My opinion right after watching movie
My opinion is that it is good, but the boring scenes are dragged a bit too long. It is practically under the same formula as Make Mine Music, and while I liked the music, I was not getting ready to sing and dance like I did in Make Mine Music.
Alrighty, I found nothing of importance to add here except that it was announced to the public in 1947, and they had a decent amount of money, which showed in this and the last package film, which would help the growing project Cinderella.
Once Upon a Wintertime
So the opening short is about a young couple and a rabbit couple skating on the ice. The males are doing well and the females keep up screwing up. This and them laughing causes both the lady and the lady rabbit to walk off. They walk on thin ice (though they could have skated perfectly fine), and they end up floating. They almost fall down, but their men save them after many trials and tribulations. Everything is repaired, and the lady gives her boyfriend a kiss. Honestly, this short is mediocre, and only memorable because of the music and the colorful animation.
This was originally going to be included into Fantasia, and all for good reason. While this is the shortest short, it is the one that is expressed through the music and animation the best. From turning the flowers to piano keys, and the musical notes floating out, trying to kill the bee is a musician and artistic joy to watch. Perfectly paced.
The Legend of Johnny Appleseed
And here is the most anticipated short of the film and to be honest…. I was bored of it. Don’t get me wrong, it retells the Johnny Appleseed story well, and he is an optimistic man who needs to plant apples to fulfill his duty, but not much goes on. It kind of drags too long. Not bad, but too long with nothing going on. It is very good to look at though.
So this short is about a boat called Little Toot, who wants to be like his dad, but his ambition always turns into recklessness, and a big case of this is when he helps a boat crash into a city. He gets banished, but a boat needs help. He saves the day by bringing the boat over, and makes his father proud. It is not bad…. but it is hard to root for the boat when all we saw was him being reckless, and the fact that it is mediocre. Even the Andrew Sisters could not garner much interest into this short for me. Here is where I started to get bored with the film.
This is another one of those short shorts where the poem Trees is being read as it gives us some great animation on the trees, animals, and a bit of the forest, but that is it.
Blame It on the Samba
Oh goodness, memories of the Spanish war films Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros. So we have to go through this psychedelia drug trip with Woody the Woodpecker copy, Donald, and Jose, as they dance around and try to look under a woman’s skirt. Oh and PS, pop singers should NOT sing Latin salsa songs. It does NOT sound right. Just unpleasant, and it does not fit with the rest of the film. Sticks out like a sore thumb.
Things become more unbearable with this short. We are first going through some live action footage of cowboys, and a bunch of stuff that is making me bored. So we FINALLY get to the short with a boy named Pecos Bill growing up with Coyotes. He then suddenly becomes a cowboy after he leaves the coyotes, and he meets the sweet badass cowgirl Slue Foot Sue. His horse companion is overly jealous, and it is very disturbing. Anyways, the pair fall in love and decide to get married. ON their wedding day, he lets her ride his horse, and the horse literally is trying to kill her as she rides. After she falls off, she is bouncing up and down, and her love is trying to save her with a rope, but his evil horse makes him miss. She lands on the moon, and he returns to the wolves where they howl SuEEE. This is a distasteful way to end the film, not a bittersweet way, but it is too long with 22 minutes. Then the live action cowboys close the film. Does anyone else think that this film should have been ended with Johnny Appleseed, so we can have an uplifting ending?
There are some memorable characters in this film, like Sue, Pecos Bill, Johnny Appleseed, and Donald, while the others are bland. They are all likable, but they are still a bit flat. The characters here are more memorable and stand out against the ones in the other package films.
The animation has improved greatly from Make Mine Music, and it is definitely less rushed. Though the audio and video do not go together at times and the mouthing is off, the fluidity and movements of most things are brilliant and colorful.
The theme of the music is pop and folk. I think the folk is for the last part, and it is done well. For the pop, none were really memorable except Johnny Appleseed and even the Andrew Sisters could not make that short that much more memorable with their singing.
Reception at Release
When the film was released on May 27, 1948, it was a financial success (still no numbers for Package Era films), but it received mixed reviews.
Melody Time was and is more successful with the shorts released separately than together, and most people remember a specific short, but never the film. It was not released on VHS until 1998, and………. that is all I have to say about it.
= 27.5/40 = 69%