Saturday, February 5, 2011

Saludos Amigos (post 1 of 2)

Title: Saludos Amigos
Studio: Disney
Date: 02/06/43 (wide release; original limited release was in '42)
Production Supervisor
Norman Ferguson
Story Research
Ted Sears
William Cottrell
Webb Smith
Musical Director
Charles Wolcott
Art Supervision
Mary Blair - Lee Blair
Herb Ryman - Jim Bodrero
Jack Miller
Backgrounds "El Gaucho Goofy" inspired by
F. Molina Campos
Sequence Directors
Bill ROberts - Jack Kinney
Ham Luske - Wilfred Jackson
Fred Moore - Ward Kimball
Milt Kahl - Milt Neil
Wooly Reitherman - Bill Tytla
Les CLark - Bill Justice
John Sibley - Hugh Fraser
Paul Allen - John McManus
Andrew Engman - Dan McManus
Josh Meador
Hugh Hennesy - Al Zinnen
Ken Anderson - McLaren Stewart
Al Dempster - Art Riley
Claude Coates - Dick Anthony
Yale Gracey - Merle Cox
Ed Plumb - Paul Smith
Homer Brightman - Ralph Wright
Roy Williams - Harry Reaves
Dick Heumer - Joe Grant
Foreign Supervision
Jack Cutting
Gilberto Souto
Alberto Soria
Edmundo Santos
"Saludos Amigos"
Lyric - Ned Washington
Music - Charles Wolcott
Fred Shields
Series: -
Running time (of viewed version): 41:54
Commercial DVD Availability: Gold Classic Collection, Classic Caballeros Collection, Walt and El Grupo.

Synopsis: We see some stories having to do with South America, and some story of what led to them.

(Note: I'm breaking the movie up between two posts)
Comments: Based on the previews, the DVD I'm watching this on was released when Bill Clinton was still president, which seems long long ago now. It's been modified from its original version and edited for content. I should have had the supposedly uncut version in the Walt and El Grupo set that should be available by the time you read this (with hopefully a note at the end confirming this), but the initial viewing and writing is on the old DVD version. The difference should amount to a cigarette. The film was first released in 1942, but was not widely released until 1943, thus its presence here for inclusiveness.

I'm not sure why they're touting that the live action came from a 16mm original; as an explanation for why it looks like a newsreel? The travel short style narration should handle that. The title song is extremely not Latin American. It took three days to fly to Brazil? Unpleasant. Quite a freckled hand of an artist. Four and a half minutes into the 42 minute "feature" until the only animation at all is a tiny plane When the hats were mentioned, the artist drew a woman not wearing a hat, tho that's exactly what all the shots had shown to be the norm. I wonder if theaters liked the extremely short length, so they could jam in more showings, or if this was a particular class of film length that was integral to double features. I would have thought the time for pieces of this length would have passed by '43. The segments are easily chopped up for tv showing (which was almost certainly not the point), as the various compilation features from Disney were. This of course allowed the Disney crew to make features without having to think about making any individual cartoon that exceeded their experience in making shorts. While you can break up Snow White and Pinocchio into different storylines, they are not so divisible as the compilation features, which makes the choice a bit confusing to me. I suppose there was a production benefit. I also assume someone has extensively addressed the reasons for them in some of the massive amount of Disney scholarship that's out there, but I will leave it out there. If anyone wants to comment on the issue with appropriate references, feel free. On to the shorts. Er, segments.

Lake Titicaca: Yet more Donald from the house of mouse. Donald is the ugly American tourist in his idiot pith helmet (it is a pith helmet, yes?). The use of Mary Blair still paintings is an unusual thing to my eye. It's not unpleasant, and I suppose it ties the cartoon itself to the frame. The llama being commanded by the music is not unlike the wolf in Pigs in a Polka. They seem to get away with not much happening in the cartoon; you can have an unsatisfying seven minutes when there's a bunch more material on either side of it. Donald appears to neither fly nor float. The segment uses the word "jitterbug". The llama with the flute looks like later Disney to me; maybe it was Reitherman?

"Cameras aren't allowed up here"; and yet they are using shots in a cabin, which while likely done on the ground for steadying if nothing else; it is a visual contradiction to the meaning of the narration.

Pedro: Anthropomorphic vehicle, like Susie the Little Blue Coupe or that Tex Avery bit with the anthropomorphic planes (or One Cab's Family)(edit: or Streamlined Greta Green, which came first). Still shot of a windsock that isn't limp looks wrong behind the animated papa. The nylon and diaper wind socks don't look as bad. Control tower with eyes looks cool. More wind filled flags that don't move. The skeletal plane is awesome. The mother plane sends her tiny son on a mail route too dangerous for her. There's some parenting. Christ of the Andes is tiny. Evil mountain is large. "Another martyr to the mail service." And it turned out he almost died on a pointless mission. Have a good time dying for nothing!

Walt Disney is smoking at Campos's studio. Campos himself has a pipe. (I assume that's Campos.) I want some horsehide boots... Three piece suit and granny sun glasses?


  1. I know that this feature was wide released in 1943, but it was originaly released in 1942. It's don't have to be in that blog.

  2. This is addressed in the date information. As addressed in a meta post near the beginning of the blog (or maybe the '39 blog), I have erred on overinclusiveness for completeness. More importantly, the opening paragraph of regular text on this post mentions the same thing.