So Dear to My Heart
I watched this one when I first got the tape, and probably would have skipped it now except that I wanted to view all the Disney animated features in order. (I put this and other partially animated films on my list; some don’t.) It’s not really worth a second look … in fact, it’s probably not even worth a first look for most people, except the very young. I read somewhere it was one of Mr. Disney’s favorites of the films he made, because it was set in the rural Midwest in 1903, where he lived from age 4 (1905) to age 8. He always fondly remembered farms and small-town life, and that’s what this is about: A boy (Bobby Driscoll) raising his pet lamb to take it to the county fair. It’s a collection of incidents, most of them involving the pain-in-the-ass ovine ruminant wreaking havoc to an extent that he would have been lamb chops on the plate that very evening if it had been my farm. I just don’t have much empathy for livestock. Stupid animals. Beulah Bondi (who I remember fondly as Jimmy Stewart’s mother in It’s a Wonderful Life) plays the stern but soft-hearted granny, Burl Ives is the sympathetic uncle. I’m sorry to say he sings a lot, including that awful “Lavender Blue (diddley diddley).” No clue is given as to what happened to Ma and Pa. The three short animated pieces are up to Disney’s usual standards, very imaginative, and involve a wise old owl who comes to life in a turn-of-the-century Victorian scrapbook. Sorry, Walt, this is just not a very good film.