Saludos Amigos - Disney Films Project
Saludos Amigos is the fourth film in our Disney Films Project and it seems to be one that not a lot of people today remember. It is a compilation film which means it is a collection of shorts that are put together to form a feature length presentation.
The idea behind this film is to have us follow Walt and his team of animators as they visit Latin America for inspiration. The story of their travels is woven in between the animated pieces. This trailer will give you a little taste:
The Wikipedia entry describes the movie as set in Latin America, it is made up of four different segments; Donald Duck stars in two of them and Goofy stars in one. It also features the first appearance of José Carioca, the Brazilian cigar-smoking parrot. Saludos Amigos was popular enough that Walt Disney decided to make another film about Latin America, The Three Caballeros, to be produced two years later. Saludos Amigos premiered in Rio de Janeiro on August 24, 1942. It was released in the United States on February 6, 1943. It garnered positive reviews and was only reissued once, in 1949, when it was shown on a double bill with the first reissue of Dumbo.
It's also worth noting that this film had a political purpose to help foster good relations with South America at a crucial time. Another excerpt from Wikipedia:
In early 1941, before U.S. entry into World War II, the United States Department of State commissioned a Disney goodwill tour of South America, intended to lead to a movie to be shown in the US, Central, and South America as part of the Good Neighbor Policy. Disney was chosen for this because several Latin American governments had close ties with Nazi Germany, and the US government wanted to counteract those ties. Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters were popular in Latin America, and Walt Disney acted as ambassador. The tour took Disney and a group of roughly twenty composers, artists, technicians, etc. from his studio to South America, mainly to Brazil and Argentina, but also to Chile and Peru.
So what did we think of Saludos Amigos?
Knowing the background of this project helped me appreciate it a little more, but it is not a favorite of mine. I don't mind the compilation format and I think it was interesting to see the scenes that inspired the animators. I actually would have enjoyed even more of that perspective. The animated segments were generally cute and fun. Nothing too cerebral here, just some cartoons. The intro to the watercolor segment at the end was very beautiful and artistic. I could have watched an entire film of that. It's fun to see touches of Mary Blair's style come through the film and those were the highlights for me.
With this being a 1940s film that caters to a foreign culture, I have to admit this was a little slow and boring for me to watch. I appreciate what they were trying to do, but it doesn't rank very high on my scale. I'm giving it 2 out of 10 Mickey ears for my rating. It might be more like a 1 and a half for me. I give it credit as an artistic endeavor, but I hope I don't have to watch it again any time soon!
Second opinion with Alex
I felt this film was somewhat slow for a package film, but the behind-the-scenes work really looks good. That said, there's a little too much in-between. I give this 3 Ears out of 10. There will be films I have more issues with, but this is pretty dull.
This was not my favorite film, but it wasn't too bad. It was interesting to watch for the artwork and to see the South American scenes. I'm giving it 2 out of 10 Mickey ears for my rating.
I have never seen any merchandise relating to Saludos Amigos on the Disney website or in any of the parks or stores. I'm sure there have been a few items in the past, but it's a pretty obscure film these days. I was surprised to find this Pedro plane plush on ebay listed for $24. I'm sure there's a collector somewhere who might be interested in it.
Well, I guess it's Adios Amigos for now!