Saludos Amigos (1942)
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WWII had broken out, cutting off Disney's European market. In addition, striking cartoonists and their formation of a guild/union meant that the massive about of labor needed to create a "Snow White" or a "Pinocchio" now amounted to a substantially higher production cost then either of those two films (which had not been cheap to begin with).
Thus, Disney was trying to explore new ways to both package his product for another market, as well as develop new product.
They released this movie and capitalized on the then-popular South American craze. Now, however, it looks dated.
You can still it watch it though and see the genesis for several of Disney's later films: "The Three Caballeros" and the whole "How-To" Goofy series are the most obvious.
I know some will be shocked when they read this, but the fact is that the two feature films created as a result of this trip were pretty poor--mostly because they came off more like travelogues than the typical Disney film. IN addition, they simply are not fun and kids will hate them. Of the two, "Saludos Amigos" is the best--but it still is sub-par Disney. It consists of several shorts all released together instead of separately. Apparently Disney realized that the shorts had very limited marketability, so he had them bundled together and released. Imagine how sad people must have felt when they saw this dull stuff!
The first short involves Donald Duck in Peru. While it has a few moments, it comes off as a dull travel film and not much more. Then, the film switches to an odd and not particularly entertaining film about a tiny plane called Pedro. This really seemed to have little to do with Chile. Then, footage of Walt and his employees visiting the Argentine gauchos is shown--followed by a short featuring Goofy as one of these cowboys. It's a lot like the typical Goofy educational film and shows the differences between the American and Argentinian versions. This is probably the best short of the four in the film but once again, it's far from their best work. Finally, the film jumps to Rio where there is a lot of samba music and lots of footage of Carnival and the short "Watercolor of Brazil". The music is the same title music to the Terry Gilliam film "Brazil"--a film about as different from this Disney film as you could imagine. This short features Donald Duck and a new character, Joe Carioca--a talking parrot. Mostly you just see them dancing about to samba music and they don't have a lot of personality...or fun.
Overall, a pretty dull lot but made a bit better if you see the accompanying documentary. I certainly wouldn't recommend you rush out to see this.
Sadly, Saludos Amigos falls very short of "Disney classic" status. It is basically forgettable.
There are a few smile-inducing moments, but overall the piece really does feel like a "keep the Sudamericanos on our side against the Nazis" period piece from the WW2 era. It's strange to watch a movie made in 1943 with live action sequences of South America looking so peaceful and unaffected by the world's events. Sure, the region was less involved in WW2 than many other regions... but, it is still strange to watch.
Anyway, I'd sum it up thusly: 1. Worth buying if you are a Disney collector and 2. Worthy of note simply to see live shots of Buenos Aires, Lago Titicaca, and Rio de Janeiro, filmed almost 60 years ago.
Other than that, you can skip this one.
I am someone who really likes this feature (even though it is short). I love the scene with Jose Caricoa (sp?) where Donald can't pronounce his name. "Joe-say...". I would watch this at my old job at a video store every chance I got! I would recommend it to everyone, but since some people are not impressed with this feature I would suggest renting it first.
Overall very good!!!
This definitely is not the stuff Disney is famous for! However, the last segment, lovely titled 'Aquarelas do Brazil' makes the whole show worthwhile. It follows nothing less than the birth of the amazing José Carioca, a Brazilian parrot who'd go on to become one of the most famous Disney characters in South America! I fondly remember reading his adventures in comics as a child. The cartoon doesn't yet show Carioca with his characteristic traits, namely a mixture of tramp/conman figure who's always broke but always succeeds through luck and wit.
In 'Saludos Amigos' he's still in his infancy although one already sees his love for fun and folly. Priceless is watching him teach Donald Duck how to do the Samba and both hitting all the nightclubs in Rio de Janeiro bringing to life the exuberant life of the '40's Brazil! Also beautiful is the song 'Aquarela do Brazil,' which Terry Gilliam would later use in his masterpiece, 'Brazil,' which I've recently seen and made me reminisce about this long-forgotten piece of my childhood.
There are really only only four shorts, Donald a tourist, Goofy as a gaucho, Pedro the mail plane, and a piece set to the song Brazil that introduces Joe Carioca.
