The War has begun. Disney is asked by the United States government to do a tour of Central and South America to help bring popular opinion in the area to be pro-American. Some of the Latin American countries had Nazi ties, but the hope was the popularity of Mickey, Donald, and Goofy would help the American cause. Enter Disney Animated Canon film number six, Saludos Amigos released in Rio de Janeiro just eleven days after Bambi’s American release. Saludos Amigos wouldn’t see a US theatre until February 6, 1943.
This is the first of six Disney films that are a package of shorts strung together into a larger film. Even though it feels very un-Disney like to slap some random cartoons together, it is the same type package we got in Fantasia. So, when we get to the end of the group, we will have seven short film packages and four single narrative films making the package films more Diney-esque than a normal film for the time.
Looking at the art of Saludos Amigos we are treated to traditional Disney cartoon short style. It is what the next few decades would know as the traditional Mickey Mouse cartoon style. Mickey isn’t in the movie, but Donald and Goofy are. Like Fantasia there are non-animated scenes in between the animated ones which are there to teach you about South America. These scenes would have been better suited as animation to give the whole package a more complete feel.
The music here for the most part of the movie is typical Disney cartoon short music. Subtle yet flows perfectly with the action. It isn’t too much, it does its job. The last short of the film is based around Samba music which is a fun inclusion.
There is a lot of information in the movie although it isn’t really a story. Where Bambi suffered from a lack of things to say to the audience, this is kind of the opposite. You learn about South American music, culture, clothes, and geography. Unfortunately, it felt more like sitting through an educational film in school than a something from the Disney Animated Canon.
Saludos Amigos is alright. It is hard to compare it to Pinocchio or Dumbo because it is such a different piece. It is informative and everything with Donald or Goofy is quite fun.
Run Time – 42 Minutes
16th Academy Awards – 3 Nominations – 0 Wins
Best Scoring of a Musical Picture – Nominated
Best Original Song – “Saludos Amigos” – Nominated
Best Sound Recording - Nominated
Disney Animated Canon so far in order of Quality
1. Dumbo 10-23-1941
2. Pinocchio 2-7-1940
3. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs 12-21-1937
4. Saludos Amigos 8-24-1942
5. Bambi 8-13-1942
6. Fantasia 11-13-1940