Thursday, July 9, 2009

Day 162: Saludos Amigos (1942) - Rank 3/5


Disney goes to South America to give American audiences something to take their minds off World War II (hey, look at those people dancing with fruit on their heads! Pearl Harbor didn't bring them down!). The film is a combination of three new shorts bumpered by exposition on the culture of the continent and how said cartoon relates to the native peoples and their history. I'm sure that this film , if available in 16mm to schools, was used for educational purposes by teachers wanting to educate students about the culture of Brazil, Chile and surrounding countries. Though if this were still used today, apart from being a study in pleasant banalities, it would provide students with plenty of fodder to mock - primarily the film's tagline: "Walt Disney goes South American in his gayest musical Technicolor feature!"

Student: Yeah, it's pretty gay.

I like the concept of showing the Disney artists at work, followed by the cartoons they produce. The downside is the two themes feel a little forced into one another. That, and the animated shorts feel a little mediocre. "Pedro," a cartoon about a baby plane delivering mail, seems cloying, even by 1940's Disney standards. "El Gaucho Goofy," is fairly hilarious and the Donald Duck scenes, while entertaining (for I love Donald) also go on for too long. There's still enough dazzle of Technicolor to be engaging, but the film stands out as being more of an uneven production than one of Disney's best.

Watch the Trailer

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