During World War II, Walt Disney was sent to South America to create a movie as a gesture of good will (read up on The Good Neighbor Policy for more information on that). The plan was initially to simply release a series of shorts, but when worries arose that a specific short would only be popular in the country it was about, it was decided to package several together in a feature film. The end result is Saludos Amigos, a movie split apart into 4 distinct shorts:
- Lake Titicaca has Donald Duck visiting the eponymous lake and doing the whole tourist thing, renting a musically trained Llama to help him get around.
- Pedro documents the story of a small plane named Pedro making his first trip to deliver mail between Chile and Mendoza.
- El Gaucho Goofy compares the American Cowboy with the South American Gaucho. Goofy is put into the role of Gaucho, and he learns the basics. Being Goofy, Hilarity Ensues.
- Aquarela do Brasil (Watercolour of Brazil) features the scenery of Brazil, as they are painted in by an artist in watercolour. The film also features Donald Duck, and introduces the parrot José Carioca (Or Joe Carioca, as the Narrator and Donald call himnote ), from Rio de Janeiro. José shows Donald around town, and teaches him about Samba. Bizarrely, the song "Aquarela do Brasil" is featured prominently in Terry Gilliam's movie Brazil.
The shorts are tied together with a live-action documentary, showing the Disney artists' trip around South America, showing their experiences and drawings, and the inspiration for the shorts that follow. The movie is also the shortest to be produced by Disney, running at only 42 minutes, live-action segments included, and just barely qualifying as a feature film (which have to be longer than 40 minutes).
During the trip, Disney and his artists apparently came up with about 12 unused ideas for shorts about Latin America. One of them would later become Blame it on the Samba, a short used for the movie Melody Time.
Walt later created a follow-up film, The Three Caballeros. A documentary about the original trip, Walt and El Grupo was released in 2009.
Not to be confused with the PBS learning show from 1983 that people assume have this title.
This film provides examples of:
- Alcohol Hic: A glass of Cachaça gives Donald a rhythmic Alcohol Hic. "Now you have the spirit of the samba!"
- Anthology Film: Four animated shorts and a documentary.
- Artistic License Ornithology:
- The greater rhea is referred to as an "Argentine ostrich", with its Portuguese name being "avestruz" rather than the correct "ema". It should also have three toes rather than just two like an ostrich.
- Toucans are depicted with three toes pointing forward, instead of just two.
- Big "SHUT UP!": Donald shouts this at the narrator as he tries to cross a rickety, falling-apart suspension bridge on a llama high up in the air while the narrator provides the play-by-play on how not to behave on the bridge:Narrator: The traveler should be cautioned against any reckless behavior at this high altitude. Overexertion is dangerous. And above all, one should never lose one's temper.
Donald: (struggling) Shut up, you big windbag!
- Bilingual Bonus: Some notes by the native Portuguese:
- While Joe Carioca is talking to Donald after meeting him, since Donald picks up the first book he is stating various names of untranslatable town names so if you don't understand, no problem, it's just a list of names.
- Note: Don't forget to be polite. "Muito obrigado" = "Thank you very much" in which "obrigado" = "thank you".
- Did you know, after José finishes hugging Donald, he says "Welcome, my dear"?
- Bilingual Dialogue: José speaks fluent Portuguese (the Brazilian dialect, naturally).
- Bowdlerization: Video releases of the film have quite awkwardly removed a cigarette Goofy had in the El Gaucho Goofy segment. The uncensored version of the whole movie was later included as a bonus feature on Walt and El Grupo, a documentary about the Good Neighbor trip.note
- Chewing the Scenery: Donald is doing this in Lake Titicaca.
- Color Motif: José's Green and Yellow design implements the colours of the Brazilian flag.
- Creator Cameo: Walt Disney himself! In live-action! In a Disney movie!
- Disney Death: Pedro appears to have crashed after he runs out of fuel in a storm, but somehow shows up in the end.
- Everything's Better with Llamas: During the "Lake Titicaca" scene.
- Fan of the Underdog: José is overjoyed to meet Disney's perennial Butt-Monkey Donald Duck.
- Gargle Blaster: Donald drinking a glass of Cachaça in one go, which prompts a Fire-Breathing Diner moment.
