Make Mine Music (USA, 1946)
Directed by Robert Cormack, Clyde Geronomi, Jack Kinney, Hamilton Luske & Joshua Meador
Starring Nelson Eddy, Dinah Shore, Benny Goodman, Sterling Holloway
In reviewing the Disney package films of the 1940s, I've made a conscious effort to praise whatever positive aspects they may have. While all six efforts are considered part of the official Disney canon, they are arguably the most neglected of all the films in which Walt Disney was personally involved. But sadly, such an approach does not get us far with Make Mine Music, perhaps the weakest offering of them all.
A Canterbury Tale has one foot in their great work of the late-1940s, but the other in their ropey earlier work for the British government. The animation here is more bouncy and rubbery than before, with Casey at the Bat exhibiting the same exaggerated physicality of The Fuhrer's Face, occasionally tipping over into Warner Brothers or Tex Avery territory.
The Red Shoes two years later. While ultimately slight, and over-long, it passes the time pretty nicely.
Sleeping Beauty, which was also set to classical music. But it suffers from the increasing liberties taken by Disney. Some can be overlooked - the naming of the animal characters - but others are a case of convention coming out over common sense, such as the actual fate of Sonia the duck.
Dumbo, but for all the imagery Disney throws as us it doesn't have the same shape-shifting magic at the Pink Elephants in that film. This section most supports the view that the package films should be seen as demo reels - as a rapid-fire indication of what Disney could do with more time and resources. But while that might work as something to show investors, as a piece in and of itself it's underdeveloped and adds very little.