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Who's Afraid of the Song of the South? and Other Forbidden Disney Stories
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Who's Afraid of the Song of the South? and Other Forbidden Disney Stories

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3.74  ·  Rating details ·  365 ratings  ·  43 reviews
Brer Rabbit. Uncle Remus. Song of the South. Racist?

Disney thinks so. And that's why it has forbidden the theatrical re-release of its classic film Song of the South since 1986.

But is the film racist? Are its themes, its characters, even its music so abominable that Disney has done us a favor by burying the movie in its infamous Vault, where the Company claims it will rema
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Paperback, 289 pages
Published November 20th 2012 by Theme Park Press (first published November 1st 2012)
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3.74  · 
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 ·  365 ratings  ·  43 reviews


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Sesana
Nov 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: disney, nonfiction
I did say in my review of The Revised Vault of Walt that I didn't think I would see eye to eye with Korkis about The Song of the South. Surprise, I don't. I think it would be fair to sum up his argument as follows: Disney Studios at large weren't intentionally making a racist film, most or all charges of racism are based on an understandable misunderstanding of the movie's time period, and that Disney should re-release the movie because, with some sort of contextual feature, it wouldn't be that ...more
Jennifer
Mar 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Disney Fans
This was the first Jim Korkis book I have read. I am a die hard Disney fan. The author presents probably the most scholarly piece of work available on The Song of The South. The author gives his opinion, but he leaves it up to the reader to take in all the opinions presented; from actors in the movie, reviewers, newspapers, The NAACP, Ebony Magazine, stockholders, Walt and Roy Disney and many others and then to make up their own opinion.
The story of The Song of the South takes up until pg. 10
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Jim Dooley
Oct 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
It is fascinating that THE SONG OF THE SOUTH has been a "forbidden Disney film" for so long, and I fear that "keeping it in the vault" has only reinforced the perception that it is an overtly racist film. This book, with a very perceptive Forward by former Disney artist, Floyd Norman, may help to lay this perception to rest.

As an avid film collector, I was one of those who had to seek out a bootleg copy in order to see the film. (Mine was a copy of a Japanese laserdisc release...in English, but
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Nina Ely
Feb 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
This author is a frequent guest on one of my favorite podcasts, WDW Radio, where he discusses, in great depth, the history of Disney, both the man and the company. He's always fascinating, and really goes deep into his subjects.

This book is sort of split in half, with the first half going into the history and production of the controversial film "Song of the South." Pretty much every aspect is examined in-depth, with information on the animators, writers, actors, the controversies surrounding it
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Amanda Kay
Oct 16, 2013 rated it liked it
I was very much looking forward to Jim Korkis' detailed info on the stories Disney doesn't want us to know. However, this book is a bit of a letdown. While the "Song of the South" info is good - it's not great. Chapters are very short, and provide the same amount of information I could get from a few articles and Wikipedia. The later stories are lacking as well, many with abrupt endings and telling very little information.

I did enjoy reading about "Kingdom of the Sun" and a few other tidbits, bu
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Joshua
May 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was a very insightful book. Anybody who is a fan of Disney needs to read this. It does talk about Song of the South like it promises (things like the actors, the music, and the premiere), but it also goes into detail about a number of other controversies (such as Sunflower from Fantasia). It's apparent that the author did a lot of research to get the facts straight.

I hope that someday Disney will finally open up and release the movie in America (which will probably never happen), but until
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T. Finley
The portion of the book dedicated to Song Of The South was very thorough, and the section titled Other Forbidden Stories included a wide variety of subjects. That said, I found some of the 'Forbidden Stories' more interesting than others. The tone of the book was also very academic, which makes sense in context, but for me it made the book less engaging. Anyone who has sat through a boring history class will tell you that sometimes it's the presentation, and not the subject matter, that makes hi ...more
Peter Wright
May 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Only about 25% of the book actually deals with Song of the South. There are some interesting stories, but this won't really give you a very in-depth look at the making of or controversy surrounding the film. The bulk of the book deals with other "embarrassing" Disney stories that the company would rather not be known - some of which aren't too scandalous, but are still interesting. One of the more fascinating stories was the the one about what The Emperor's New Groove COULD have been. I'd love t ...more
Cynthia Jones
May 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tidbits of unknown Disney history

