A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that one caballero smokes a cigar, another one shoots his guns in the air when he's excited (no one gets hurt), and the third, Donald Duck, ogles women in a number of scenes. That said, it's a wonderful surprise that these two 1940s classics are so enamored of Latin American cultures, their art, and their music. There are a couple of scary animated scenes for young ones: A baby mail plane almost crashes, and Donald and his llama almost fall off a very high bridge.
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What's the story?
In the 1940s, Walt Disney took a plane with 18 artists, musicians, and writers on a tour of South America and Mexico. The result was SALUDOS AMIGOS, a mix of travelogue, animated shorts, and live dance numbers mixed with animation. In the follow-up, THE THREE CABALLEROS, Donald Duck gets a big birthday box from Latin America. Inside he finds travel guides that he literally jumps right into -- and proceeds to meet up with two other caballeros: Jose Caroica the samba-ing parrot and Panchito the Mexican rooster. More traditional dancing, bird watching, and Latin American travel ensue, mixed with more animated shorts featuring both familiar Disney characters and new ones like Pedro the baby mail plane.
Is it any good?
These two films offer delightful armchair travel for absolutely everyone. There's dancing, singing, bird watching, fine arts, native dress, rodeos, mountains, beaches, the pampas, big cities, and even wilder sights like flying donkeys in horse races and baby planes that deliver the mail. And somehow the eclectic mix works -- a bit better in The Three Caballeros, but they're still both enjoyable.
One of the best shorts is Jose Caroica the parrot dancing with live samba dancers. It's a loving tribute to Rio with simultaneous kid appeal. Some dance numbers drag on a little long, but then the Disney artists come up with new animated inspiration, working llamas, gauchos, penguins, and the treacherous mountains of Chile into their stories. These love letters to Latin America are classics worth revisiting with the next generation. Don't forget your dancing shoes.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about things they learned about Latin America. Also, what kind of music did you like best? If you could go to a different country and bring your sketchpad, what would you draw? Families can also discuss what makes these cartoons seem older than current Disney movies. What things in these films would you be surprised to see in modern ones? Why?
- In theaters: February 6, 1943
- On DVD or streaming: April 28, 2008
- Cast: Fred Shields, Jose Oliveira, Walt Disney
- Director: Norman Ferguson
- Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Music and Sing-Along
- Run time: 113 minutes
- MPAA rating: G
- Last updated: December 17, 2019
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