Saludos Amigos (Disney Gold Classic Collection)
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Since this movie is considered one of Disney's "Classic Films", it would make it the shortest one ever (45 minutes), but don't let the short time put you off, it is actually a very good length to tell the stories of the film.
"Saludos Amigos" is split into 4 animated stories, with some live action intros in between, all taking place in South America. The first, and the best one, is Donald Duck's "Lake Titicaca", where the feathered tourist explores the lake and the town arround it, with some comical twists, narrated all the way through. "El Gaucho Goofy" is a funny story, of transplanting a Texas Cowboy (Goofy), in the middle of South America. The other subjects are "Pedro", the story of a determined plane, and "Aquarelo Do Brasil" where we meet Joe Carioca.
The film on the whole has more of a documentary tone, giving us insight on South America ("The Three Caballeros" focuses more on Mexico).
The Gold Collection DVD, has a great documentary which shows us Walt Disney's trip to South America, and the development of the film.
The best of the four cartoons is "El Gaucho Goofy". Previously unavailable on DVD, "Gaucho Goofy" is Goofy at his all time best. Watch the bit with the bolas - simply hilarious.
The next best is "Pedro". The story of the little airplane that could (think "The Little Engine That Could" with wings) is very good at telling a story - and you almost believe for a moment that Pedro didn't get through the Andes.
Next best is "Lake Titicaca". This hilarious romp with Donald Duck fighting a reluctant Llama (could this be the inspiration for "The Emperor's New Groove"?) will leave most anyone laughing.
Finally, there's "Aquarela do Brasil" - probably closest to the material that links the four stories and introducing the great Jose Carioca.
It's kind of a mystery to me why Disney considers this mixture of animation with live-action to be a "canon" movie. It's simply a collection of four Disney cartoons joined together with a live-action look at travelling in parts of South America.
The supplementary material, about Disney artists travelling in South America is a nice addition to the material on this disc, and also helps explain that this material is presented as a courtesy to the Office of Inter-American Affairs.
The interconnecting material that tries to tie together these four Disney cartoons is sadly dated, and is live-action and not animation. It also does not do near as good a job at tying together the various cartoons as "Three Caballeros" would later do.
An entertaining look at what movie theaters used to do - provide news, travel info, and cartoons together and all for a dime. But not recommended for anything but Disney purists.
Speaking for myself, I find it extremely interesting, over and above its entertainment value. There are lots of small incidental details that illustrate the difference between life in the mid-twentieth and early twentyfirst century, one of the first being when they mentioned their three day flight from the US to Rio.
Visually and aurally, given the age of the feature, the quality is excellent. The restoration team have done an outstanding job, particularly on the animated sections. José Karioka is a particularly vibrant character visually and Donald Duck sounds great. However, in this day of Dolby Surround Sound with everything, the mono soundtrack is very noticeable (but you can't change history).
There are at least some extras. In this area Disney is (slowly) improving but I guess we'll have to wait for a 'Collector's Edition' before we really get the extras we want (i.e. a selection of such background material as is still available, such as discarded clips, interviews, early artwork etc.). But for a relatively minor feature such as this that could be many years away.
Overall? Well it's not in the same league as contemporaries such as its predecessor Bambi but is certainly the match of anything subsequently released in the forties. The animation has more in common with Disney's shorts than his films. It's different and that alone makes it worth checking out.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It was a cute little movie. Not what I expected, but still glad I watched this classic movie. It is more of an educational film than a movie.Published 1 month ago by Sarah
Another great movie to show at school. Great addition for any lesson plan about South America. You could show the whole thing or just the clips because it is divided in section. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Clara A. Pardo Johnson
Absolutely love this. Very light story, but that's not the draw. So beautiful to watch--artistry and music.Published 7 months ago by Helen Troy
With World War II raging around the world, Disney and some of his animators set out on a strange journey. They went down to South America as sort of good will ambassadors. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Mark Baker - Carstairs Considers
Beautiful animation coupled with the naive charm of The Good Neighbor Policy. What could be better? (And Donald Duck actually made me laugh out loud at one point). Win-win-WIN!Published 15 months ago by lns500
This review refers to the Amazon Instant Video purchase advertised as HD. What streams is an SD version, well inset into the screen (both pillar and letter boxed... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Ken Cope
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