Same with Pinocchio, Dumbo was made pretty much between the start and the middle of World War II so even making it was a bit of a gamble but despite that, they still went ahead with it and created a film with a fantastic story on friendship, drama and courage that has a powerful message. In a way, Dumbo is like an original film adaptation to The Hunchback Of Notre Dame because they are both based on a character with deformity but who have big hearts too. The Elephant Man is another film that is linked with both of those films. I absolutely love films like them. Dumbo is perhaps the first heartbreaking Disney film that will make you cry with the drama especially in the "Baby Mine song and it is also a very heartwarming and feel-good film that will make you shed a tear with joy whilst you're watching it.
The story follows circus whose animals are expecting new born offspring of their species. There are lions, elephants, hippos, zebras etc. The story starts with a group of female elephants. All of them have had their babies except Mrs. Jumbo. One day, her baby elephant arrives and at first it appears to be a normal baby elephant but after a sudden unexpected sneeze the baby's ears were absolutely enormous. They were almost bigger than his whole body. Instead of a name like "Jumbo Jr." most of the elephants except Mrs. Jumbo decided to call the baby "Dumbo" which is really cold and mean. As Dumbo was growing up in the circus, he began to think that his ears would make his life be nowhere. Dumbo doesn't speak at all but by seeing body language and the way he is I can tell how he feels. That changes when he meets Timothy the Mouse who is not only a companion to Dumbo but also a mentor and a friend. The friendship between them two is a lot like Jiminy Cricket and Pinocchio's friendship. Timothy is a very loyal and kind mouse because he sticks with Dumbo every step of the way. There is a tragic moment in the film that becomes very heartbreaking but is beautifully filmed and written. That is during the "Baby Mine" song. That scene is one of the most emotional things that I have ever seen. After this tragedy that happens, Dumbo meets four birds who think that he could fly with his large wings. He attempts it and does it. He goes back to the circus and succeeds. So, Dumbo figures that his ears weren't a disease to him but they were a gift or a blessing.
The film was designed as an economical feature to help generate income for the Disney studio after the financial failures of Pinocchio and Fantasia in 1940. The studio income was negatively impacted due to the war. When Dumbo went into production in 1941, supervising director Ben Sharpsteen was given orders to keep the film simple and inexpensive. As a result, Dumbo lacks the lavish detail of the previous Disney Classics (Fantasia, Pinocchio and Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs): character designs are simpler, background paintings are less detailed and a number of held cels (or frames) were used in the character animation.
Overall, Dumbo is a both heartbreaking and heartwarming Disney Classic that will live for eternity! Perhaps not as sophisticated as Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs or Pinocchio but still an awesome classic! It is magical, inspiring and a well-filmed picture that I absolutely love and appreciate for what it is.