Director: Norman Ferguson
Stars: Edward Brophy, Herman Bing, Margaret Wright, Sterling Holloway, Cliff Edwards
Dumbo is one of the saddest movies of all time, so it's perfectly normal that its target audience sits below the age of 13. The awkward, big-eared baby elephant, whose bullies call him "Dumbo" instead of his real name, "Jumbo Jr.," embodies the outcast in all of us, with all our social anxieties. When Dumbo's mother is captured, he blames himself (this is why a lot of people need therapy). But, of course, this is a Disney movie, and Dumbo comes to terms with himself. He also gets his happiness back thanks to Timothy Q. Mouse and champagne that's spilled into his water. Yeah, champagne is what makes him fly (this is why a lot of people are alcoholics).
Rather than simply being a kid's movie, this early Disney feature is a great piece of art. Dumbo is a silent character, often portrayed as the unwilling clown, a la Buster Keaton, while the characters move about him and often pick on him. Despite being considered only a "filler" movie for Disney, Dumbo's poignant message about outcasts makes it a must-watch animated flick. —TA