Saludos Amigos (1942)

Saludos Amigossaludos-amigos-poster
Directed by Wilfred Jackson, Jack Kinney, Hamilton Luske, and Bill Roberts
Written by Homer Brightman, Ralph Wright, et al
Walt Disney Studios
Repeat viewing/Netflix rental

[first lines] Narrator: Here’s an unusual expedition: artists, musicians and writers setting out for a trip through Latin America to find new personalities, music and dances for their cartoon films. So, adios, Hollywood, and saludos, amigos.

Made to boost the U.S. Good Neighbor Policy during World War II, this shortish feature cartoon is a kind of travelogue of South America with some funny bits by Disney characters to liven things up.

This is a compilation of several short cartoons that were originally intended to be released separately, linked by live footage that gives information about each country.  The cartoon segments are:  1) Donald Duck takes a perilous journey by llama in the Peruvian Andes; 2) Pedro, the baby airplane, fills in for his parents to take the mail from Chile to Argentina over the Andes (a la Only Angels Have Wings); 3)  Cowboy Goofy is transformed into a gaucho and transported to the Argentinian pampas; 4) Joe Carioca the parrot shows Donald Duck around Rio de Janeiro.  The film ends with a Fantasia-like animation set to the song “Brasil”.

saludos amigos 1

I’ve spent a bit of time in South America and really enjoyed this film.  It could have gone so wrong but ended up hitting just the right note, I thought.  If “Brasil” had been written for this movie, it would have received my vote for best song.

Charles Wolcott and Ned Washington were nominated for an Academy Award for their original song “Saludos Amigos”.  The film was also nominated for Best Sound, Recording and Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture.

Clip – “Brasil”

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