- Gaucho: in "El Gaucho Goofy"
- Have a Gay Old Time: The original poster stated that the movie was Walt Disney's "gayest musical Technicolor feature".
- Hypocritical Humor: The narrator of "El Gaucho Goofy" describes the habitat of the North American cowboy, while showing mostly billboards and oil drills."From the wind-swept plains of Montana, to the sun-baked banks of the Rio Grande, over countless miles of mountains and prairie, untouched and unsullied by the mercenary hand of civilization..."
- Interactive Narrator: The narrator of the Pedro segment.Narrator: (on Pedro) His mother and father will be proud of him. What a natural!Narrator: Maybe I shouldn't have said that.
- Also, the narrator of the "Lake Titicaca" scene (see Big "SHUT UP!" above).
- It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": José Carioca's name isn't pronounced "Ho-say", but rather "Djo-say", because he (as well as his voice actor, José Cachaça do Patrocínio Oliveira) is from Brazil.
- Left the Background Music On: Goofy begins singing a campfire song in a voice that clearly isn't his. At which point his song starts looping. Pan over to record player with the needle stuck in the groove.
- Like a Duck Takes to Water: Unexpectedly for Goofy, he has no problem being a gaucho.
- Meaningful Name: "Carioca" is a term that can be used to describe people from Rio de Janeiro, of which José is.
- More specifically the city. The gentillic for people born in the state, but outside the city of Rio, is "fluminense".
- Mickey Mousing: The second song in Aquarela do Brasil starts with José's various body movements tied to different instruments.
- Motor Mouth: José Carioca in his introduction just starts rambling on in Portuguese. Donald uses a ton of dictionaries in his attempts to keep up before José finally switches to English.
- My Card: José introduces himself this way. When he asks for Donald's card, he's presented with a playing card... with Donald's name on the back.
- No Fourth Wall: In the first short, Donald and the narrator have a conversation.
- Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Averted and played straight. José Carioca has a very convincing Brazilian accent (he is, after all, voiced by a native Brazilian, José Oliveira). Said accent, unfortunately, is Paulista (from São Paulo), instead of the expected Carioca (from Rio de Janeiro).
- Also averted like hell in the Japanese dub, of all things: Ryusei Nakao (Jose) managed to speak Japanese with a notable Brazilian accent in his voice.note This is somewhat subverted as all the scenes when Jose speaks Portuguese were left untranslated from the original version.
- The Mexican Spanish "dub" is a really bizarre case: Donald, Goofy and José's voices were voiced by their original voice actors, and as such, they keep their native accents and the only dubbed voice was the from the narrator instead.
- Overly Long Gag: José rambles on in Portuguese for almost 40 seconds. Donald is up to his neck in Portuguese-English dictionaries trying to understand, when José simply says "Or as you Americans say: 'Let's go see the town'". Which he really is saying, he's just being a bit more excited about it in Portuguese and listing off all the individual places in Rio that they should go see.
- Painting the Medium: Both of the last two segments do a bit of this. Several of the scene transitions in El Gaucho Goofy push around the characters, while Aquarela do Brasil is a bit more literal. Donald even takes some of the paint off of José as he's being drawn and uses it to draw his own picture, causing the artist to draw a pool behind Donald and knock him into it.
- The Pampas: the location in the gaucho segment.
- Repetitive Audio Glitch: In "El Gaucho Goofy", where it turns out Goofy was lip-syncing a romantic song.
- Rewind Gag: Two examples: In "Lake Titicaca" when the boy with the llama plays his flute in reverse and the llama's animation runs in reverse; and in "Gaucho Goofy" when Goofy catching an ostrich is run back so it could be shown in slow-motion.
- Shown Their Work: Arguably the point of the film - each segment presents itself like a documentary and details the research done by the cartoonists.
- Stylistic Suck: Look at Donald's drawing; he's not nearly as skilled a cartoonist as the artist drawing José Carioca.
- Talking Animal: The ostriche and horse in the gaucho segment.
- Tuckerization: José Carioca note is named after his Brazilian voice actor, José do Patrocínio Oliveira, who was also known by the pseudonym Zé Carioca.
- Unexplained Recovery: Pedro the plane runs out of fuel and goes down but somehow makes it back to his parents.. nothing is said to explain this whatsoever.Narrator: Well, don't ask me how he did it.