The Boys: The Sherman Brothers’ Story is an intimate journey through the lives of Robert B. Sherman and Richard M. Sherman, the astoundingly prolific, Academy Award®-winning songwriting team that defined family musical entertainment for five decades with unforgettable songs like “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocous” from Mary Poppins, “I Wanna Be Like You” from The Jungle Book and the most translated song ever written “It’s a Small World (After All)” from the Disneyland attraction.  The feature-length documentary, conceived, produced and directed by two of the songwriters’ sons, take audiences behind the scenes of the Hollywood magic factory and offers a rate glimpse of a unique creative process at work.  It also explores a deep and longstanding rift that has kept the brothers personally estranged throughout much of their unparalleled professional partnership.

Studio: New Line Cinema
Year: 2010
Release Date: October 5, 2010
Run time: 95 minutes
Rating: R

Audio: DTS-HD MA lossless 5.1 mix
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Disc Spec: 1 BD50 / 1 DVD
Region: A

At this time of year the Disney Home Video folks are trotting out reissues of films like Fantasia and new films like Santa Paws but hidden among there releases are three for the true “classic years” Disney fan. This is one of them and I can’t rave about it enough.

The Sherman Brothers wrote songs for 30(!) Disney films but they hits before that. Their first recorded song was by Gene Autry. Their dad, Al Sherman, wrote many hits in the 1920s for folks like Al Jolson and Eddie Cantor. Yes, though they wrote great together they were – in life – far from close to each other. That makes this film both a celebration of their music and a bittersweet – and often sad – picture of family relations.

The film was produced and directed by the sons of the two brothers – cousins who never met as they grew up. The Shermans were interviewed extensively over the years and these interviews are the core of the 90-minute film There are also great interviews by Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, Roy E. Disney and more.

The film did play in some film festivals but – even if you saw it – you need the DVD. There’s nearly 30 minutes of bonus interviews where they discuss, not only their music, but Disney co-workers like Roy Williams (cartoonist who also starred in The Mickey Mouse Club in the 1950s). And then there is the “Jukebox” feature which includes oddities like Eddie Cantor’s 1925 Deforest Phonofilm where he performs Al Sherman’s song.
Movie Content: 8/10

Special Features

  • Why They’re “The Boys”
  • Disney Studios in the ’60s
  • Casting Mary Poppins
  • Theme Parks – A look at their theme park music songbook and how they went about composing a song for a ride
  • Roy Williams – A Disney Animator and also famous for being on the original Mickey Mouse Club, we learn through his artwork some of the stories of what it was like to work in the Animation Building in the 1960’s
  • Bob’s Art:  A look at Bob Sherman’s other passion, his artwork
  • Celebration:  Testimonials from celebrities and Hollywood legends
  • Sherman Brother’s Jukebox:  A collection of Sherman Brothers songs and the stories behind them including: “Tall Paul”, “Chim Chim Cher-ee”, “Feed the Birds”, “There’s A Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow”, “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”

Special Features: 7/10

Final Thoughts

After watching “the boys,” you can’t help but wonder if maybe the friction between them and rubbing up against each other so often was an important part of their process in creating the “diamonds” we all have enjoyed and appreciated for the past five decades.
Overall Rating: 7/10