This book is required reading for all Disney fans. It contains so much more than "Song of the South" facts! Covering some minutiae of production, and the thought processes used in developing (and canning) projects within the Studios.
The details regarding Tim Burton's employment at Disney, UFO's, and communism are well worth your time. Park and movie materials are covered in detail. A great read...
Craig
Mar 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Another great book from Jim Korkis, as always very well written and incredibly researched.
The first half if this book is about the entire history of Song Of The South, from the novels on which it was based to its legacy today.
The second half is a selection of shorter stories about equally risque disney subjects from alterations of classic Disney features and shorts, to cancelled projects such as The Rainbow Road Of Oz.
This book is a must read for fans of Disney history.
Eve
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Interesting Informative Iconic

Walt Disney will forever be an icon of entertainment. Being the age that I am (71) I grew up with Walt Disney and his fantastical world. I was able to connect with much of what was written in this book. Song of the South: now I know why I haven't been able to find it. I loved the Uncle Remus stories and I loved Uncle Remus. It is a very interesting read and I appreciate the opportunity to learn about the behind-the-scenes.
Sarah
Feb 01, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I’m a huge fan of all things Disney, but this book was a little too detailed even for me. It was very repetitive and the writing felt unpolished. I almost felt like I was reading a high schoolers essay at points. There were a lot of details that I didn’t care about and that seemed only vaguely related. You can find better Disney books to spend your time reading.
Carley Adair
Jul 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very good account on a much talked about Film.

I remember this movie from my childhood.Then I didn’t know there were so much about it countervasity around it .I found this very insightful and the other scandals with movies was really interesting.
Meghan
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018
Turns out, there are not that many scandalous stories from the world of Disney. I did appreciate getting more background on “Song of the South”, and I found the chapter on “Kingdom in the Sun” / “Emperor’s New Groove” really interesting. However, it’s not a keeper.
Bruce
Nov 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
At times, I had problems with the writing style and bias of the author but overall this is a historical and biographical treasure trove.
Ebon
Apr 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Definitely a good read if you’re a fan of Disneyana trivia. It will for sure make you want to search out/find a recording of the film, Song of the South.
Leslie
Some entertaining anecdotes in here. I found the Song of the South stuff alright... didn't seem as interesting as I'd hoped. Would be really really curious to see this movie now though. I thought the other shorter chapters were more interesting, or maybe it's because they were a bit more to the point that it held my attention better.
Leila Kern
Mar 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Since I am a Disney fan, I liked the book very much. It was interesting to hear the stories/history behind Song of the South. However, I do not agree with Disney not releasing the movie. This is a part of history which should not be ignored and Disney does not delve into really factual history but rather the story telling over the ages.
kylajaclyn
May 21, 2014 rated it liked it
To all expecting a thorough story of The Song of the South here: you won't find it. You will, however, find more information on the movie in one place than ever before, though it lasts only 104 pages. What is missing is the true why: why does this movie continue to be buried in the Disney vault? The best Korkis can find is that Disney CEO Bob Iger still seems to consider the movie, at the very least, vaguely racist. This is enough to keep it from the sunlight.

Once again this book is very Korkis
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Sherrie Henry
Aug 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
I'm a huge Disney fan, so finding this book on the most forbidden movie in Disney history was a grand surprise. It does drag a little here and there, but gives a thorough accounting of how the movie came to be and why it is so (in my opinion, unjustly) vilified.

