Dumbo, 70th Anniversary, Blu-ray (1941/2011)
Studio: Disney Blu-ray + DVD 103022 [9/20/11]
Video: 4:3 or 16:9 with Disney-View side extensions
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 derived from original mono track, DD 2.0 restored soundtrack, French & Spanish 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Extras: Audio commentary track, Cine-Explore Experience, Deleted scene: “The Mouse’s Tale,” Deleted song: “Are You a Man or a Mouse?,” “The Making of Dumbo,” “The Magic of Dumbo,” “Celebrating Dumbo,” Art galleries, Two shorts: “The Flying Mouse,” “Elmer Elephant,” Sound design excerpt from “The Reluctant Dragon,” Original Walt Disney TV introduction, “What do you see?” – scrambled images game, “What do you know? – trivia game, more (many of these also on the DVD disc)
Length: 64 minutes
All I remembered from childhood was it was about a flying elephant. At least I got the main point right. Dumbo won two Academy Awards in 1942 for Best Music and Best Scoring of a Musical Picture. The general message is about friendship and believing in yourself, in common with many animated films aimed at youngsters. The courageous baby elephant is aided by his friend Timothy Mouse in rising from a frowned-upon member of the circus to its huge star via using his amazing big ears to soar to fame. The animation is echt-Disney and a delight. The various other characters are also well-done, including the other lady elephants, the hip crows and the circus clowns.
The color really jumps out at you in this glorious restoration which was probably possible due to the film having been shot in Technicolor, so the colors hadn’t faded over the 70 years. They couldn’t find any of the original sound materials so they used the mono soundtrack of one of the rare prints of the film to create the 7.1 DTS surround tracks. So don’t expect immersing surround effects, but at least it’s not scratchy or distorted-sounding. The extras seem endless, which partially makes up for all the previews you have to slog thru to get to the feature. (At least now it allows you to use the Skip button to skip thru them—didn’t in the past…)
If any recording is essential to the genre, this is it.