Released in 1942 in Brazil / 1943 in the States, Saludos Amigos (literally Greetings, Friends in Spanish; translated by Disney as Hello Friends) is the sixth movie in the Disney Animated Canon.
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!"
- All Cloth Unravels: In "Lake Titicaca", Donald boards one of the local woven reed boats and notices a loose bit of straw. He pulls at it, causing the boat to unravel and drop Donald in the water.
- Anthology Film: Four animated shorts and a documentary.
- Anti-Climax: "Pedro" ends with the title character finally arriving after risking his life to deliver the mail. Which consists of just a postcard. "Well, it could have been important."
- 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.
- Battle Bolas: In the El Gaucho Goofy segment, Goofy demonstrates how not to be badass with a bolas. American cowboy Goofy gets taken from Texas to the Argentinian pampas by the Narrator to learn the ways of the native gaucho. As part of this process, Goofy learns how to use the bolas to capture a rhea. After the bird is captured, the sequence is shown in slow motion to capture the "grace and beauty" of the action. But, the slow motion only reveals Goofy's clumsiness as he gets himself, his horse, and the bird tangled up together in the bolas.
- 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! Ya 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 However, they keep the gag where Donald breathes fire after drinking cachaça and lights José's cigar.
- Chasing a Butterfly: Early in his segment, Pedro is distracted at school watching a butterfly outside his window. Later, as he's flying back with the mail, he encounters a condor and chases after it, getting him lost and face to face with Mt. Aconcagua.
- 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!
- You can also see such well-known studio artists as color stylist Mary Blair, her husband Lee, and animator Frank Thomas, member of Disney's Nine Old Men.
- Disney Death: Pedro appears to have crashed after he runs out of fuel in a storm, but somehow shows up in the end.
- Fan of the Underdog: José is overjoyed to meet Disney's perennial Butt-Monkey Donald Duck.
- Fast-Forward Gag: After the slow-motion scene in El Gaucho Goofy goes wrong, both the action and the narration speed up. Even after the scene ends, the narrator continues speaking quickly before correcting himself.
- Fire-Breathing Diner: Donald downing a glass of Cachaça, a strong Brazilian liquor, causing him to breathe a stream of fire... Which José promptly uses to light his cigar!José: Muito obrigado! note
- Gargle Blaster: Donald drinking a glass of Cachaça in one go, which prompts a Fire-Breathing Diner moment.
- Gaucho: in "El Gaucho Goofy"
- Genius Loci: Aconcagua, the tallest mountain in South America, is implied to be this in the "Pedro" segment. At the very least, it's shown with a scowling, angry face.
- 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).
- 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 gentilic for people born in the state, but outside the city of Rio, is "fluminense".
- Mickey Mousing:
- The llama in Lake Titicaca moves to the rhythm of a flute played by its handler. Donald tries it, but his off-key playing causes the llama to involuntarily dance a jitterbug.
- The second song in Aquarela do Brasil starts with José's various body movements tied to different instruments.
- Misplaced Wildlife: Subverted. The rhea is at first depicted as an African ostrich, until the narrator points out that it lacks tail plumage, at which point the tail is plucked out.
- 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 (Oliveira hailed from nearby Jundiaí), instead of the expected Carioca.
- Also averted like hell in the Japanese dub, of all things: Ryūsei 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.
- Overcrank: After Goofy manages to snare a rhea with his bolas, the whole scene is rewound and played again in slow motion to show how it was done. It shows Goofy awkwardly bouncing on top of his horse, eventually landing on his spurs. Things go off the rails after that, as the film speeds up and Goofy, his horse and the rhea are all tangled up by the bolas.
- 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.
- Pain-Powered Leap: After Goofy sits on his spurs, he jumps off his horse and ahead of the bolas he just threw, trying to outrun them.
- 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.
- Product Displacement: Among all of the Disney Animated Canon movies that RKO Pictures distributed in theaters, this remains the only one not to include RKO's Vanity Plate on DVD or Disney+. The DVDs simply plastered it with a Buena Vista distribution card, while Disney+ re-timed the opening credits to remain in sync with the music.
- 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.
- Samba: In the "Aquarela do Brasil" short, Jose Carioca teaches Donald Duck about the samba, demonstrating a samba tune and how to perform the accompanying dance.
- Sentient Vehicle: Pedro and his parents are anthropomorphized mail planes.
- 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 ostrich and horse in the gaucho segment each have a brief line. The horse, after hearing that the saddle doubles as a bed for the gaucho, says "Bed?" and rolls over to try it out, lying over Goofy. The ostrich, after the narrator mentions bolas, says to the audience "Did he say bolas? Caramba!" and makes a run for it.
- That Syncing Feeling: On the "Gaucho Goofy" segment, Goofy is singing a traditional Gaucho folk song when the words start repeating, revealing that he was actually lip-synching to a record.
- José Carioca note is named after his Brazilian voice actor, José do Patrocínio Oliveira, who was also known by the pseudonym Zé Carioca.
- The name on the postcard in "Pedro" is Jorge Delano, a prominent Chilean cartoonist who was instrumental in organizing the Chilean leg of the Disney tour.
- 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.