Monday, December 6, 2010

DAF #46 - Saludos Amigos (1943)

Title: Saludos Amigos
Year: 1943
Rated: G
Run Time: 42 minutes (seriously) 

Fred Shields as The Narrator
Clarence Nash as Donald Duck
Jose Oliveira as Jose Carioca
Pinto Colvig as Goofy 

Plot: Donald Duck explores Lake Titicaca and Brazil while Goofy becomes an Argentinean cowboy and a little plane flies through the Andes.
Based on: Original stories.
Setting: Lake Titicaca, Peru; Chile; Argentine pampas; Brazil. Present Day (1943). 

Tagline: Walt Disney goes South American in his gayest musical Technicolor feature! 

First Viewing: Spring of 2006 on DVD via Netflix.

Andrew (from Diversion 2.0 fame) is going to kill me. He's going through the Disney canon, just as I am, but unlike my semi-crap, overly sentimental reviews, he is doing it an respectable Roger Ebert-esque style with personal insight as well as critical eyes. This week, he dropped his review on the first of the package films, Saludos Amigos. I've been burning through my Bottom Ten and as of this moment I've arrived at the same film.I avoided reading his review until writing my own...but I'll apologize in advance just in case there are any similarities. 

Saludos Amigos, like The Three Caballeros, was made to keep the U.S. in good cahoots with South America while World War II raged on. This was the first of the two, a little bit of a testing-the-waters film. And (thankfully) unlike TTC, Saludos Amigos has some cohesion to it.

The film is split into four segments. The first is "Lake Titicaca", where we see Donald Duck the Ugly American dealing with the altitude, using a boat made of reeds, and interacting with the natives at the marketplace. He also attempts to tame a llama with a flute and crosses a rope bridges with hilarious consequences. 

Second is "Pedro", the story of a baby airplane's first flight over the Andes to deliver the mail. On his trip back he encounters storms and a BIG SCARY ASS MOUNTAIN. Will he make it? Spoiler alert: yes.

In "El Gaucho Goofy", the title character is transplanted to the Argentine pampas where he learns the differences between gauchos and American cowboys. All the shorts are educational in their own way, but this one is the most, I think. I mean, I didn't know a damn thing about gauchos until this movie came along. We learn the differences in costuming, saddles, food preparation and roping technique. Fascinating, yes? (FYI there was more digitally removed cigarette smoking in this one.)

Finally, we get to the last segment "Aquarela do Brasil" where we meet our old friend, Jose Carioca. (Old to you Popped Density readers, new the the movie going populace at the time). Lucky us, this is the last time he will come up in the blog! Anyway, Donald and Jose tour Brazil and dance the samba. This is the most surreal segment (naturally) and you can see the wheels of drug pandering ideas turning. Nothing really happens in this segment.

All the segments are bumpered with live action footage of Walt and the boys drawing, exploring, and experiencing South America for research. Even with all that the movie is a piddly 42 minutes long, barely qualifying it as a feature length film. (According the the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences the minimum is 40 minutes). You assume right that it's the shortest in the canon.

However, this stupid movie was nominated for three, yes three goddamn Academy Awards: Best Musical Score, Best Sound Recording, and Best Original Song ("Saludos Amigos"). It won nothing, of course. But still, this remained the most Oscar nominated DAF (tied with Cinderella and The Little Mermaid) until Beauty and the Beast's 6 nominations in 1991. Chew on that. 

Saludos Amigos is okay. It's more an animated documentary on South America than anything. I like it more than at least two of the package films because it's so short, and it's mildly entertaining. It also has a certain charm. I'd definitely recommend this one before The Three Caballeros.

P.S. Andrew, BLOG WARS! 

“Saludos Amigos” - Chorus
"Tico Tico No Fuba" - Jose Oliveira (Jose Carioca)
“Aquarela do Brasil” - Aloysio De Oliveira 

Favorite Song: “Aquarela do Brasil” - Aloysio De Oliveira
Favorite Moment: "El Gaucho Goofy"

Favorite Character: Goofy 

Next Film: Chicken Little (2005)

1 comment:

Andrew said...

OH! It's on now!