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Walt & El Grupo

4.5 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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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.

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)

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 (42 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003TVTRYC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,507 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Walt & El Grupo" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
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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Format: DVD
"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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Format: DVD
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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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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 recordings... And he was soooo over joyed when he received them that the value far exceeded the cost!!!
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
Incredible film. If you are a fan of Disney you must watch/buy this movie. if not, you will be a fan of Walt after watching this film. Either way this film is educational, inspiring and entertaining. Thanks to the producers for making this special film. You deserve awards and ROI. Please Make more films about Walt's life and all the associated people and stories.
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Format: DVD
"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 behest of the U.S. State Department. The idea was to tip the sympathies of those countries in the direction of the good ol' USA instead of the strengthening Axis nations of Europe. A visit by the popular Disney, it was thought, would be less heavy-handed (as well as more entertaining for the citizenry) than a typical diplomatic mission by US politicians. Walt agreed to go if he was permitted to spend the lion's share of his time working with the locals to develop story ideas for his cartoons, and no one had a problem with that.

Tons of color footage was shot during the course of the Disney visit, which is generously on display in the documentary. There are also many interviews with surviving family members of the original group that traveled with Walt, and they're often seen reading letters that the animators wrote home telling of their many adventures in South America (Rio de Janeiro was a particular favorite of the Disney employees).

Two successful animated productions came out of the trip: "The Three Cabellaros" and "Saludos Amigos". The latter is included among the bonus features, though I'm afraid it's the edited version that removes the sequence of Goofy- dressed as a gaucho- sucking on a cigarette for an extended period of time. No matter, don't let that dissuade you from enjoying this great DVD.
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