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Scary Disney: Dumbo: The Roustabouts, The Crows and the Pink Elephants

by Sara Sparrow 2 years ago in movie review
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Walt Disneys version of Dumbo, the frightening moments

Dumbo, the flying elephant with incredibly large ears is a classic film with a few little flaws that will always stay in your memory. In a circus in Florida all the mothers receive their babies from the storks, Mrs Jumbo, receives a small baby with large ears who her friends mock. They tease him and call him Dumbo because of his large ears but Mrs Jumbo ignores this and loves him for who he is. One day at the circus a group of children bully Dumbo to which Mrs Jumbo becomes enraged and hits one of the children. The ringmaster calms her down and has her locked up. This saddens Dumbo who later on finds a mouse and becomes friends with him. Timothy Mouse cheers him up and they get drunk together. They wake up in a tree the next morning and come across a flock of crows who encourage Dumbo to fly. Dumbo perks up and they go back to the circus, he performs an act and stuns the world and becomes the most famous elephant in the world. His mother is let out of the cage and Dumbo flies high, free and happy. A few scenes in the movie leave us thinking, what was Walt thinking?

1. The Roustabouts

2. The Crows

3. Pink Elephants on Parade

1. The Roustabouts

In the beginning scenes of the movie the elephants are helping faceless workers build a tent for the circus. As catchy as the tune is, some of the lyrics of the song are just plain terrible.

We work all day, we work all night

We never learned to read or write

We’re happy-hearted roustabouts

When other folks have gone to bed

We slave until we're almost dead

We’re happy-hearted roustabouts

We don’t know when we get our pay

And when we do, we throw our pay away

Now why would you want to sing that about yourself? I guess back in the 40’s people thought nothing much of this, but now this falls under racial stereotyping which upsets a lot of people and causes controversy. A child watching this is totally passive enjoying the music and visual effects, but as you grow up you realise how terrible the lyrics actually are. The words really do speak for themselves.

2. The Crows

Speaking of racially stereotyping, the four crows who help Dumbo fly again fall under the African-American stereotype. Their leader Jim Crow, is a reference to the Jim Crow laws which brought strong criticism over the depiction of the crows. However the other half of the internet say that the crows are only stereotypical, not racially stereotypical. Personally, I’m on the fence between the two, yes, it is stereotypical, yes its racist, but how else are they supposed to be portrayed? You can’t deny that when I see an elephant fly is a classic song. It is one of Disney's most controversial and racist moments.

3. The Pink Elephants on Parade

The one frightening part of the film is no doubt the pink elephants on parade scene. Its strange enough an elephant and a mouse get drunk together. Its stranger that an elephant and a mouse did get drunk together. When I was young I remember thinking, what on earth am I watching? How has this gone to Dumbo crying over his mother from being locked up to him getting drunk? I found it scary and intriguing at the same time. The whole sequence is creepy and psychedelic. Those creepy black eyes and that smile.

Even this little elephant is scared.

This is just plain weird.

movie review

About the author

Sara Sparrow

Diagonally parked in the universe.

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