Tear Jerker / Dumbo
Baby Mine, don't you cry...
- The "Baby Mine" sequence, with Dumbo's mum barely able to reach her baby with her trunk through the bars of her tiny cage, is heartbreaking.
- The music alone is beautiful.
- It doesn't help that they mix Dumbo not being able to be with his mom with scenes of all the other baby animals being rocked to sleep by their mothers.
- There's a reason animation historian Michael Barrier has praised this sequence—the emotions in the scene are so real, you can't help but share your sympathy with Ms. Jumbo and Dumbo.
- It's a famous enough tearjerker to became the subject of a gag in another movie. In Steven Spielberg's 1941, one of the characters (General Stilwell) goes to see Dumbo in theaters, 1941 being the year the film came out. There's the inevitable scene of him crying when "Baby Mine" starts.
- The fates of unmanageable elephants back in those times and the very real possibility that Mrs. Jumbo knows this. If things hadn't worked out the way they did, these could have very easily been their last moments together.
- The end of the sequence, when Dumbo and his mother are forced to part ways, and hold onto each trunks until they can't anymore. He waves goodbye even as he's walking away, and she in turn races around to the other cage window so she can wave just a little longer.
- The establishing shot of Casey Jr slowly pulling the circus train through a nightly rainstorm after Dumbo's destruction of the big top: While not even slightly comparable to the above in terms of sadness, it can be interpreted as a realization that the circus has been dealt an enormous blow, remembering the terrible damage caused inadvertently. It can also be viewed as a foreshadowing of the tear-jerking scenes to come as Casey (or the chorus) hums a few mournful bars.
- Right after Mrs Jumbo is locked, Dumbo comes over to the other elephants who block him out! They really deserved to be scared by Timothy!
- The movie in general is a true tearjerker because it shows Dumbo being mistreated and humiliated for having big ears. It goes From Bad to Worse as he was later separated from his mom for trying to protect her son. This movie can bring back unpleasant memories of being mistreated for being different, parent separation, and rejected by people. Sure, he has a happy ending but still...
- A minor, but important one: Timothy calls the crows out for ridiculing Dumbo, noting how Dumbo's been ostracized for his ears. During the speech, each crow sheds a tear. Being patterned after black stereotypes (aka Jim Crow, the leader's name), they probably sympathize with Dumbo because they also know what discrimination is like.
Timothy: You ought to be ashamed of yourselves. A bunch of big guys like you, picking on a poor little orphan like him! Suppose you was torn away from your mother when you was just a baby. Nobody to tuck you in at nights. No warm, soft, caressing trunk to snuzzle inta. How would you like to be left out alone, in a cold, cruel, heartless world? And why? I ask ya, why?! Just because he's got those big ears, they called him a freak! A laughingstock at the circus! And when his mother tried to protect him, they threw her in the clink. And on top of that, they made him a clown! Socially, he's washed up! Oh but what's the use of talking to you cold-hearted birds? Go on ahead. Have your fun. Laugh at him! KICK HIM NOW THAT HE'S DOWN! GO ON!! ...We don't care.
- Before Dumbo's mother is locked away, everyone - the other elephants, the boys in the circus - laughs at and ridicules Dumbo for his ears. He's just a baby. Plus the fact that he doesn't comprehend the jeering - being a baby, probably not even knowing what condescension and mocking and sadness is - and laughs along and wiggles his ears, and they laugh at him more...