Thursday, February 2, 2012

Disney Docs: Part 3, The boys: The Sherman Brothers' Story

Release Date: 2009
Production Company: Crescendo/Traveling Light
Directors: Jeffrey C. Sherman and Gregory V. Sherman
Run time: 101 minutes
Seen on: Netflix DVD, Encore Family
Recommended: Yes, you can see the creative process for iconic Disney songs
Rotten Tomato Rating: 89%

"Bob and I are two and a half years and about five eons apart."

"The Boys" tells the story of Richard and Robert Sherman, brothers and co-composers of iconic Disney songs such as "It's a Small World," "Spoonful of Sugar," and "Tiki Room".  The story is told by their sons Jeff and Greg Sherman who met again after 40 years of their fathers' estrangement.

Robert wanted to write the Great American Novel.  Richard wanted to write great symphonic masterpieces.  Fortunately life got in the way.  Their father had been a songwriter in New York for vaudeville stars.  He challenged his sons to create a song kids would send their allowance on.  After becoming songwriters independently, they started to work together despite their personal differences.

You should recognize their second song for Disney, "Let's Get Together" from The Parent Trap.  After the success of the song at Disney, Walt Disney gave the brothers a copy of "Mary Poppins" to see their input.  After hearing their song "Feed the Birds," Walt Disney invited the brothers to work at the studios.  The brother remember this day with tears in their eyes.  "That was the day."

The brothers worked together despite and perhaps because of their differing personalities.  Roy E. Disney says it best, "Bob is a little more 'Feed The Birds' I think, and Dick is a little more 'Supercalifragalistic.'"  Bob was thorough and Dick would have to for you in ten minutes.  Their method of creativity was conflict.

This doc was effective due to the close relationship between the directors and their subject.  They were able to reminisce with their fathers about their lives growing up.  The fathers were simply telling them stories, not necessarily being interviewed.  It broke your heart to see the wonderful music they created together professionally meshed with their personal estrangement.

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