Disney Animated Features
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Release Date: 23 October 1941
The movie Dumbo is one of the shortest of the Disney Animated Features, coming in at only 64 minutes. Despite its short running time, however, it's still an excellent film.
The story, based on a book by Helen Aberson, tells the tale of a young circus elephant named Dumbo. His mother, Mrs. Jumbo, originally named him Jumbo, Jr., but when the other elephants saw his gigantic ears, they dubbed him "Dumbo." His anomalous ears made him a target of much ridicule, both from the other elephants and from the guests at the circus. His mother is imprisoned when she goes on a rampage after a guest mercilessly teases her baby.
That leaves Dumbo with only one ally, a mouse named Timothy. Timothy determines that those big ears of Dumbo's allow him to fly like a bird, but Dumbo doesn't believe it. A "magic feather" convinces him, but when Dumbo loses the feather in mid-flight, he must search within for the ability to fly.
Dumbo earned one Academy Award, for Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture. It also had one song, "Baby Mine," nominated for Best Music, Song.
While nothing spectacular or groundbreaking, Dumbo was a solid, modest success, which was a change for the Walt Disney Company after Pinocchio and Fantasia. It reenergized Disney's commitment to animated features, but alas, World War II, which the U.S. entered less than two months after this film's release, put many of his plans on hold.
Information for the Disney Animated Features series of nodes comes from the IMDb (www.imdb.com), Frank's Disney Page (http://www.informatik.uni-frankfurt.de/~fp/Disney/), and the dark recesses of my own memory.