14 August 2008 | hunter-203
Why is this film invisible?
Yes, the original Smokey is a classic, now almost a period piece. I'm almost 70 (February 1939), and believe I saw this movie on the week it was released. I think it was my first movie.
Yes, it's a beautiful, memorable, and sad story, especially when you're that young. I cried like I did with Bambi, but for this and a number of other reasons -- not the least of which are Fred McMurray's strong lead, Burl Ive's great renditions of what I believe are some of our most authentic American folk songs (e.g., "The Blue Tail Fly"), and Smokey a beautiful horse for a lasting concept of character that bonds independent loving humans to independent loving animals -- it compels me to ask who, having seen it, could ever forget it?
Does 20 Century Fox keep masters even when they're succeeded by remakes? If so, I'd sure like to get my hands on a copy of the original. Having Googled and Cuiled for this information without any success on and off over the past year and a half, I was beginning to wonder if there might not be other intentional reasons for this film's disappearance.
Conceivably, as it was produced in the '40s, the original Smokey may have contained language or stereotypes now recognized, rightly or wrongly, as politically incorrect. I may have been too young to recognize anything of this kind. More likely, Burl Ive's, like so many folk collectors, scholars and performers, was once blacklisted by Congress, the movie industry, and other witch hunting institutions because of alleged associations with "communists." Is the movie industry trying to protect us from our/their past? On the other hand, if the film's disappearance is, in fact, a casualty of such black listing or attempts at social engineering, it deprives us from seeing, and remembering, ourselves as we once were. In this case, the original Smokey needs to be re-released for its historical import at least. It is an American original.