January 3, 2003
While I was watching the DVD of Star Trek: Insurrection (the ninth movie, a.k.a. Star Trek Meets the Fountain of Youth) the other day. During the battle with the Son'a ships, Riker makes a reference to a movie most Americans have probably never seen: The Song of the South. (Specifically: "It's time to use the Briar Patch the way Br'er Rabbit did.")
When it was initially released in the '40s, the movie was denounced by the NAACP for perpetuating stereotypes about black people. Apparently the American re-release for its 40th birthday in 1986 met with similar reaction (I wouldn't know; I was 10 at the time). Disney has never released the movie in VHS or DVD format in the US.
It's a shame, really, because what little I remember from seeing the movie 16 years ago was good -- at least as good as other Disney movies from the time. It was also the first feature-length film to mix animation and live action.
Was the movie racist? I honestly don't know. I don't remember seeing anything like that, but I was 10 and not looking for things like that. If you're interested, you can find information at Song of the South.net.
Hopefully we won't have to wait until the 2370s to see this movie again.