I'm trying for variety on this blog. If I didn't, the first four months would probably all be obscure foreign language horror films not very easy to find in the US. It's merely a coincidence that both Catalog Recs are from the 1940's.
Catalog Rec: Dumbo (1941) Say what you will about some of the characters in the film (the crows are tricky to discuss), Dumbo became one of Disney's most popular and successful animated films. Bonus trivia: Dumbo was supposed to be on the cover of Time Magazine in December 1941 for being the highest grossing film of the year, but was bumped at the last minute due to the bombing at Pearl Harbor.
The film is a sweetly told fairy tale about the power of family, friendship, and overcoming adversity. The story itself is a creative idea written in a layered way to appeal to a wide age span. Young children will enjoy the story about an elephant that learns to fly, while more mature viewers can appreciate the sincerity of the characters (particularly Mrs. Jumbo's character arc) and the subtle wordplay in the lyrics. The film manages to capture a darker side of the circus industry without intimidation. Except for those Pink Elephants on Parade. That's just disturbing. Very clever, but disturbing. See for yourself:
Someone had to write that. That's an achievement in itself. I have to recommend revisiting Dumbo if you get a chance. It's surprisingly sophisticated for a 62 minute animated film about a flying elephant. Plus the music is great.
I only have it on VHS, though you can probably find the Big Top Edition at most stores still. It will probably be a few years before Disney pulls out all the stops and does a great 2-Disc edition with this film.