Dumbo

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Dumbo (1941)
Directed by Ben Sharpsteen
Produced by Walt Disney
Written by Joe Grant
Dick Huemer
Starring Edward Brophy
Verna Felton
Cliff Edwards
Herman Bing
Sterling Holloway
Margaret Wright
James Baskett
Nick Stewart
Hall Johnson Choir
John McLeish
Music by Frank Churchill
Oliver Wallace
Distributed by Buena Vistas Pictures Distribution
Release date(s) October 31, 1941
Running time 64 min
Country USA
Language English
Budget $950,000
Gross revenue $1.3 million

Dumbo is a Walt Disney animated film, first released in 1941.[1][2]

The film is about Jumbo, Jr., a young circus elephant nicknamed "Dumbo" due to his huge ears. Despite ridicule and humiliation by the circus' elephants led by the Matriarch (Verna Felton), crew, guests and of course the Ringmaster (Herman Bing), and with the help of a talking mouse named Timothy (Edward Brophy) and a group of talking crows led by one named Dandy Crow (Cliff Edwards), Dumbo discovers that he can fly using his giant ears, and becomes the star of the circus.

There are a few easter eggs in the film: the circus is named "WDP", acronym for "Walt Disney Productions", there is also a reference to the 1922 silent horror movie Nosferatu when Timothy Q. Mouse sneaks into the sleeping Ringmaster's tent at night and a pair of references to World War II in the main song of the film sung by the jazzy and sympathetic crows "When I See An Elephant Fly" ("I heard a fireside chat") and at the end of the film on the journals of the time reporting Dumbo's flying ability and huge success. The crows personalities and mannerisms are inspired by famous black musicians, singers and entertainers of the time, like Cab Calloway, Louis Armstrong and the Jackson Brothers (Freddy and Eugene), and 4 of the 5 crows in the film (Specks, Fats, Dopey, Deacon) are voiced by actual black actors and singers members of the Hall Johnson Choir (Nick Stewart, James Baskett, Jim Carmichael, Hall Johnson). The leader crow is voiced by Cliff Edwards (also known as "Ukulele Ike"), who gained popularity in 1940 for voicing Jiminy Cricket, Pinocchio's conscience, and singing the iconic and immensely popular main song "When You Wish Upon A Star" (became also the official anthem of The Walt Disney Company since then) in Walt Disney's classic animated film Pinocchio, and continued to voice the iconic cricket character until his death in 1971. In addition, the opening scene (showing the circus' "Winter Quarters") is a nod to Venice, Florida, where John Ringling lived and where his circus would actually relocate during the winter.

A "woke" live-action remake/retelling/reimagining directed by Tim Burton was released in early 2019, showing a more human-centered story than the 1941 film. However, it did not do well at the box office and was largely given poor ratings either by critics and public compared to the 1941 classic.

References

  1. https://catalog.afi.com/Catalog/moviedetails/26684
  2. https://d23.com/a-to-z/dumbo-film/