A mysterious thief has stolen the prosperous Happy Valley's most prized possession: the musical Singing Harp. Can Mickey, Donald, and Goofy find the answer in the irritable Willie the Giant's magnificent castle up in the blue sky?
Disney version of fairy tale "Jack and the Beanstalk", featuring Mickey, Donald, and Goofy in the main roles. Also contains another short film, re-released as "Bongo".Written by
Tim Pickett <email@example.com>
Edgar Bergen and Dinah Shore were cast in the film to increase its audience appeal. Bergen had become famous for regularly being featured in the popular radio show "The Chase and Sanborn Hour" from 1937 to its end in 1948. Shore also owed part of her fame to radio, since she was a featured singer in several radio shows. By the time the film was released, Shore was expanding her activities to performing for the record market and already had some significant hits. See more »
During the bear chorus line with bears arm in arm (31 minutes into the feature), which arm is in front changes a few times. See more »
After WWII, the Walt Disney company released a couple feature films that were actually nothing more than a few long cartoons strung together to feature length. The result were movies like this one as well as "Make Mine Music" and "The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad" which are essentially movies that seem a bit disjoint, as the theme that links the shorts is tenuous at best. Here, "Fun and Fancy Free" is a vague term and really has nothing to do with the cartoons. In addition, the quality of the two cartoons is quite different.
The first cartoon, "Bongo", frankly is awfully lame. Despite having some nice splashy colors, the story is weak and should have supported an 8-10 minute film--not a short running over a half hour. Plus, so much of the film seemed like filler--with LOTS and LOTS of singing from Dinah Shore and others. It's the story of a miserable circus bear who longs to be free. But, when a chance opportunity occurs and he escapes, life in the wild isn't as easy as he expected. Apart from a few cute characters (including a girl bear--you can tell because she has a flower growing out of her head), there isn't much to recommend it. I assume kids of the day really were bored by the cartoon and its watchability is not great. I'd score this one a 4---mostly because the animation is pretty good.
The final cartoon is the one kids will love, as it features Mickey, Donald and Goofy. Oddly, however, unlike the first cartoon, this one features a lot of live-action--with Edgar Bergen and his puppets entertaining a cute little girl with a Disney-fied version of "Jack and the Beanstalk". In this version, the three heroes take on the mean giant--wonderfully brought to life by the voice of Billy Gilbert. While it's clearly a variation of an earlier Disney film ("The Brave Little Tailor"), it still is very watchable and cute. Not a brilliant film, nevertheless it actually makes "Fun and Fancy Free" worth seeing. Plus, fans of Edgar Bergen will enjoy seeing him and his characters. I particularly enjoyed Charlie's 'Udder failure' comment. I'd give this one an 8.
Overall, it's a highly uneven and odd hodgepodge that, frankly, is not especially great viewing. However, the accompanying documentary about this, "The Story Behind Walt Disney's Fun & Fancy Free" is a lot more interesting than the film itself--so if you get the DVD, be sure to watch this in the special features.
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