The real problem with this film is it just stops. Brazil ends and so does the movie. I know they say leave them wanting more but this is ridiculous.
This is a renter. The DVD box says its 75 minutes, but only if you include the short documentary, which is almost as long as the movie itself. If you and your kids like it, then buy it, but its too little to be throwing 20 bucks away on.
Yeah, I'm doing very well, indeed!
Why the Spanish? Because today, we are looking at the other 1942 Disney animated movie, "Saludos Amigos!" This is one of many 1940s Disney short cartoon compilations released into theaters. So, we see a few short cartoons that take us south of the border and in between these shorts, we see a travel agent telling us about the many places of Latin America and such.
Come to think of it, I actually remember seeing the last part of this on the Disney Channel back nine years ago from this month of writing this (yes, you DCOM fans, we forefathers had old stuff on this network back in the days of yore), and though I didn't get to see this movie in whole, I still thought that this was good, among many other Mickey and Friends movies.
"Saludos Amigos" - iSi! Diez estrellas (10 stars).
SYNOPSIS: Walt Disney and his artists tour South America, finding inspiration for four new cartoons.
NOTES: Plumb, Smith and Wolcott were nominated for an Academy Award for Best Scoring of a Musical Picture (won by Ray Heindorf for This Is The Army). The title song was nominated for Best Song (won by "You'll Never Know" from Hello, Frisco, Hello). C.O. Slyfield was nominated for Best Sound Recording (won by Stephen Dunn for This Land Is Mine).
COMMENT: Although the credit titles are at pains to point out that the travelogue portion of Saludos Amigos has been blown up from a 16 mm original, the photographic quality in the print under review (aside from a little jerkiness and under¬exposure) is excellent. The film is top-class too, with just enough background to introduce, separate and give added point and detail to the four cartoons. These four cartoons are each so richly detailed in characters and backgrounds, their humor is so wittily inventive and their craftsmanship so consistently stylish and imaginative, they must rank amongst Disney's finest achievements in the short-subject medium.
Adding to the enjoyment of their individual styles, the first three cartoons do have one amusing feature in common - a clever commentary (expertly delivered by Fred Shields) which often gently sends up or is mockingly at odds with what we actually see on the screen. The visual throwaway gags are sometimes so fast (like the diaper flying over Pedro's hangar) the films need to be seen more than twice to appreciate them all. (Leonard Maltin has provided a full account of these many delightful touches in The Disney Films, Crown Publishers, New York, 1973.)
The last cartoon, "Watercolor of Brazil", is the most visually original, providing a foretaste of the stunningly surreal style used more extensively in Disney's follow-up feature The Three Caballeros.
Although most enthusiastically received by critics and picturegoers on its initial release, Saludos Amigos has never been theatrically reissued in its original form. The four cartoons were somewhat sloppily scissored into separate short subjects and reissued in 1955 when Disney's output of regular cartoons started to run down. Fortunately, the complete film is still available.
Musically, Saludos Amigos is also a treat, with Donald tumbling through the Samba and jigging a llama with a Peruvian whistle, Goofy and his trusty steed hoofing a vigorous Dance of the Farmer's Daughter. The title tune is catchy enough, but heard only so briefly one wonders why it was nominated for Best Song in preference to the wonderfully emotive "Brazil"?
Nevertheless, it's pretty clear that this was made in some rush and with an extremely limited budget. All of the segments are brief, kind of rough and don't contain much of a story. All are also little more than tourist ads for various South American locations, which isn't as much of a problem as you would think, given that this was done by Disney, after all.
The first and the third segment, featuring Donal Duck and Goofy, respectively, are the two better ones in my opinion. Both heavily resemble the various Disney shorts made before this and in a good way. They're quick with jokes, the two characters are as entertaining as they've always been and as a whole I have nothing major against them.
The second segment, featuring Pedro, the littlest airplane, is the granddaddy of Pixar's whole Car franchise, and that's not a compliment. While the segment contains some of the nicest animation sequences in the whole film, and the various images are both threatening and cute, varying as the scenes demand, the main character is annoying, the story predictable and as a whole it's just painfully childish.
