California Split (1974) and Dumbo (1941)

3 Sep

I’m not going to go into great detail about California Split here, but let’s talk for a moment about Dumbo:

Dumbo-disneyscreencaps_com-5974about the black crows in Dumbo;

what you gonna do sheetabout the racial implications of those crows, lost on many modern viewers but the first thing that comes to the mind of a drunken Charlie (Elliott Gould), coupled with the racial implications of the song “(Rufus Rastus Johnson Brown) What You Goin’ to Do When the Rent Comes ‘Round?” sung repeatedly by Bill (George Segal) throughout;

California_Split_9about the coupling of these different references to minstrelsy with a movie that culminates in a game of craps, a major part of the imagery of many minstrel songs, acts, and stereotypes;

dumbo-03about the magic feather those black crows from Dumbo provided for the titular elephant, a placebo that let him do something he could already do on his own if he only had the confidence – fly in “The Biggest Little Show on Earth” –

dumbo03almost like the white elephant Charlie and Bill rub for luck in Reno, the Biggest Little City in the World,

Reno_archuntil Dumbo realizes he doesn’t need the feather any more than Bill needs Charlie…

cal-split4who spins the chuck-a-luck alone at an empty bar to the lovely lounge stylings of Phyllis Shotwell singing, what else,

California Split 4

“Bye Bye, Blackbird.”

Huh. Dumbo.

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