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Director: ?
Release Date: May 27, 1948
Rating: ★★★½

Pecos Bill © Walt DisneyThe last sequence of ‘Melody Time‘ is framed by the sentimental ballad ‘Blue Shadows’, sung by country & western singer Roy Rogers and The Sons of the Pioneers.

After a while, we see them sitting in a cartoon-style prairie, accompanied by two children. The boy asks Rogers why the coyotes howl at the moon, which prompts him into telling the tall tale of Pecos Bill, his horse Widowmaker and his love interest Slue Foot Sue.

Although it only becomes funny after several minutes, the story itself is quite good, the highlight being the part where the cowboys sing of the mighty deeds of Pecos Bill, who singlehanded creates the Gulf of Mexico, the Rio Grande, the gold in the hills and the painted desert.

Unfortunately the cartoon is rather slow-paced and accompanied by mostly dull country & western music, preventing it of becoming a real classic. Disney would tell other tall tales from American folklore, in ‘Paul Bunyan‘ (1958) and ‘The Saga of Windwagon Smith‘ (1961).

Watch ‘Pecos Bill’ yourself and tell me what you think:

Directors: Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Jack Kinney, Hamilton Luske
Release Date: May 27, 1948
Stars: Donald Duck, Joe Carioca, The Aracuan Bird
Rating: ★★

Melody Time © Walt DisneyMelody Time’ is a compilation film in the same vein as ‘Make Mine Music’ (1946).

It consists of seven unrelated episodes, connected by a voice over and an animated brush. The songs of these sequences are sung by popular artists, who, except for the Andrews Sisters and Roy Rogers, are all but forgotten today. Even more obviously than in ‘Make Mine Music’, these songs are clearly designed for the cartoons, instead of the other way round, like in ‘Fantasia’ (1940). In any sense ‘Melody Time’ is a far cry from that latter film, and the most interesting feature of this film is not the animation, but the film’s beautifully stylized backgrounds, especially in ‘Once upon a Wintertime‘ and ‘The Legend of Johnny Appleseed‘.

The sequences themselves are mediocre, often slow and only moderately funny at best. Luckily, Disney would soon return to real features, for ‘Melody Time’ shows that the studio’s compilation features had outstayed their welcome.

Melody Time consists of the following episodes, which I will discuss in more detail, elsewhere:

  1. Once upon a Winter Time
  2. Bumble Boogie
  3. The Legend of Johnny Appleseed
  4. Little Toot
  5. Trees
  6. Blame it on the Samba
  7. Pecos Bill

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