The last segment, featuring José Carioca, is not my favourite, but it's a fun little story about one crazed parrot introducing Donald to samba and various other Brazilian traditions. From what I've understood, José is still a popular character in South America, and I can see why. He has a lot of personality, funny hijinks with his whole "ladies love samba" gigolo routine and he works very well with Donald. The whole segment is painfully advertising, but at least we got a good character out of it.
Saludos Amigos is important part of Disney's legacy, because it was one of the films that allowed them to tide over the war years. It's not a very good film compared to Disney's usual fare, but I like that I've seen it.
SUCCESS IN THE third area of its reasons for existence were even more overwhelmingly effective than had been anticipated by anyone. The behind the scenes genesis of the film was an alliance between Disney and the United States Department of State. Presents us with a most perfect example of collaboration between the Private Sector and the Public in the form of the U.S. Federal Government, Roosevelt Administration.
UNLIKE MOST SUCH experimentations, this one worked and paid big dividends for both parties.
IN MMAKING SHORT work of a long story, the State Department underwrote a good will tour by Walt and a group of his artists, musicians and writers. The tour was of South America with stops in Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Chile and some others. The purpose was two fold. One being as a sort of bulwark against the growing fascination with Fascism on the Conytinent; with the other's being an extended junket by the Disney Company in discovering the customs, manner of dress, language, literature and music of the many countries and regions of South America. Both ends were highly successful.
THE SCENARIO FOLLOWS the real life tour of the Disney crew and uses the tour by airplane as the link between four animated segments. The first finds American tourist, Donald Duck, replete with faithful camera, visiting the Bolivia-Peru border at Lake Titicaca. The second finds a story very much like LITTLE TOOT (the tugboat); but has at its center a family of anthropomorphic airplanes whose job is to fly the mail over the Andes Mountains. The third examines how the Argentine Gaucho is the South American equivalent of the Cowboy of the Old West. Segment four brings Donald Duck to Rio de Janero in Brazil; where he meets and interacts with Portuguese speaking Parrot, Jose Carioca.
ONE FURTHER OBSERVATION which we found was regarding the format that they used in framing the individual story segments. As a central dramatic device, Disney chose that of the touring artisans being moved about the continent from one country to another their charter airliner; much in the same manner that the real tour did.
THE FICTIONAL MOVIE flight reminded us of our 4th grade geography book. In it one character "Peter Martin" was privy to his father's trans-global flight in which the two (along with us 9 year olds) visited all of the continents save for Antarctica.
THE GREAT STORY of behind the scenes story of SALUDOS AMIGOS and its sequel, THE THREE CABALEROS, is told in the 2008 documentary film, WALT & EL GRUPO.
Prior to US entry into World War II, the US Department of State got Disney to go on a goodwill tour of South America due to the popularity of Disney's characters in Latin America.Material gathered there was used to make this film, which proved to be sufficiently popular that Disney made a second film (The Three Caballeros) in the same vein.
At just over 41 minutes in length, this is just barely of feature length. Composed of live action footage and animation, it covers visits to the four countries of Peru, Chile, Argentina and Brazil. Each section of the film describes what the Disney artists found in each country as inspiration, followed by short animated sequences based on the visits. Brief live action/animated transitions of flights are used to lead into the sections.
The first animated segment, "Lake Titicaca", shows Donald Duck visiting Peru as a tourist and interacting with a boy and his llama. It's typical Donald Duck and is rather funny. The highlight is Donald and the llama crossing a suspension bridge.
The second segment, "Pedro", concerns a little plane named Pedro and his flight to carry the mail over the mountains in Chile. It's a fairly standard short of the "small hero faces adversity and wins through" variety and is the weakest segment, mostly because the other three are more entertaining. It's still fairly solid.
The third segment is Argentina and its gauchos. The live action footage of gauchos leads into a Goofy short, "El Gaucho Goofy" and it follows the pattern of other Goofy shorts. The best part here is the slow motion footage of Goofy in action at the tail end of the short.
The fourth and by far the best animated segment is "Aquarela do Brasil" ("Watercolor of Brazil") which is the most lushly beautiful animation of the film. Donald makes his return in this and it also introduces Jose Carioca. The animation starts out as a series of watercolor drawings which become animated and things morph from one thing to another. The animation is fantastic and the music is marvelous. Donald meets Jose, who is awed at meeting "Pato Donald" and takes Donald out to see the sights and to dance the samba. Thje segment is too short and leaves me wanting more.
