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Four-Star Films : ‘Dumbo’

This 1941 classic is probably the most lovable of the great Disney feature cartoons. Intended to recoup studio losses from “Pinocchio” and “Fantasia,” the modest film is an emotional movie, a portrait of the artist as a young elephant. Little Dumbo, whose outlandish ears isolate him from society, is cruelly torn from his mother, but his ears eventually carry him to the heights. Here, the virtuosity is almost casual--but Disney rarely matched or topped the surreal pink elephant nightmare ballet, or the character animation of Timothy Mouse, or the funky hoedown of Dumbo’s mentors, the jazzbo crows. (Since these crows are the heroes of the movie, it’s hard to understand why they’re often castigated as racist parodies.) (Disney Friday at 6 p.m.)

Other four-star films airing this week:

From Here to Eternity / Showtime, Monday, 9:45 a.m.

Death in Venice / Bravo, Monday, 8 p.m.

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Howards End / Disney, Tuesday, 11 p.m.

America, America / AMC, Thursday, 5:30 a.m.

Stagecoach / Disney, early Friday, 12:30 a.m.

My Darling Clementine / Disney, early Saturday, 12:30 a.m.

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