You can’t really pin down the success and endurance of many Disney films to any one thing. But there’s an element that can’t be ignored here. The songwriting Brothers Sherman share considerable credit for the many a film’s appeal. Even if you’ve never seen one of their films, and it’s hard to imagine there is anyone who hasn’t, you do know many of the unforgettable songs from them. Just A Spoonful Of Sugar, Chim-Chin-Cher-ee, Let’s Go Fly A Kite, and, of course, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious from Mary Poppins alone. Add songs from Winnie The Pooh, Bedknobs And Broomsticks, and The Jungle Book. The melodies are simple but catchy. Once you get them into your head, it’s an awful chore to try to remove them. The Sherman Brothers are responsible for many of Disney’s famous melodies from most of the musical films. If Walt Disney himself came with a soundtrack, you can bet the Sherman Brothers would have written it, and you’d still be singing it today. The songs captivate children, but somehow even adults can’t seem to help but be enchanted by them.
The troubling fact is that these brothers were not as close as their 30-year partnership would suggest. Their families were always apart, and they almost never spoke to each other out of the office. The animosity went beyond simple sibling rivalry. It’s almost as if fate had forced them together completely against their will because there was just too much of a contribution to society to give here. The film is quite candid in covering the differences. The movie was made by one of each of their sons in an attempt to not only tell the important story but to possibly bring their fathers together in the last years of their lives. Well, they got half of what they were hoping to accomplish. The film tells a very compelling story indeed.
The film includes words from modern musicians and film historians. The brothers were pets of Walt himself, which led to them falling a little out of favor once Walt died. There was plenty of animosity toward them for having so much of Walt’s favor. They left the studio soon after without doing another project until their return for two films in the 1970’s.
Of course, the documentary is filled with the words and music of the duo. They are never seen together in interviews except during some vintage pieces taken from the past. It’s obvious that there is love between the brothers. They just don’t seem to like each other very much. It’s a moving piece to see, and I’ll be honest. It was a bit hard to take knowing how much these songs have moved the world. It’s the truth and the truth will out, or so I’m told. It doesn’t take away from the accomplishments, however. There are some rather nice moments in the film. That’s important, because as you know, “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.”