During World War II, much of Walt Disney's staff was drafted into the army, and those that remained were called upon by the U.S. government to make training and propaganda films. As a result, the studio was littered with unfinished story ideas. In order to keep the feature film division alive during this difficult time, the studio released six package films including this one, made up of various unrelated segments set to music. It is the third package film, following Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros. It received mixed to positive reviews, though its first segment,The Martins and the Coys, was panned by critics due to its overuse of violence. Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reports that 67% of the critics gave the film a positive review based on 9 reviews. The musical director was Al Sack. The film was entered into the 1946 Cannes Film Festival.
This particular film has ten such segments:
- The Martins and the Coys features popular radio vocal group, King's Men singing the story of a Hatfields and McCoys-style feud in the mountains broken up when two young people from each side fall in love. This segment was later cut from the film's US video release due to comic gunplay, although the film's UK video release has the segment intact and uncensored.
- Blue Bayou features animation originally intended for Fantasia using the Debussy musical composition Clair de Lune.
- All the Cats Join In is one of two segments to which Benny Goodman contributed. An innovative shot in which a pencil draws the action as it is happening, and in which 1940s teens are swept away by popular music. The US video release has a scene from the segment digitally altered to shrink the lead girl's bare bust size for censorship purposes.
- Without You is a ballad of lost love, sung by Andy Russell.
- Casey at the Bat features Jerry Colonna, reciting the famous poem by Ernest Thayer, about the arrogant ballplayer whose cockiness was his undoing.
- Two Silhouettes features 2 live-action ballet dancers, David Lichine and Tania Riabouchinskaya, moving in silhouette with animated backgrounds and characters. Dinah Shore sings the title song.
- Peter and the Wolf is an animated dramatization of the 1936 musical composition by Sergei Prokofiev, with narration by actor Sterling Holloway. A Russian boy named Peter sets off into the forest to hunt the wolf with his animal friends: a bird named Sasha, a duck named Sonia, and a cat named Ivan.
- After You've Gone again features Benny Goodman and his orchestra as four anthropomorphized instruments parade through a musical playground.
- Johnny Fedora and Alice Bluebonnett tells the romantic story of 2 hats who fall in love in a department store window. When Alice is sold, Johnny devotes himself to finding her again. The Andrews Sisters provide the vocals.
- The Whale Who Wanted To Sing At the Met is the bittersweet finale about a sperm whale named Willie with incredible musical talent and his dreams of singing Grand Opera. But short-sighted impressario Tetti-Tatti believes that the whale has simply swallowed an opera singer, and chases him with a harpoon. Nelson Eddy narrates and performs all the voices in this segment. As Willie the Whale, Eddy sings all 3 male voices in the first part of the Sextet from Donizetti's opera, Lucia di Lammermoor. In the end, Willie is harpooned and killed, but the narrator softens the blow by telling the viewers that he sings on in heaven.
- Main article: Make Mine Music (video)
Make Mine Music's sole home video release was on VHS and DVD on June 6, 2000 under the Walt Disney Gold Classic Collection title. Before, two of its segments were released on home video individually with addition cartoons added to them in the 80's and 90's. This release is edited to remove "The Martins and the Coys" in it because it has "graphic gunplay not suitable for children", and "All The Cats Join In" had an edit to shrink the lead girl's bare bust size to make it less vulgar. No other release has been scheduled.
Make Mine Music was originally released on laserdisc in Japan on October 21, 1985. The Japanese laserdisc includes all the cuts made to the VHS/DVD versions. No unedited release has been scheduled in America.
European Region 2 DVDs also include the unedited feature, but was not released in the United Kingdom, making it the only classic unavailable at the time. It was finally released in the UK for the first time on DVD on July 15th 2013, containing the uncut version.
It is the only film in the Disney Animated Classics canon never to see a release on Region 4 DVD in Australia.
In Disney Parks
- Peter and the Wolf is featured as part of the Disneyland Paris version of the Storybook Land Canal Boats
- Casey at the Bat is represented in the parks with Casey's Corner on Main Street, U.S.A. in various parks and one of the *Boardwalk games at Disney California Adventure
- Willie the Whale appears in a queue poster at Mickey's PhilharMagic.