I’ve returned with a new decade in the Disney Vault. The nineties saw Disney churning out film upon film, so it’ll take almost all summer for me to get through this decade. The Rescuers Down Under was the first Disney sequel (and one of the few, for several years, to see a theatrical release). Unfortunately, Disney’s sequel to the 1977 The Rescuers is a misfire that doesn’t benefit, nor does it do anything for, the characters established in the first Rescuers film. The movie capitalizes on the nineties love for Australia and environmentalism, and slaps “the Rescuers” on the box; a work of art for the Disney CAPS system (and the flying sequences are lovely), but don’t go into this expecting to see further adventures from Bernard and Bianca.
The final three films in the Four Days with Jane series show the good, the bad, and the ugly! High School and Rascals are Jane at her madcap best, with the edge going to the latter. The final one, The Farmer Takes a Wife, is a Jane Withers film in name only as the movie is really a leading vehicle for Janet Gaynor and Henry Fonda. Unfortunately, this was the worst of the bunch and could have benefited from being released separately. Overall, one downright bad movie is fine in a set of seven with the remaining six worth watching!
Day 2 in the Four Days with Jane series, and we see another set of movies dealing with the immigrant experience, and spirited teenage hijinks. These two see Withers getting older, with the latter being the actresses’ solid foray into young adulthood. Once again, one is better than the other, and each have their individual merits.
The next four days will be devoted to the films of actress Jane Withers. Why, do you ask? A) Because I got a mess of her movies that I want to review and B) because the reviews lead up to my full interview with the star. (I feel pretty proud to have nabbed an interview at all). Since her movies generally run an hour or so, and because the Fox Archive DVDs lack any bonus content, I’ll be doubling up on reviews. The first two movies spotlight Withers at her youngest, and poise her as a tangible Shirley Temple substitute (of which Withers said she never wanted to be). Let’s kick off Four Days with Jane – I just came up with that – with Little Miss Nobody and Paddy O’Day.
Meet Me in St. Louis came highly recommended to me due to its place as a musical classic, and because it’s got the downright angelic Margaret O’Brien who I praised heavily in my Christmas review of Little Women. So, as I tend to do with blogathons, I used my contribution to cross a recommendation off my list. I won’t sugarcoat it: I have A LOT of crow to eat….read on.