film, it is great and one of Disney's shortest since it does not even reach the 70 minutes.
The DVD is exactly what a Disney standard should be, it brings many different bonus features and one or two classic cartoons, a DVD that all Disney fans should own.
on February 10, 2004
If you've read some of the reviews bellow, you'll notice alot of defending of this film going on. Yea, a member of the PC police wrote a review saying they'd ban there kid from watching this crule, insensative, irresponsible cartoon. Here's a list of why this film is a great opportunity to entertain AND educate your kids;
-You can use this film to discuss how cruel teasing can affect others. The teasers are THE BAD GUYS!!
-Point out how hurtful bahaving in an exclusive manner can be.
-Discuss how "Dumbo" perseveres dispite the opinions of others.
-IF they ask, point out how bad things CAN happen when you use drugs or alchohol.
-Talk about how cultural sensativities have changed since the 1940s. (The crows stereotyped as "blacks" is actually pretty shameful. I don't point this out because my kids don't get it.)
-extremely pure and simple story. Kids love this film.
-"Casey Junior" song stick in your brain. My 20 month old is enthralled by the train.
-"Elephants on Parade" is a real "Trip". It is more remarkable when you consider the lack of computer technology at the time.
-The faceless "roust-abouts" are a little creepy, but my kids survived.
-The ending is as sugar-coated as you would ever want, which is why people love this film.
-Totally re-mastered. Flawless.
-2 shorts related to flying and elephants are ok.
-Black and White Sound stage clip from "The Ruluctant Dragon" is pretty cool.
-Enough extras for a couple of hours.
I think the main take-away from this review is that;
-you can choose to protect your kids from everything
-you can teach them how to cope with situatutions that they will inevitably encounter.
I certainly would not ban my kids from seeing an imaginative art peice like "Dumbo". In the famous words of Dori in "Finding Nemo"... "If you don't let anything happen to him, then nothing will happen to him. Not much fun for little Elmo".
on November 24, 2003
DUMBO is my favorite Disney film. Although is it barely 1 hour long, it is packed with complex themes and gorgeous animation, far beyond what was being done 60 years ago. DUMBO is a dark film, with echos of film noir. It is frequently raining or snowing, and much of the action takes place at night. Although much has been written about the hallucinatory "Pink Elephants on Parade" number, my favorite sequence (in fact, my all-time favorite Disney animated sequence) is the erecting of the circus tent scene. During the pouring rain, the circus workers, assisted by the elephants, put up the tent in a fantastic ballet of social realism, echoing the best of Ben Shahn and Diego Rivera. The animation swings around the scene, taking in only an arm here, a swinging hammer there. Topped by that swirling soundtrack, this scene is the best that Disney has ever done. The story may, at times be a bit too intense for younger viewers, but no more so than other Disney films where parents die (e.g., Bambi), or tense moments occur. On top of it all, the main character never speaks a word. This ain't no "bare necessities" film, rather, it is simply a work of art.
on August 29, 2003
'Dumbo' is one of my all-time favorite Disney classics. It's timeless! Everytime I watch it the story never gets old. There isn't another sweeter movie to match it. It's a darling story of how a little elephant with unusally big ears finds that no matter how unique you are you're always have a purpose in life. Who says that a character gotta speak in an animated film or any film for that matter? It's the emotion and facial expressions that speak louder than words. The innocence and sentiment surpasses it peers to a priceless treasure. You'll fall in love with the characters Dumbo and his circus companion, Timothy Q. Mouse. Other highlights of the movie is the scenes with the Crows and the music score (won an Academy Award in 1942 for Best Music Score), "When I see an Elephant Fly" sung by the Hall Johnson Choir, the pink elephant (could this be an 1941 anti-alcohol message?). You'll find yourself shedding a tear to "Baby Mine" (nominated for an Academy Award in 1942 for best song). If not, I pronounce you clinically brain dead. I always feel lulled into a calm state-of-mind every time I hear it. Try it sometime! In my honest opinion, the Top 10 all-time greatest Disney classics would be: 1. Dumbo, 2. Mary Poppins, 3. The Jungle Book, 4. Winnie the Pooh, 5. Pochantas, 6. Tarzan, 7. The Lion King, 8. Lady and the Tramp, 9. The Love Bug, 10. Fantasia.
