Bongo

From "Fun and Fancy Free"

Release Date : September 27, 1947

Synopsis

Bongo is a circus bear who dreams ofliving in the wild. He gets his wish ... but then learns that he has to prove himself.

Characters

Bongo

Credits

Animation
Art Babbitt
Narration
Dinah Shore

Video

United States
Walt Disney Mini Classics : Bongo
Fun and Fancy Free
Germany
Fröhlich, Frei, Spass Dabei
Micky, Donald und Goofy im Märchenland
Italy
Bongo e i Tre Avventurieri
Bongo

Laserdiscs

United States
Ben and Me / Bongo
Japan
Peter and the Wolf and Bongo
Bongo
Fun and Fancy Free

DVD

Germany
Frohlich, Frei, Spass Dabei
Italy
Bongo e I Tres Avventurieri

Technical Specification

Color Type: Technicolor
Animation Type: Standard animation
Sound Mix: Mono
Aspect Ratio: 1.37 : 1
Negative Format: 35mm
Print Format: 35mm
Cinematographic Process: Spherical
Original Language: English

Released by RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.

Comments

  • Released as half of the Disney feature, "Fun and Fancy Free"

From Ryan Kilpatrick at The Disney Film Project : Bongo is a character in search of a story, as best I can tell. The story told in this film is that of the circus bear who escapes, only to see that life out in the open is not as easy and carefree as he might have imagined. When he meets a female bear, Lulu Belle, however, that changes. Although he has to overcome some challenges for her affection, Bongo ultimately prevails and is able to win her heart.

It’s a very slight story that could honestly have been told in a 7 minute short, so seeing it stretched over 35 minutes is a problem. It’s kind of like spreading your peanut butter too thin. While you still get some peanuty goodness, in the end it’s not enough. Bongo is that kind of effort. There’s good stuff in there, especially the animation and some of the storytelling, but the overall story is lacking.

A couple of things that seem like they were put in the film to alleviate that problem actually tend to make it worse. The first is the narrator Dinah Shore, who handles all the dialogue for the characters. That leaves every character in the film silent, trying to act to Shore’s intonations. Unlike Dumbo, where the main character doesn’t speak but the others do, it makes every character reliant on the narration, and that lessens some of the impact.

The other thing that pads out the film is a grouping of songs. From “Lazy Countryside” to songs about the bears falling in love, the musical portions are very lengthy and although they advance the story nominally, they also slow it down considerably. Add in the fact that Dinah Shore sings all the songs, and you have one voice throughout the entire film.

This is not to say that the entire thing is bad. The character designs for Bongo and Lulu Belle are completely adorable. The acting between them and the emotion that the animators embue them with is fantastic, especially considering that they had no voice acting to cue them. Also, the gags in certain places are quite funny, even though many others don’t quite hit the mark.

In the end, Bongo learns that you need motivation to change, which comes in the form of Lulu Belle. But it’s very hard to connect to either he or Lulu Belle as characters, despite the great work that the animators do. It never gets to the point of boring, but Bongo drags a great deal, and makes it hard for the viewer to remain engaged with the characters.


From Baruch Weiss : This is another great short but the song "This is too good to be true" makes it worthwhile, as well as the other songs and the music. I also heard Goofy's famous yell.

Referenced Comments