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Saludos Amigos

A Disney Tale: Join the Disney animators on a tour of South America accompanied by Donald Duck and Goofy.

Disney Hero: As this film is a 'package feature' made up of four segments, we have three 'heroes' featuring at different points.  Firstly is Donald Duck who appears in both the first and final segements.  This is Donald as we know and love him - adventurous, resourceful and, of course, short-tempered.  As a role model, Donald is maybe not the epitomy of a Disney hero, but who can fail to love him.

Next up in the film is Pedro, a small aeroplane who is tasked to deliver mail across treacherous mountains.  He is cute and determined.

Finally, there is Goofy.  this short is in the tradition of other Goofy shorts where he is 'learning' a new trade, occupation or skill - in this case becoming a 'gaucho' - a South American cowboy.  Goofy is his usual 'goofy' self, exhibiting his usual clumsiness.

Disney Villain: There is no true villain in this film and the closest we get is the mountain - Aconcagua - that Pedro must fly over on his mission to deliver the mail.  The reason I am classing the mountain as a villain is that it is effectively the only antagonist in the film and is, in some scenes, clearly anthropomorphised with a sinister looking face staring out of the mountain side.

Disney Sidekicks: Saludos Amigos, for all its obscurity as a film, does introduce a fairly well-known character in the form of Jose (Joe) Carioca.  Jose is a Brazilian parrot who leads Donald on a trip to the city, taking him to a restaurant and teaching him the samba.  Jose returns in two subsequent package features.  He is a very 'mature' character and is one of the few 'protagonist' Disney characters to be depicted smoking.

Disney Creatures: The wildlife of South America features heavily in this feature from the llamas of Peru, the horses and cows under the charge of El Gaucho Goofy, to the exotic bird life of Brazil.

Disney Magic: Magic is absent from this feature, although there is a certain magical quality to the way the final segment, Aquarela de Brasil, is animated with various flowers and plants metamorphosing into various exotic birds.  The way we see paintbrushes and pencils illustrating and animating Brazil also adds a mystical quality to the work.

Disney Land: Saludos Amigos was designed to promote Latin America to the USA and to show it in a positive way; with the intention of also encouraging South America to support the USA in World War 2.  Consequently we get to see a lot of South America, both animated and live action.  The countries covered include Brazil, Chile and Argentina and attention is paid to their geography and topograpy.

Disney Songs: A Latin American sound obviously takes precedent in this film.  I cannot honestly say any of the songs particularly appeal to me.  Aquarela de Brasil was, apparently, something of a major hit in the USA after featuring in this film but even the title song, Saludos Amigos, fails to stick with me.

Disney Finale: Saludos Amigos was a film I knew very little about when embarking on this marathon.  Neither my wife nor I (who had had separate Disney film collections before marrying) owned a copy and I had to purchase one for this.  We watched it with my two young children who enjoyed it for the most part - although it is rather telling that, unlike many other Disney films, they haven't asked to watch it again.  The three short 'cartoons' are entertaining in their own way and it's interesting to note how the Pedro short is full of aspects familiar from the more recent (and much-maligned) Planes films - indeed, I wonder how much influence this one short may have had on the Disney animators.

As a whole feature it isn't hugely successful for me, although I think that has something to do with the  Latin American focus which, for a Brit, probably has less significance than for an American citizen.  The music also annoys me a little.  I rather like Joe Carioca as a character, and I'm pleased he gets to return in the next film.  I like the Donald segment and the Pedro short, although I'm less keen on Goofy as a character so that part falls a little flat for me.


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