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, with an average rating of 6.3/10. 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 feature the popular radio vocal group, The 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 two 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 Bluebonnet tells the romantic story of two 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 three 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.
The Talents of
- Nelson Eddy - Narrator; characters (The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met)
- Dinah Shore - Singer (Two Silhouettes)
- Benny Goodman - Musician (All the Cats Join In/After You've Gone)
- The Andrews Sisters - Singers (Johnny Fedora and Alice Blue Bonnet)
- Jerry Colonna - Narrator (Casey at the Bat)
- Andy Russell - Singer (Without You)
- Sterling Holloway - Narrator (Peter and the Wolf)
- Riabouchinskaya and Lichine - Dancers (Two Silhouettes)
- Pied Pipers - Singers
- King's Men - Singers
- Ken Darby Chorus - Singers
- Main article: Make Mine Music (video)
Make Mine Music was originally released on laserdisc in Japan on October 21, 1985. The Japanese laserdisc is completely uncut and often sells for over $100 as a result. No unedited release has been scheduled in America.
Make Mine Music's sole home video release in the United States 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 '80s and '90s. 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 butt size to make it less vulgar. No other release has been scheduled.
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 15, 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.
The film's limited appearance on home media format makes it the rarest in home video availability of all the animated films in the Disney Animated Canon, though "Song of the South" and "Victory Through Air Power" which are animation/live-action hybrid films not part of the Disney Animated Canon, do have very limited home video availability like this film (Music Land) in contrast, is the rarest of all, as it was never released on home video.
In Disney Parks
- The Peter and the Wolf segment 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.