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Walt & El Grupo (2008)

Flávio Barroso , Lee Blair , Theodore Thomas  |  PG |  DVD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Flávio Barroso, Lee Blair, Mary Blair, James Bodrero, Lydia Bodrero
  • Directors: Theodore Thomas
  • Writers: Theodore Thomas
  • Producers: Kuniko Okubo, Mark L. Rosen, Walter Elias Disney Miller
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: Spanish, English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: November 30, 2010
  • Run Time: 107 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #111,092 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Walt & El Grupo" on IMDb

Special Features

• Audio Commentary - Director Theodore Thomas and Historian J.B. Kaufman
• Photos In Motion - How the photos literally came to life
• From The Director’s Cut – 3 different segments taking you deeper into the story
• Saludos Amigos – Original theatrical version
• Original Theatrical Trailers: Saludos Amigos (1942); The Three Caballeros (1944)

Editorial Reviews

For ten weeks in 1941, Walt Disney, his wife Lilly, and sixteen colleagues from his studio visited nations in Latin America to gather story material for a series of films with South American themes.  The feature documentary film Walt & El Grupo uses this framing device to explore inter-American relations, provide a rare glimpse into the artists who were part of the magic of Disney’s “golden age” and give an unprecedented look at the 39 year-old Walt Disney during one of the most challenging times of his entire life.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A well-timed Latino excursion for a troubled studio December 8, 2010
By Dave
In 1941, the Walt Disney Studio was not in a good place; "Fantasia" had floundered at the box office and a nasty strike had taken a toll on the animation team and especially Walt himself who was crestfallen at the rebellion. The U.S. government stepped in at a most opportune time, requesting that Disney & his team make a goodwill trip to South America. Not only did the trip produce two classic Disney films ("Saludos Amigos" and "The Three Caballeros"), it helped bolster the spirits of the animation team, added a new dimension of culture, and forged a positive relationship between South America and the U.S. that is still talked about to this day. It is touching to hear the interviews and see Walt fleshed out as a human who wanted to soak up knowledge and culture like a sponge. Rather than swoop in like the celebrity that he was, Walt & his team infiltrated the culture, the people (especially local artists), making a lasting impression. The example given was that nobody really cared about Bing Crosby coming during the same time; but Walt...THAT was a big event! Diane Disney (Walt's daughter) is interviewed, and shows a cherished doll that was given to her by her dad when he returned. One South American local tells of his father and how he met Walt and was taken under his wing, eventually culminating in a trip to the states. Many more tales like that are expertly told her, using current interviews and vintage footage.

As a bonus, you'll find a fold-out printed timeline showing what was occurring during World War II and what was happening at Disney during the same time. Very interesting piece.

Extras also include:

* Audio Commentary -- With director Theodore Thomas and historian J.B. Kaufman.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Walt fans will love this DVD... November 27, 2010
"Walt & El Grupo", is one of three Disney History DVD's released in November 2010, along with "Waking Sleeping Beauty" and "The Boys, The Sherman Brothers' Story". All three are excellent chronicles of Disney History and worth a watch.

"Walt & El Grupo, The Untold Adventures", is the story of Walt, Lily (his wife) and "The Group" of 16 hand-picked artists and support personnel, during a relatively unknown trip to South America in 1941. It was the genesis of the two "Good Neighbor" movies, "Saludos Amigos" and "The Three Caballeros."

1941 was a particularly hard year for Walt. After the successes of Snow White and Pinnochio, he had a semi-failure with Fantasia in 1940,and as work was being completed on Dumbo in 1941, union organizers struck the Disney Company.

At the same time, WWII in Europe was raging, and he lost the financing of many of the European banks he was working with, leaving the studio (and Walt) over 4 million dollars in debt.

Also during the same time, the US Government was worried about the Nazi influence down in South America, especially in Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Peru. They sent a number of "Good Will Ambassadors" to South America, to try and win over the people and away from Nazi Germany. Many weren't successful.

They asked Walt to do a trip, but declined, he didn't want to go down to South America just to shake hands. But then, this *was* the State Department watching a war in Europe, so they offered additional incentives, including taking a number of people to do research for future movies as well as the underwriting of those movies.

