Make Mine Music

Make Mine Music

Synopsis of Movie

Disney’s first post-World War II feature was a pop music updating of 1940’s Fantasia, stringing together ten different musical pieces into a feature-length whole. Still recovering from the economic effects of the war, Disney found it was more financially sound to continue making “package” films (like the wartime Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros) than a complete animated feature.

Make Mine Music, subtitled “A Music Fantasy in Ten Parts,” opens with a sequence titled “A Rustic Ballad”, featuring the King’s Men singing “The Martins and the Coys.” The accompanying cartoon features the sparring hillbilly families the Martins and McCoys, whose feud may or may not come to an end with the wedding of Henry Martin to Grace McCoy.

The second segment, “A Tone Poem,” is set to the Ken Darby chorus’ “Blue Bayou,” illustrated with lingering shots of the moon, the bayou and a pair of flamingos. Up next is “A Jazz Interlude,” with Benny Goodman and his orchestra performing “All the Cats Join In.” The uptempo pace of the music is matched by a rapidly pencil-sketched scene of jitterbugging bobby-soxers.

The fourth sequence is “A Ballad in Blue,” a low-key, moody animation set to Andy Russell’s crooning “Without You.” The next piece, “A Musical Recitation,” is Jerry Colonna’s rollicking retelling of the famous poem “Casey at the Bat.”

The mood turns serene again for “Ballade Ballet,” a mixture of live-action ballet dancers with animated backgrounds, all to the strains of Dinah Shore singing “Two Silhouettes.” “A Fairy Tale with Music,” the seventh segment, is Prokofiev’s well-known “Peter and the Wolf,” narrated by Sterling Holloway. Another Benny Goodman tune follows, as a clarinet, drums, bass and piano chase each other across a surreal musical landscape to “After You’ve Gone.”

The Andrews Sisters do the honors on the next piece, “A Love Story.” As the sisters sing “Johnny Fedora and Alice Blue Bonnet,” the animation follows a long-standing love affair between two hats. The final segment is the bombastic “Opera Pathetique,” featuring Nelson Eddy singing tenor, baritone and bass (harmonized by the miracle of modern technology) for “The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met.” The story tells of Willie the Whale, an accomplished singer who draws the ire of Professor Tetti Tatti, then fantasizes himself into a variety of roles at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House.

Like most of Disney’s package films, Make Mine Music was divided into its individual components after its initial release. The separated shorts, especially “Casey at the Bat,” “Peter and the Wolf,” “After You’ve Gone” and the wildly popular “The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met,” were re-released with other features and shown over the years on Disney’s TV programs and cable channels. Alas, the film was trimmed to only nine parts for later video release, as the Martin/McCoy feudin' of “A Rustic Ballad” was deemed unsuitable for young tykes' viewing.

Movie Release History

1946 - Make Mine Music

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Narrator ("Opera Pathetique") Nelson Eddy
Vocalist ("Ballade Ballet") .Dinah Shore
Narrator ("Casey at the Bat") Jerry Colonna
Vocalist ("A Ballad in Blue") Andy Russell
Narrator ("Peter and the Wolf") Sterling Holloway
Dancer ("Ballade Ballet") David Lichine
Dancer ("Ballade Ballet") Tania Riabouchinskaya
Animal Sounds Pinto Colvig

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