Movie Review: Dumbo (1941)

Dumbo (1941) Trailer

Dumbo (1941) Summary

Released on October 31st, 1941 to recover the flop Fantasia was, Dumbo was inspired not only from a prototype of a novelty toy but of the Barnum and Bailey Circus. Dumbo begins with a flock of storks (Sterling Holloway) delivering baby animals to their mothers in the circus. One of which is Mrs. Jumbo (Verna Felten). The baby elephant was named Jumbo Jr. but was quickly nicknamed Dumbo for his giant ears and clumsiness. 

When a storm comes, the elephants have to help set up the circus tents and then parade through town when they are done. Dumbo being clumsy, ends up tripping into a muddy puddle. As Mrs. Jumbo is washing Dumbo, a group of boys was bullying him. Mrs. Jumbo loses her temper and is locked away is deemed mad. Dumbo is shunned by the other elephants when Timothy Q Mouse (Edward Brophy) finds him and appoints himself Dumbo’s mentor and protector.

With encouragement from Timothy Q Mouse, the ringmaster (Herman Bing) makes Dumbo the star of the circus and top of the elephant pyramid. Dumbo ends up falling, having all the other elephants crash and injure themselves. The ringmaster made Dumbo into a clown but he was miserable and hated his job. To cheer Dumbo up, Timothy took Dumbo to visit his mother but that ended up with Dumbo crying and hiccuping. Timothy leads him to water, unknowingly drinking a mix of champagne that the clowns spilled into it. 

Being drunk, Timothy and Dumbo have hallucinations of pink elephants. They wake up in a tree and quickly fall into a lake. Timothy had concluded that Dumbo must’ve flown using his large ears, he gifts Dumbo with a “magical” feather. Timothy asks the crows (Cliff Edwards) to help convince Dumbo he can fly again. 

They return to the circus where Dumbo is used to perform a stunt on the higher platform, he jumps and loses his feather, Timothy quickly tells Dumbo the truth about the feather and that Dumbo can fly. He flies over the crowd, who is amazed. The media had a field day and Dumbo was once again the star of the show. The Ringmaster gave Dumbo and Mrs. Jumbo their car on the circus train while Timothy Q Mouse is his new manager.

Dumbo (1941) Review

Rating: 3 out of 5.

While Dumbo is a classic ad a family film, it can be hard to watch due to the bullying of Dumbo. Yes, Dumbo is a cartoon character but so many are in the same situation in real life.

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