Add up those three events, and Walt was on a 10-week adventure below the equator. (Okay, mostly below the equator.) That's what this documentary is about.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By Jim
This is a beautiful film loaded with pictures, but it is rather dull. It's a travelogue of sorts that doesn't provide much insight into the personalities involved. If you are a Disney animation fan, there are a few tidbits which will let you see the germs of ideas for SALUDOS AMIGOS and THE THREE CABALLEROS.

What makes this disc a must-have, though, is that it includes an UNEDITED version of SALUDOS AMIGOS. Bring on the cigarettes!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Bilingual, bilateral and what have you ... " September 1, 2010
WALT & EL GRUPO is a documentary I had a hard time reviewing; apparently, readers had a tough time with the review too. Here I am, taking a second stab at it.

In the 1940s, running up to WWII, Walt Disney was recruited to do a "goodwill tour" of the "ABC" countries: Argentina, Brazil and Chile. Several great Disney animated films came out of this trip, as did much tremendous artwork.

As I have said before, there are annoying aspects to this documentary. While it tells its story rather well, it can't seem to decide what to tell. Lots of 'letters to home' are read by relatives - letters by the animators ("El Grupo") who accompanied Disney.

Lots of film footage is revealed and I loved the way the black and white photos taken by the group were made into 3D, as to admire them better. It seems, however, that the documentarists here were marking time with lots of music-video type stuff; it left me wondering where the rest of the story was.

Disney himself was interviewed and his voice is heard often, but the documentary for some odd reason suddenly cuts him off, especially in his account of the mid-1940s animators strike that made him suffer terribly. The strike was revving up when he left for South America.

The documentary is touching in the way it interviews descendants of the people who were there: both American and South American. People remember Disney, but a lot of the interviewees also recall how this trip impacted and changed their lives ... and the world around them. Disney was a hero, possibly a spy (a very good guy and a good spy at that), but it is his genius and his work that is ultimately celebrated here. I can't fault anyone for that.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring!
Moving, touching, exciting and pact with 'home movies' of Walt and Co on their Good Neighbor Policy trip to Latin America, 'Walt and El Grupo' made me wonder why people just don't... Read more
Published 11 days ago by lns500
5.0 out of 5 stars A must see for all Walt Disney lovers!
Priceless footage of Walt as a young man, top notch documentary. I was spell bound thru out.
Published 1 month ago by Jeff D.
5.0 out of 5 stars An unsung Disney adventure
"Walt & El Grupo ("The Group") is a great little documentary about Walt Disney and a group of his animators visiting several South American countries in 1941 at the the... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Joseph P. Menta, Jr.
5.0 out of 5 stars It was a gift for a friend...
whose father worked on this and the other Latin America Disney film. The friend is now an elder with not much time left so I felt no compunction about spending the bucks on the... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Walt & El Grupo is a wonderful film
I thoroughly enjoyed Walt and El Grupo. It is nterlaced with actual footage shot during the trip, which gave me a sense of what their excursion was like. Read more
Published 7 months ago by R. M. Ballier
5.0 out of 5 stars Dinsey History Revealed
Have you ever wondered about all the behind the scenes and history making events that were never told? Read more
Published 11 months ago by Richard Rice
2.0 out of 5 stars Misrepresented product description.
The documentary is fine and I give it a four star rating. The bonus feature "Saludos Amigos-Original Theatrical Version" is not what it claims to be. Read more
Published 13 months ago by K. Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing snapshot of a special time...
I had seen this at a special screening, so I knew what to expect.
This is a great travelogue of a talented group of creators at a special time in history. Read more
Published 17 months ago by John McCarthy
5.0 out of 5 stars Mucho Bueno from Disney
There have been many key moments in the life and times of Walt Disney and his associates. Many of those pieces have much deeper stories than what we already know about them. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Zach S.
5.0 out of 5 stars The uncut Saludos Amigos.
This DVD shows the travel of Walt Disney and his staff to South America in 1942, but the best is that contain THE ORIGINAL, UNCUT, FULL VERSION OF THE MOVIE "SALUDOS AMIGOS",... Read more
Published 18 months ago by A. Felipe Gonzalez Barroso
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