Movie Review: Fun and Fancy Free

Fun and Fancy Free Trailer

Fun and Fancy Free Summary

Bongo

Jiminy Cricket first appears inside a large plant in a large house, exploring and singing “I’m a Happy-go-Lucky Fellow”, until he happens to stumble upon a doll, a teddy bear, and a record player with some records, one of which is Bongo, a musical romance story narrated by actress Dinah Shore. Jiminy decides to set up the record player to play the story of Bongo.

The story follows the adventures of a circus bear named Bongo who longs for freedom in the wild. Bongo is raised in captivity and is praised for his performances, but is poorly treated once he is off stage. As such, while traveling on a circus train, his natural instincts (the call of the wild) urge him to break free. As soon as he escapes and enters a forest, a day passes before his idealistic assessment of his new living situation has been emotionally shattered, and he experiences some hard conditions.

The next morning, however, he meets a female bear named Lulubelle. The two bears immediately fall in love, until Bongo soon faces a romantic rival in the brutish, enormously-shaped bear named Lumpjaw. Bongo fails to interpret Lulubelle slapping him as a sign of affection, and when she accidentally slaps Lumpjaw, he claims her for himself, forcing all other bears into a celebration for the “happy” new couple. Bongo comes to understand the meaning of slapping one another among wild bears and returns to challenge Lumpjaw. He manages to outwit Lumpjaw for much of their fight until the two fall into a river and go over a waterfall. While Lumpjaw is presumably swept away by the river and never seen again, Bongo’s hat saves him from falling down, and he finally claims Lulubelle as his mate.

Mickey and the Beanstalk

This segment is narrated by Edgar Bergen in live-action sequences, who, with the help of his ventriloquist dummies Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd, tells the tale to child actress Luana Patten at her birthday party, with Jiminy listening in after having read an invitation shortly after the previous story ended.

A jovial countryside land called Happy Valley, kept alive at all times by a singing harp, is suddenly plagued by a severe drought and falls into turmoil and depression after the harp is stolen from the castle by a mysterious assailant. After weeks pass, there are only peasants remaining, the story then looks into three of the peasants : Mickey, Donald, and Goofy. The trio have but just one loaf of bread and a single solitary bean to eat. During this time, Mickey has no choice but to cut the bread into paper-thin slices for the three friends to eat. Driven insane by his hunger, Donald goes into a rage, complaining that he cannot stand it anymore. He makes a sandwich out of plates and silverware, but Mickey and Goofy stop him and manage to calm him down. He then sees an axe and attempts to kill their pet cow for beef with said axe, but Mickey and Goofy manage to stop him again. Mickey then decides to sell the cow for money to buy food.

Goofy and Donald are excited about eating again and begin to sing about delicious dishes (to the tune of Funiculi Funicula) until Mickey comes back and reveals that he sold the cow in exchange for a container of beans that are said to be magical. Thinking that Mickey had been tricked, an enraged Donald throws the beans down the floor, and they fall through a hole. However, it turns out that the beans are truly magical after all as later that night, the light of a full moon causes a beanstalk to sprout from under the house and lift it far up into the sky.

The next morning, Mickey, Donald, and Goofy find themselves at the top of the gigantic beanstalk and in a magical kingdom of enormous scope, where they appear to be tiny creatures compared to their surroundings. They eventually make their way to a huge castle, where they help themselves to a sumptuous feast. There, they stumble across the harp locked inside a small box, and she explains that she was kidnapped by a “wicked giant”. Immediately after, a giant named Willie emerges from the shadows, grunting angrily while simultaneously breaking into a happy song (“Fe Fi Fo Fum“) and bouncing a ball about while demonstrating his powers of flight, invisibility, and shapeshifting.

As Willie prepares to eat lunch, he catches Mickey hiding in his sandwich after Mickey sneezes when Willie pours pepper onto the sandwich. Mickey tries to run away, but Willie catches him. Mickey then plays palm reader and gains the childish giant’s trust. Willie offers to show off his powers, and Mickey, spotting a nearby fly-swatter, requests that he change himself into a fly. However, Willie suggests turning into a pink bunny instead, and as he does he sees Mickey, Donald, and Goofy with the fly-swatter. Angry, Willie captures Mickey, Donald, and Goofy and locks them in the harp’s chest so as to keep them from pulling any more tricks.

In order to escape, Mickey must find the key and rescue his friends. He does so with the help of the singing golden harp, who begins singing Willie to sleep. Mickey almost alerts Willie to his presence by sneezing after falling into a box of snuff powder in Willie’s pocket, but the same powder makes Willie sneeze and he loses sight of Mickey. Mickey frees his friends and they make a break for it with the harp. However, Willie wakes up from his sleep and spots them, giving chase all the way to the beanstalk. Mickey stalls him long enough for Donald and Goofy to reach the bottom as they begin to saw down the beanstalk. Mickey arrives just in time to finish the job of sawing down the beanstalk, and Willie, who was climbing down, falls to his apparent death.

Back at Edgar Bergen’s home, he finishes his story, saying that with the return of the harp, Happy Valley returned to prosperity. He then cheers up Mortimer Snerd who was crying about Willie’s death, saying that Willie was a nice giant who did not deserve to die. Just as Edgar says that Willie is a fictional character and not real, Willie himself appears, alive and well, tearing the roof off his house. Willie inquires about Mickey’s whereabouts, but Edgar faints in shock while Mortimer tells Willie goodnight. The scene closes with Jiminy leaving the house into the night and Willie noticing the Brown Derby restaurant and putting it on like a hat before stomping off to find Mickey, with the HOLLYWOOD lights blinking in the background.

Fun and Fancy Free Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A fun anthropology film for kids and parents.

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