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Friday, August 26, 2011
It’s Film Strip Friday! Saludos Amigos
It’s Film Strip Friday!
Release Date February, 5th, 1943
Join Goofy, Donald Duck, and Walt Disney himself as they experience all the music, beauty, and excitement Latin America has to offer. Walt and his team of artists, musicians, writers, and animators say "Adios!" to the U.S. to explore the heart and soul of Latin America. They travel to fun and exciting places and capture their adventures along the way
Saludos Amigos (Hello, Friends in English, Alô, Amigos in Portuguese) is a 1942 animated feature produced by Walt Disney and released by RKO Radio Pictures. It is the 6th animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics Series. It is the first of six package films made by the Disney studio in the 1940s. Set in Latin America, it is made up of four different segments; Donald Duck stars in two of them and Goofy stars in one. It also features the first appearance of Jose Carioca, the Brazilian parrot. Saludos Amigos was popular enough that Walt Disney decided to make another film about Latin America, The Three Caballeros, to be produced two years later. Saludos Amigos premiered in Rio de Janeiro on August 24, 1942. It was released in the United States on February 6, 1943. It garnered mixed reviews and was only reissued once, in 1949, when it was shown on a double bill with the first reissue of Dumbo.
In early 1941, before U.S. entry into World War II, the United States Department of State commissioned a Disney goodwill tour of South America, intended to lead to a movie to be shown in the US, Central, and South America as part of the Good Neighbor Policy. Disney was chosen for this because several Latin American governments had close ties with Nazi Germany, and the US government wanted to counteract those ties. Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters were popular in Latin America, and Walt Disney acted as ambassador. The tour, facilitated by Nelson Rockerfeller, who had recently been appointed as Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs (CIAA), took Disney and a group of roughly twenty composers, artists, technicians, etc. from his studio to South America, mainly to Brazil and Argentina, but also to Chile and Peru.
The film itself was given federal loan guarantees. These were necessary because the Disney studio had over-expanded just before European markets were closed to them by the war, and because Disney was struggling with labor unrest at the time (including a strike that was underway at the time the goodwill journey began).
The film included live-action documentary sequences featuring footage of modern Latin American cities with skyscrapers and fashionably dressed residents. This surprised many contemporary US viewers, who associated such images only with US and European cities, and contributed to a changing impression of Latin America. Film historian Alfred Charles Richard Jr. has commented that Saludo Amigos "did more to cement a community of interest between peoples of the Americas in a few months than the State Department had in fifty years".
The film also inspired Chilean cartoonist Rene Rios Boettiger to create Condorito, one of Latin America's most ubiquitous cartoon characters. Ríos perceived that the character Pedro, a small, incapable airplane, was a slight to Chileans and created a comic that could supposedly rival Disney's comic characters.
This film features four different segments, each of which begin with various clips of the Disney artists roaming the country, drawing cartoons of some of the local cultures and scenery.
In this segment, American tourist Donald Duck visits Lake Titicaca and meets with some of the local yokels, including an obstinate llama.
Pedro involves the title character, a small airplane from Chile, engaging in his very first flight to pick up air mail from Mendoza, with near disastrous results. This segment was later released theatrically as an independent short, on May 13, 1955 by RKO Pictures. Disappointed with Pedro as the image that the outside world had of Chile, cartoonist Rene Rios Boettiger (Pepo) started one of the most famous Latin American comic magazines: Condorito.
El Gaucho Goofy
In this segment, American cowboy Goofy gets taken mysteriously to the Argentine pampas to learn the ways of the native gaucho. This segment was later edited for the film's Gold Classic Collection VHS/DVD release to remove one scene in which Goofy is smoking a cigarette. This edit appears again on the Classic Caballeros Collection DVD. This sequence has since been restored as many fans have asked for the uncut version. The complete uncut film is available as a bonus feature on the Walt & El Grupo DVD release.
Aquarela do Brasil
Aquarela do Brasil (or "Watercolor of Brazil"), the finale of the film, involves a brand-new character, Jose Carioca, showing Donald Duck around South America and introducing him to the samba (to the tunes of "Brazil" and "Tico-Tico no Fuba").