DVD Review: CLASSIC CABALLEROS COLLECTION
Posted on Apr 28 2008 by Greg
A few days ago, I was listening to a 1944 episode of the grand old radio spectacular, Lux Radio Theater
, a dramatization of the movie Springtime in the Rockies
in which Betty Grable and Dick Powell croon through a formula backstage musical. Cutting through the musical mayonnaise like spicy salsa was Carmen Miranda. Seemingly out of nowhere, rhythmic guitars broke through as if someone had changed radio stations.
Imagine how amazing that must have seemed to wartime Americans who were bringing more of the outside world into their homes with the relatively new radio medium. Diversity was in its infancy. People were discovering the richness of other cultures.
Viewed from this standpoint, both Saludos Amigos and The Three Caballeros
deserve far more landmark status than is generally afforded them. Walt Disney, because of a U.S. Government arrangement, flew to South America with a group of great artists and really brought back a feast of music, imagery and culture.
Saluting SaludosSaludos Amigos
is often superseded by its follow-up film, The Three Caballeros
, a more dazzling bonanza of special effects and live-action and animation wizardry. Saludos has the extra punch of footage of Disney artists flying with Walt into various locations. And it was the succcess that lead to Caballeros
. Through the first film Walt was instrumental in bringing hit latin music to the states, like "Tico Tico," which became a standard -- and even is performed in the aforementioned Springtime in the Rockies
Both films are loaded to the brim with great music that influenced much of the contemporary music of today. Thankfully, the new DVD boasts much better sound than the predecessors. The new disc is recommended if only for the meticulous improved soundtrack. The picture looks better too, but the sound is dramatically improved. Even the "South of the Border" short film, which uses Bambi
score music in the background, has better sound (click here
to see Mary Blair and other great artists playing a matchbox game).
Some features but not all
If you have the laserdisc and hopefully can still play it, hold on to it because there are some features not included on this new disc or the previous ones. These differ from the earlier DVDs in minor ways, but I can't part with mine because I really like the packaging, featuring each film separately -- they seem more important that way.
One other recommendation: the Saludos Amigos
audio album recorded in South America and released on the Disneyland label in the 1950s. It was a rare find but now you can get it on iTunes
. It's not the soundtrack, but a very excellent studio version of the songs and background themes from both movies.