photo manipulation by nacrowe
as a young kid, no other DISNEY film scared the shit out of me quite like DUMBO (1941). the whole idea of being estranged from your family by a bunch of evil circus freaks set out on exploiting you and making you do crazy shenanigans against your will was just too much to process back then. even viewing it as an adult i can't believe they got away with showing underage drinking and racist blackface caricatures, wait actually the later part i can believe. this is the same company that put out SONG OF THE SOUTH (1946) and WALT DISNEY himself was quite the walking contradiction himself, on one hand nurturing a reputation for wholesomeness while on the other being one of the lead proponents in HOLLYWOOD of RED SCARE propaganda and MCCARTHYIST misadventures into purifying the entertainment industry, with all of its antiemetic connotations intact. this is the same MISSOURI transplant that took inspiration from JOEL CHANDLER HARRIS's reimagined racist slave narratives and basically white-washed them for commercial consumption. but i digress.
i'm not one of those people that share the criticism of DISNEY films for their routinely used plot trope of breaking up the nuclear family through death, estrangement or otherwise (see BAMBI, CINDERELLA, THE LION KING, FINDING NEMO, etc). i'm fine with that since in the end the films are about seeking connection with the greater community and establishing a surrogate family. its uplifting. but man the existential dread i experienced as a child watching DUMBO get drunk after watching his mom sing goodbye to him still makes me emotional. most depressing scene of all time. easily.
i really hate you WALT DISNEY for making me love this film so much.