This is available on DVD and is well worth watching. Recommended.
The four cartoons were all created by different directors and also work as stand-alone films. The first is about Donald experiencing South American in his usual slapstick fashion. We see his struggles with a llama and with dizzy heights. The second is about little mail plane who suddenly gets called to action after his parents suffer from high oil pressure. I found the ending a bit too melodramatic, but everything else about this short film is very good, possibly my favorite from the quartet. The third is another how-to short film featuring Goofy about how Argentinians/Gauchos live. I like especially the sports-related Goofy shorts, but this one did not do too much for me. Finally, Donald is back and meets a Brazilian bird. A fruitful collaboration as these two caballeros join two years later for "The Three Caballeros" with another bird not seen yet in this short film. Also, I would like to emphasize one scene, where a bee gets swallowed by a carnivorous plant, then transforms into Donald and spits out the bee again. This example that the bee is not just gone shows how family-friendly these cartoons were and really neglected the presence of death completely unlike animated films these days.
"Saludos Amigos" scored three Oscar-nominations in the music/sound categories, which is fairly uncommon for a short film looking at today's standards. It did not win an Oscar, but its success was probably one of the main reasons for the sequel. Worth a watch for cartoon enthusiasts or people interested in the history of South America. Lots of Latin music included here as well.
Basically, this movie is what Disney THOUGHT that it meant to build good relations with Latin America. A better way to do so would be to read Eduardo Galeano's "Open Veins of Latin America" (a Spanish-language copy of which Hugo Chávez gave to Barack Obama at a Summit of the Americas in 2009).
"Saludos Amigos" isn't as such a whole story, but four segments. In all honesty, they don't seem like much to make up a movie, and while the first three are cute and well animated, they seem more like the Disney shorts for television. The style doesn't seem cinematically distinct, like the Golden or Dark Age of Disney. It's lovely to look at and masterfully done; the movements and comedic timing are sublime, and the backgrounds are gorgeous. It just seems a tad less special than Disney's other works.
That is, until the last segment. Set in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, it is called Aquarela do Brasil (Watercolour of Brasil). It's beautiful, artistic and inspired. The music is wonderful, and it showcases the animator's talent and imagination. It seems like the whole movie was interesting tidbits, leading up to a really cool piece of animation. The flamingos, waterfall and toucan-bananas were really cool! Not only that, but now I know where that green parrot originated from. José Carioca, needs to be brought back. He's suave, has a sexy accent, and smokes cigars. I demand more José! Also, seeing Donald getting drunk and nabbing some booty is rather hilarious.
The segments include Donald and Goofy in all sorts of situations; Donald rides a grumpy llama at Lake Titicata, Goofy takes on the persona of an Argentinian gaucho. There's a sweet little short involving a plane named Pedro, who must deliver mail in Santiago. There is a few funny moments, such as when Donald and his llama get stuck on a bridge, or when he breaks the fourth wall in the fourth segment by using ink from José's outline to draw a silly stick figure. The educational aspects were pleasant, you can tell the animators had fun. It was neat to see Uncle Walt! Overall, "Saludos Amigos" is a passable little feature. It sports some decent and amazing animation, and introduces a cool character. It was genuinely interesting. I'm not sure if the information is outdated, but it show cultures of days gone by, and that is worth a lot. It's nothing amazing, but it's cute, you can see the effort put into it. It deserves to be checked out at least once.
This film looks more like a documentary than a classic Disney movie or cartoon short. It consists of both animation, which wasn't bad for its time, and live action scenes that includes Walt Disney and animators touring South American countries to learn about their cultures. Each live action scene serves as a lead-on to the animated short stories, which unfortunately aren't very captivating due to the lack of character personality, fun, comedy and charm. While unique, the film is not an attention grabber and children certainly wouldn't be able to sit through it. With the exception of Donald Duck and Goofy, much of the cartoon characters are forgettable.
Again, it is a unique Disney film entry, but falls short of entertainment. It won't hurt to skip over this one. If you're looking to watch a Disney "package" film with a little more excitement, I would go with Fun and Fancy Free and The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad.