The Three Caballeros
Film number seven is The Three Caballeros. Another good will message from Disney to Latin America. Released in Mexico in December of 1944 and then in the US in February of 1945.
The animation in this one is all over the board. Being another package film there are some definite sections, but each of those sections has a different level of effort put into the animation. The first two sections are self-contained cartoons and each feel like such. Not necessarily Disney film quality, but classic television cartoon quality. As the film progresses the backgrounds start to look more and more detailed until the backgrounds become actual film and just foreground characters are drawn. Before you know it, they return to cartoon worlds, but most of the backgrounds are now solid colors.
The music is comprised of mostly Spanish language songs by Aurora Miranda and Dora Luz. These songs don’t have the original and fun feel of the Samba section of Saludos Amigos. But the film treated the music as the most important aspect of the show. It felt like more of a platform for Aurora Miranda than it did a piece of Disney Animated Canon. In general, the music felt repetitive, but it may be because I don’t speak Spanish or listen to that type of music.
The story was better put together than Saludos Amigos. Instead of feeling like a bunch of educational pieces strung together with live action this felt like the different stories generally worked well together. The introduction story “The Cold-Blooded Penguin” may be the exception although I found it to be the most entertaining. The rest is a strange journey with Donald Duck, Jose Carioca, and Panchito Pistoles. It is somewhat strange to watch today with Panchito acting as an irresponsible gun wielding Mexican Gaucho, Jose nearly oblivious to everything but the Latin music, and Donald becoming obsessed with pretty girls, calling them toots, and being a generic overzealous American.
This movie does not hold up today. It was odd, uncomfortable, boring in parts, and only partially animated.
Run Time – 71 Minutes
18th Academy Awards – 2 Nominations – 0 Wins
Best Scoring of a Musical Picture – 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
7. The Three Caballeros 12-21-1944