on August 28, 2003
I am really not sure where to begin writing a decent sophisticated review with proper transitions, etc. ya da ya da- but I got to open up and say I LOVE this movie! It is quite possibly my favorite movie period. I am 17 and I have loved this movie for as long as I can remember; it's even better now, because I am old enough to appreciate its wonderful messages and morals. It's an anti-animal cruelty flick seen from the animals' point of view and pointing out the ignorance of the humans, and a realistic depiction of how cruel and unjust the world can be, and what can be done to overcome despite it all. Anyway, for those of you who aren't familiar with the plot (get your heads out of your rears and watch this, PLEASE) it's the story of a baby elephant delivered to Jumbo on a circus train from a stork. He is immediately derided by the fellow elephants and human audience because of his oversized ears. The only ones who who show any compassion are his mother Jumbo, and his friends-a mouse named Timothy and a flock of crows who give him support and encouragement.
I love the cleverness and depth of this movie- the mother and friends that stick up for him even if it results in sacrifices for themselves (Jumbo being confined from the other elephants for "disorderly conduct"), the loving bond between mother and son, and the anti-discrimination messages. By the way, this movie isn't racist, I know for a fact that it's ANTI-racist (uncountable reasons why that would require an entire separate review) and the crow scene was not intended to demean black culture but embrace it, (with a black cast); many people misread the content and took it the wrong way, seeing as most things at the time were condemnable and ignominious. Pretty outstanding for 1941 when there was still so much bigotry in the US. The same thing happened with the 1942 cartoon "Coal Black the Seven Dwarfs". And the "Roustabouts" scene wasn't bigoted, either. It's just a fact that in those days it was common for brothers to be willing to take the [bad] jobs if better ones weren't available, am I right? I am black myself telling you all of this, so does that make any of this more convincing? I'm not naïve and I discern racism when I see it. The completely different selection of writers and blackless cast for the monkey scene in the Jungle Book, however, is an entirely different situation, but lets not get into that. If you are one of the neurotically oversensitive people who DO thing this movie's racist, your kids won't know anyway unless you rub it in their faces; you're only aggravating things.
Anyway, the parts of the movie that will delight people of all ages are the quaint and adorable animation of the animals and the classic catchy songs. My faves are the cute "Look Out For Mr. Stork", the clever pun-filled soul song "When I See An Elephant Fly", the hypnotic "Elephants On Parade", the catchy tunes "Casey Junior" and "Roustabouts"... they're all so good. The few good characters are lovable- benevolent Jumbo, cute little Dumbo/Jumbo Jr., the witty and hilarious (and cute may I add-I love cartoon birds) crows, the charismatic Timothy, and "good ol'" Mr. Stork. I detest the rest of the characters. The heartless elephants, that awful red-haired kid teasing Jumbo Jr., the selfish Mussoliniesque circus trainer who had disregard for the well-being and proper husbandry of the animals, and the *cough* clowns. Those are the most hideous clowns I have ever seen and have lurked in my nightmares as a child. What I also don't like about this film are the alcohol/drug references, anti or not. Although it may not do too much harm being that to the younger naive audience it will have no significance and to the older audience simply amusing and humorous, I still find the idea of an infant elephant getting drunk in a children's movie a little disturbing. And that psychedelic pink elephant scene- try and tell me that there weren't stoners involved in the writing and production of that part of the movie. As a little kid I thought it was entertaining on the eyes, now it makes me laugh, but I still can't help but wonder why that didn't frighten me as a small child. And how the neglecting elephants all of sudden started respecting Dumbo just because he was famous? That always made me outraged.
Despite of the film's few blunders, there are many times more good qualities that could make me care less. This movie literally is a classic.