Bad marketing movies, ambiguous storyline - those were the two main problems that plagued the movie. The screenplay has it taking place AFTER the Civil War, thus the workers in the field are free men and women. Unfortunately, that's not
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Alyce Champagne
Mar 29, 2015 rated it did not like it
What a disappointment. This is supposedly an expose of the racism behind Walt Disney's "The Song of the South," but the book tells us nothing of the sort. By the author's own account, Disney thought he was creating his masterpiece, believing Joel Chandler Harris to be the equivalent of Mark Twain. He met with all sorts of African American ("Negro" back then) groups to assure that his film would be anything but racist. With no evidence whatsoever, the word got out that the film was going to be co ...more
Terry Collins
Jul 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
A fast and informative read about a movie many have yet to see. Like most animation fans in the last 30 or so years, I've watched SONG OF THE SOUTH via a bootleg copy (never the best way to watch a film). The movie, while good-hearted and beautifully animated, isn't on the level of a SNOW WHITE & THE SEVEN DWARFS or SLEEPING BEAUTY. That being said, it is a lightening rod due to racial concerns and changing sensibilities. A lot of the rancor directed at the film comes from misinformation - s ...more
Stephen
Jul 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book was full of information that in all of my years reading about Disney, I have never come across. Korkis's research is well presented. Some of the stories I really do wish were further fleshed out, but I think his presentation of them may inspire further investigation and scholarly research.

This was a delightful read- in that Korkis is an obvious fan and presents facts rather than simply trying to vilify the Disney Corporation. He alludes to why decisions may have been made- providing b
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Lisa
Dec 28, 2012 rated it liked it
Info-wise, a terrific book, but the writing and organization are less than inspired. The author explains that the second section contains material that "does not fit comfortably" into the whole and so risks "the story to go off on interesting tangents and distract readers from the main thesis" (not that the book actually has a strong thesis or even makes a particular argument), but, in fact, all the material is germane and could be easily be integrated with the chapters before it. By the end of ...more
Patty
Aug 03, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: disney
A very dry, "just the facts" look at the history of the Song of the South, the controversy over its release and the lingering reasons it is still not available for home viewing in America. It has been almost 30 years since its last release, so I would have preferred that the story synopsis was closer to the beginning of the book. The remainder of the book is padded out with other moments of dark history and choices made by the Disney Corporation over the years.
S.
Apr 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book for learning some Disney history you might not learn anywhere else. Especially about the much maligned Song of the South, the work from which this work takes part of its title. I'd recommend this book to any fan of Disney or Disney history who doesn't mind looking under the rugs. In other words, if you prefer a vision of Walt Disney and his company as squeaky clean and never wrong, then this might not be the book for you, but otherwise you'll probably enjoy it.
Carrie Ann
Aug 11, 2014 rated it it was ok
These "forbidden" stories weren't even interesting. There's so much potential to explore writing about Song of the South but it in this book it reads like a very dry IMDB page. I still don't know how a movie Disney refuses to rerelease and has always caused controversy and strife for Disney was chosen as the subject of one of the major rides in the theme parks. This book shines no light on that conundrum or anything else.
Ron
Oct 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
I loved reading about things that Disney doesn't want us to know about more than the "racist issues" of The Song of the South. This book could have gotten a 5 Star rating if I didn't feel like I was reading entries from an encyclopedia. Just some general transitional statements would have made this very informative book even stronger.
Amber the Human
The book definitely makes a point for the movie to be released. Having seen it, it is definitely not a PC movie. But, as the book says, neither is Gone with the Wind. Of course, the Song of the South arguments are only half the book. The rest is interesting on its own, especially the chapter about The Emperor's New Groove.
Paul
May 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A fascinating telling of the story of one of Disney's most controversial films, telling the story of how it was made, its significance, and why it may never again be released. Jim provides great info on this and other stories Disney would rather not discuss, but does so even-handedly and intelligently. Bravo, Jim!
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“Song of the South was not a malicious attempt to reinforce the foolish stereotype of the inferiority of the black race, but rather an attempt to show that children of all races and different social statuses could play together as friends, learn important moral lessons from stories, and survive times of trouble by finding a place to laugh.” 1 likes
“There is a Japanese proverb that translates as 'the nail that sticks up gets hammered down.” 0 likes
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