Disney Marathon: ‘Saludos Amigos’


It’s time to return to the Disney Package films, a short series of films that involved the Disney animation office being flown to South America to study Latin culture and bring that inspiration to the USA. It was seen as a way of fostering positive relations between the US and its southern neighbours…and hopefully they’d join the war effort.

For those just joining us, this is a movie marathon with a twist. Myself (cranky 30s blogger), my son Josh (stoic 10 year old Nintendo obsessive) and my daughter Amelia (drama llama 7 year old princess wannabe) are watching Disney movies in a random order and ranking them. We hope to see interesting differences in how we organise our lists.

Film: Saludos Amigos

Released: 1942

Director: Norman ferguson, Wilfred Jackson, Jack Kinney, Hamilton Luske, Bill Roberts

Cast: Clarence Nash, José Oliveira, Walt Disney, Lee Blair, Mary Blair, Pinto Colvig, Norman Ferguson, Frank Graham, Fred Shields, Frank Thomas

Plot: We follow Disney Animation of a trip to South America and watch their experiences inspire new short animations featuring new and classic characters.

Review: It was a mistake to have watching this one after The Three Caballeros, and it’s lacks the sequels high energy and experimental style. It’s certainly a slower affair, with the opening live action scenes dragging to the point that the kids were getting fidgety. We know that for context this would have been the first time many viewers of the time had seen another culture and some of the fauna, but modern audiences have had more global experiences. Seeing a llama isn’t going to have the same effect these.

The animation has more of an educational bent than the follow-ups, which makes for less fun and more outdated fashions and practices. The most blatant of these is ‘El Gaucho Goofy’, Goofy arrives as a representation of the USA and turned into a native through costume and activities. ‘Aquarela do Brasil’ is a city symphony of sorts as José Carioca is created by an artist and takes Donald Duck on a scenic tour of South America.

One segment that works as more of a stand-alone segment is ‘Pedro’, about a young plane who ventures out on his first solo mail run. It’s a simple and fun little cartoon that is…fine. It’s not especially memorable, but it’s fine. The same can be said for the first segment, ‘Lake Titicaca’, which involves Donald and a pissy llama. You can guess how it works out.

As said before, this is the weaker of the two South American ‘package’ movies. We don’t have Panchito Pistoles, we don’t have the show stopping musical numbers and we don’t have the experimental animation that showcased a cartoon duck getting horny for human women. The Three Caballeros has some real skippable sequences, but it’s the recommended watch. Saludos Amigos makes for an interesting slice of animation history due to the on-screen appearance of famed Disney animators, but that’s it.

Weirdest Trivia: A scene in ‘El Gaucho Goofy’ features Goody smoking a cigarette, and Disney just doesn’t know what to do with it. It was cut out when the film went to home video on VHS and DVD. Later released DVD versions restored it upon request from film historians.

Wikipedia tells us that the Disney+ release again cuts the scene contrary to rating advice concerning tobacco use and the disclaimer that it is shown in its original version. This might be the USA version though, because Goofy was smoking up a storm when we watched it.

Rating: THREE out of TEN

THE RANKING

ME

I can’t imagine rewatching this. There’s better versions of the same concept. We can’t even have a fun singalong!

Click those titles if you want to see what we said about the other movies.

  1. Zootopia
  2. Robin Hood
  3. Aladdin
  4. The Nightmare Before Christmas
  5. Wreck-It Ralph
  6. Alice in Wonderland
  7. Beauty and the Beast
  8. Moana
  9. Big Hero 6
  10. Frozen
  11. Tangled
  12. The Sword in the Stone
  13. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
  14. Mulan
  15. Emperor’s New Groove
  16. Fantasia
  17. Ralph Breaks the Internet
  18. The Three Caballeros
  19. The Princess and the Frog
  20. Hercules
  21. Oliver & Company
  22. The Aristocats
  23. Saludos Amigos
  24. Dinosaur
  25. The Fox and the Hound
  26. A Goofy Movie
  27. Treasure Planet
  28. Chicken Little

AMELIA

Amelia enjoyed a few segments, but gets bored during the live-action. It peaked their interest to point of Walt Disney in person, as he has a somewhat mythological mystique, but it’s only the animation that appeals to her.

  1. Frozen
  2. Emperor’s New Groove
  3. Zootopia
  4. Moana
  5. The Nightmare Before Christmas
  6. Mulan
  7. Hercules
  8. Alice in Wonderland
  9. Wreck-It Ralph
  10. Tangled
  11. Dinosaur
  12. The Aristocats
  13. The Princess and the Frog
  14. Robin Hood
  15. Beauty and the Beast
  16. The Three Caballeros
  17. The Fox and the Hound
  18. The Sword in the Stone
  19. Saludos Amigos
  20. Oliver & Company
  21. Aladdin
  22. Treasure Planet
  23. Big Hero 6
  24. A Goofy Movie
  25. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
  26. Chicken Little
  27. Fantasia

JOSHUA

It’s not terribly surprising that Josh packaged the two movies together, agreeing that this is the weaker of the two.

  1. Zootopia
  2. Big Hero 6
  3. Aladdin
  4. Emperor’s New Groove
  5. Treasure Planet
  6. Moana
  7. Ralph Breaks the Internet
  8. The Three Caballeros
  9. Saludos Amigos
  10. Wreck-It Ralph
  11. Frozen
  12. Mulan
  13. The Princess and the Frog
  14. Robin Hood
  15. The Sword in the Stone
  16. Beauty and the Beast
  17. Oliver & Company
  18. Tangled
  19. A Goofy Movie
  20. The Aristocats
  21. Fantasia
  22. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
  23. The Fox and the Hound
  24. The Nightmare Before Christmas
  25. Dinosaur
  26. Hercules
  27. Alice in Wonderland
  28. Chicken Little