Disney's sixth animated feature is a mix of live action and cartoons, in which old favourites Donald Duck and Goofy set off on a South American journey of discovery. Donald has trouble with a stubborn llama, Goofy tries his hand at being a cowboy, and their parrot friend Jose Carioca tours the sites of Rio de Janiero.
Although not one of the most well known of the Disney films this film is one of the classics and rightly so. It is not as long as a standard film, only 40 minutes but it is still as entertaining. The film is split into four main sections to tell four stories all about south America. The film was made in the early 1940's during the second world war as the war had cut off a lot of oversea markets and so this alonh with the feature "The Three Caballeros" was made to bring in some profit and to add to relations with South America. The first segment sees Donald Duck exploring Lake Titticaca and trying to get to grip with native traditions. The second segment sees Goffy as El Gaucho Goofy a sort of south american cowboy and he has to get to grips with his horse. In the next section, we see a story about Pedro the mail plane who has to brave the mountains in order to get the mail through. The final sequence is the first appearance of José carioca, a character who would go on to star in many more films and cartoons including "The Three Caballeros. He teaches Donald about the music of Latin America. The DVD comes with another theatrical film released to theatres a 30 minute documentary of the film was made with footage from the research trip. This film is known as a "Package Film" as it is made up from segments and was one of many released during the wartime as they were easier and cheaper to produce and they are often forgotten because they are"package films", but I have found that many of these films contain the best stories animation special effects and gags.
At little more than 40 minutes Saludos Amigos barely even qualifies as a feature film, although it was in many ways a pivotal development in the Walt Disney studio's output. Having taken a financial beating with the initial releases of Pinocchio, Dumbo and Fantasia and with the war closing off many foreign markets, Disney came up with the idea of compilation films, cost-effectively stringing animated shorts with a common theme that were originally intended to be released separately together with live action footage, enabling him to bring in proven box-office stars like Donald Duck and Goofy without the huge risk of full-length animated features.
Saludos was one of two films that came out of a trip the US government asked him to make to South America, ostensibly bringing a group of animators to look for inspiration on a goodwill tour as part of the Good Neighbor policy but also to gather intelligence to dissuade those neighbors from siding with the Nazis. In return, the government would underwrite the cost of the trip and give the ailing and strikebound studio federal loan guarantees so they could continue production. If the films were afterthoughts - and most look it - the format would stand him in good stead throughout the 40s and also act as a model for his later TV series Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color.
Combining mute 16mm color footage of Walt and the animators on tour, reconstructions shot at the airport and four animated shorts, it's unapologetically a glorified travelogue, with Donald even turning up as a tourist at Lake Titicaca underlining the guided tour nature of the film. Along the way we get to meet Pedro, a baby mail plane on the intimidating Andes run and see Goofy trying his hand a being a Gaucho, linked by animated maps tracing the animators progress. Unfortunately the grand finale is a huge letdown: it starts out well but quickly runs out of steam and imagination and fizzles out with the introduction of Brazilian parrot and bon vivant Joe Carioca before more or less just coming to an abrupt stop. Still, that didn't stop the film managing to garner three Oscar nominations in 1942 - Best Music Scoring of a Musical Picture, Best Original Song and Best Sound Recording - and was successful enough for Disney to follow it up with the much more ambitious and entertaining The Three Caballeros. (More recently the making of the film was the subject of the documentary Walt and El Grupo, which Disney have released on DVD in the US in a special edition that also includes Saludos Amigos in an uncut version - the US DVD release has long eliminated footage of Goofy smoking while leaving Joe Carioca's cigar intact!)
If the running time seems a bit on the short side, the DVD is padded out with the 31-minute 1942 newsreel documentary of the trip, South of the Border with Disney. The picture quality isn't great, which is unsurprising considering the source material, but it does include brief elementary pencil sketch animation of the characters that would turn up in both Saludos Amigos and Three Caballeros in different story ideas.
Christmas present for my nephew who has never seen this and HE LOVED IT ! I watched this asa kid back inthe states (and NOT in 1943 either) and I loved it too so I passed along the MAGIC to him. Between Goofy being, well, GOOFY and Donald's temper, you just can't go wrong if you want a good laugh and LEARN something as you go along. GREAT for a 6 year old!
This is Disney's 6th animated classic, although it's doesn't have the number 6 band on the spine, so if you need this look elsewhere. It does come with 100 Disney reward points. This is hardly a 'classic' more a live motion holiday planning documentary with a few unfunny cartoons included. Not really for kids and the quality is like VHS quality on an HD TV. The price has hovered around the £4 mark for the last three years of it's release time. You'll need this for your 50 DVD Disney set. There is a very interesting 30 minute bonus documentary of Walt Disney's team visit to South America.
my wife was collecting all of the disney classics and sadley she passed away november 2016 and she had only 4 classics to get and out of respect i bought the last 4 she wanted so thankyou for the disney classic dvd's.
Saludos Amigos was inspired by the Disney studio's trip toSouth America in 1941.... The movie includes some live footage showing Disney and his staff doing sketches during the trip. There are four main parts in the movie - Lake Titicaca (an under-average Donald Duck short), Pedro (a nice story about a mail plane), El Gaucho Goofy (a quite funny short where Goofy learns how to be a gaucho) and Aquarela do Brazil (where a brush paints the backgrounds as Donald Duck and a parrot called Joe Carioca visit Rio de Janerio). Saludos Amigos' running time just over 40 minutes which makes it Disney's shortest "feature". The picture quality and the colours are very well restored, though a scene where Goofy smokes a cigar has been deleted, which might upset Disney collectors.