When I started girding my loins for the package films after my viewing of Bambi – it appears to be very likely that Make Mine Music is the film that I had in the back of my mind. I originally saw this about 10 years ago when I decided to plug some holes in my Disney watching and my opinion then is the same as it is now – this is so incredibly uneven.
This is probably the most disjointed of the package films that Disney released to this point with there being 10 short segments, each linked to a different sort of music or musical performance. The benefit of this should be that, upon watching a poorer segment, there is always another segment coming up soon. However, at least for me, Make Mine Music really back ended the quality.
For me there are three segments that have really stood the test of time and are worth watching to this day – and these are the final three. First is ‘After You’re Gone’, which is a short jazz interlude in a Fantasia style. Then there is ‘Johnnie Fedora and Alice Bluebonnet’, a sweet love story of two hats as sung by the Andrew Sisters.
This leaves us with the final, and by far the best, segment of the film – ‘Willie the Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met’. It’s a bizarre story of a whale that can sing opera and dreams of stardom, the whole thing being sung by one opera singer who, through the magic of technology, sings part of it in three-part harmony with himself. This is probably the most famous of the segments, and rightly so – it’s a great short film in its own right.
Now let’s not forget the context that Make Mine Music was released in. The majority of the work was done during World War Two where most of the animators were either producing propaganda for the government or were actually off fighting. Disney also were starting to get into a more financially stable position, but it wasn’t quite at the point where they could get back to producing regular feature films.
So, with limited resources (in terms of headcount and finances) Make Mine Music was the film that they could make to tide over the feature film division. Plus, like with The Three Caballeros this actually turned a major profit – so Disney were just adapting with the times in order to stay in business, even if it hasn’t aged too well.