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A movie directed by Ben Sharpsteen

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Dumbo - a great teaching tool by Disney

  • Feb 12, 2003
  • by
Pros: that darling face and wonderful ears

Cons: none

The Bottom Line: .........

This classic Disney movie has always been one of my favorites because even though it is fully animated it is directed at adults. After all, what child [God forbid] would ever understand the Pink Elephant theory in this movie? Beautifully animated, Dumbo was one of Disney’s shortest and least expensive movies.

Looking to the skies
Seems is it birthing month at the traveling circus and the storks are flying to and fro, dropping their bundles of love into each cage, sometimes multiple bundles for some expecting mommies. Yet, Mrs. Jumbo, although she constantly searches the skies, sees no little bundle of joy drop in her lap.

Her poor stork's burden is heavier than the others, and besides I think he might be a bit wayward in his duties. It takes him a while longer to show up with his delivery. Of course, this might reflect back on the idea that elephants take longer to deliver than regular folk.

Finally the day arrives, and so does Dumbo. Could there be a cuter elephant? Personally I loved those great ears and besides I just knew that someday he would grow into them.

Evil old ladies, bratty boys and Momma in prison
You will defend your young, no matter what they do. It is simply a natural thing for a mother. However, Dumbo really does nothing wrong. He simply has big ears which become the laughing stock for the nasty old lady elephants and the bratty boys in town. Momma defends her babe, attacks the ringmaster, and ends up in solitary confinement for her efforts.

Dumbo is alone and cut off from the rest of the community of elephants because, heaven forbid, he is now playing the part of a clown. The lowest form of life in the circus apparently. Coming to his rescue is Timmy, a mouse, who sees nothing wrong with his beautifully large ears naturally.

If you just try harder, you can achieve any goal
Timmy becomes Dumbo’s conscience, as is often the case in Disney movies. Generally we find it is a smaller creature that leads the mighty hordes to greatness. Timmy gives Dumbo the one thing he did not have, confidence, and Dumbo becomes a success both personally and professionally.

DVD Extras - The people behind the scenes and the voices speaking out
Released in 1941 this was a visual masterpiece. Dumbo never speaks throughout the movie yet you never have one minute you don’t understand his feelings. The most vocal in the movie were Timmy by Edward Brophy and the nasty Elephant Matriarch by Verna Felton.

The DVD is wonderfully done with a great commentary telling the background of each animator and the growth of the movie. Some of the animators were with Disney their entire lives and worked on many of his projects. A lot of the work was adapted from old German ideas for animation, which gives the delightful fluidness to each character in the movie.

They often spent hours filming real livestock to get each nuance of their movements so they could adapt them to paper. Remember, this is 1941, each piece was hand drawn with loving care. Ain’t no computers sitting in the background for these guys and when they say they are graphic artists here, that means they are truly artists.

A delightful music video of Baby Mine is done by Michael Crawford but he's no phantom here. Flashes go back to the movie during the song making it more enjoyable.

The movie won Best Music Scoring at the 1942 Academy Awards and Best Animation Design at the 1947 Cannes Film Festival. Betty Noyes supplied the voice for the soulful song Baby Mine which was nominated for Best Song in 1942 but didn’t win.

I’m simpatico
Nothing is as powerful as a mother’s love. Nothing more pure and complete. This transfers throughout this movie with never a word spoken. In the same light, teaching children that although they are different than the norm doesn’t mean they are any less the person.

The story provided tells them that they can overcome that difference and learn to use it to their advantage. Not allow the singleminded people they meet in their life determine how their life will turn out. Powerful lessons to be learned there for child and adult alike.

For classic Disney, you can't beat this movie. Pure and pure of heart, open yours.



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More Dumbo reviews
review by . May 05, 2005
posted in Movie Hype
Pros: Wonderful animation, great story for the kids     Cons: Age hasn't been kind to the film quality     The Bottom Line: If Dumbo isn't already in your collection, add it now.     Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie''s plot. Confession: I'm 32 years old and I haven't seen Dumbo.     With that out of the way, I figured it would be a good time to watch it with my kids ages 2 and 5. Needless …
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About this movie


Deceptively simple, beautiful, moving, and hilarious, DUMBO is often overlooked when considering Disney's greatest films because perhaps of its lack of extravagance, its brief running time, and its simple story. Baby elephant Jumbo Jr. is delivered by the stork to his elephant mom with much fanfare but soon receives a cold shoulder from the snobby female pachyderms and the rest of the circus due to his oversize ears. When his mother goes on a rampage in order to protect him from some snickering rubes, she winds up locked away. Dumbo is left without a friend in the world until the street-smart Timothy Mouse decides to become his manager and a telephone line full of delightful jive-talking crows convince him he can fly. Highlights include Dumbo accidentally getting drunk and experiencing the surreal musical sequence "Pink Elephants on Parade" and a soundtrack packed with such priceless songs as the Oscar-winning "Baby Mine" and the crow's soulful number, "When I see an Elephant Fly." There's nary an imperf...
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Director: Ben Sharpsteen
Release Date: 1941
MPAA Rating: G
DVD Release Date: Buena Vista Home Entertainment (October 23, 2001)
Runtime: 1hr 4min
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