Tuesday, January 21, 2014


 RELEASE DATE: Saturday 27th May 1933

SYNOPSIS: The classic childrens' story given the Disney magic. The well-known story has the three pigs building three houses: one of straw, one of sticks and one of bricks. When the Big Bad Wolf appears, he blows down the first two houses, but when he gets to the strongly-built brick house he cannot blow it down.
Many consider this to be the most successful animated short ever created. It was phenomenally successful when first released, due in no small part to the catchy ditty "Who's Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf" that accompanies the film. What appears to be a very simple song actually grew to have a much larger life of its own. Considering that in 1933 the world was well into The Great Depression, many people used the pigs' song as an anthem of sorts, with the "wolf" being the Depression. Then a number of years later, people would sing the song again, indicating that the "wolf" was Adolf Hitler and his Nazi party,

The Three Little Pigs is considered an all-time Disney classic cartoon.

IRVYNE: From the movies we've watched so far, this is the first one that has dialogue, where the characters are speaking to each other. You can easily see the progression of animation as Disney's artists got better and better at their craft. The characters are really great, each one individual from the others. In keeping with the company's insistence that music play a big part, each of the pigs plays an instrument. The first pig plays a flute, the second plays a fiddle, and the third is a pianist - a pig after my own heart.

HAKU: You can also see the background artists having a bit of fun. Check out the paintings on the third pig's wall! I also loved that EVERYTHING in the house is made out of brick, even the piano.

IRVYNE: Now, this film had a bit of controversy attached to it. When the wolf gets to the third house, he puts on a disguise to sneak his way in. The thing is, he dresses up as a stereotypical (and some would say, offensive) Jewish peddler. Legend has it that the original dialogue was pretty racist, and the Disney team actually reanimated the scene with new dialogue, turning the peddlar into a salesman of Fuller brushes. (An internet search tells me that in the 1930s and 40s, Fuller brush salesmen were all over the country, constantly knocking on doors and trying to sell brushes)

You might notice that when the wolf says "I'm working my way through college," the lip sync doesn't match. That's because the original dialogue (even AFTER the re-animation of the character) was "I'm the Fuller Brush Man! I'm giving a free sample!" but because it was said in a stereotypical Yiddish accent, it was redubbed afterwards.

It all seems pretty silly and harmless, but this is basically the Jewish equivalent of "black-face," and many people found it offensive, leading to a theory that Walt Disney himself was anti-Semitic. It does seem a bit racially insensitive, but we have to remember that the world in which this cartoon was made was a very different place. We shouldn't censor history, we should learn from it.

All up, I think the Three Little Pigs is a very entertaining little film, and one that definitely deserves to sit among the classics.

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