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With: Edgar Bergen, Luana Patten, Dinah Shore, Cliff Edwards, Walt Disney, Clarence Nash, Pinto Colvig, Billy Gilbert, Anita Gordon
Written by: Homer Brightman, Harry Reeves, Ted Sears, Lance Nolley, Eldon Dedini, Tom Oreb, based on a story by Sinclair Lewis
Directed by: Jack Kinney, Hamilton Luske, William Morgan, Bill Roberts
MPAA Rating: G
Running Time: 73
Date: 09/27/1947

Fun and Fancy Free (1947)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Hill of Beans

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Struggling with finances during and after WWII, Disney put together a few cost-cutting movies designed to keep things afloat. Fun and Fancy Free (1947) was a combination of two shorter cartoons that had originally been planned as feature films. Jiminy Cricket (voiced by Cliff Edwards) shows up, telling people not to worry so much and enjoy life. He puts on a record of Dinah Shore singing and narrating the story of Bongo, a unicycle-riding circus bear who escapes and tries to live in the wild. He must fight off a bully to win the heart of a cute girl bear. It's nice, but not particularly memorable. Then we get the great Mickey and the Beanstalk, which is framed (and sometimes interrupted) by a live action segment featuring ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and his puppets Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd telling the story to a little girl (child star Luana Patten, who had been in Song of the South). Mickey Mouse (voiced by Walt Disney), Donald Duck (voiced by Clarence Nash), and Goofy (voiced by Pinto Colvig) are the poor farmers who must rescue the magic harp from the giant and restore life to the land. The scenes of the hungry trio splitting up thin slices of bread and a single bean always crack me up. Overall, Fun and Fancy Free feels slapped together and not very coherent, but it's worth seeing for the Mickey cartoon.

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