If the average intellect of the movie going public is really that of a twelve-year-old, the latest Disney picture is meat for all. Outside of the antics of Bongo the Bear, "Fun and Fancy Free" is an unfortunate collection of talking goldfish, precocious beanstalks, and puerile platitudes; a collection that might keep a nursery school kid on the edge of his tricycle; but will certainly tip over no Oscar's.
By this time, you probably know the yarn of the circus bear who ran away and discovered a Law of the Wild that Jack London must have missed: bears make love with a slap. Bongo's understanding of bearish tactics grows through many rounds of grizzly fistienffs, and he finally learns that to court his love, he must make with a right to her muzzle. Add some good tunes to his slaps, and the result is tops. Clumping about in a Northwoods that would make a lumberman's mouth water, Bonge and the bears paw one another sufficiently to reach anybody's funnybone. Scenes of bears winding through a rough and tumble square dance to the yells of a hillbilly caller, and slapping their sweethearts against a background of valentines and fir trees, are all bright-eyed Disney.
But Bongo winds up his slapping all too soon. As the Northwoods twilight sends Bonge packing, the last gleam of comedy also dies, and the remainder of the picture is unbearable--in both senses. Edgar Bergen spins a new version of Jack and the Beanstalk, but while the beanstalk flourishes nicely, Bergen's tale doesn't. The reason why Bongo was cut short probably stems from Hollywood's fronetic fear of Communists; but it seems too bad that the witch-hunt has finally extended to make-believe hears.