The Three Caballeros

The Three Caballeros (1945)
Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Cast: Aurora Miranda, Carmen Molina, Dora Luz
Extras: Theatrical Trailer, Bonus Cartoons ’Don’s Fountain of Youth’ and ’Pueblo Pluto’

At the height of World War Two, Walt Disney took a group of his artists and headed south to Latin America to conduct research for new animated features. It was hoped that these movies would promote Pan-American unity during this time of great uncertainty and help bolster the nation’s Good Neighbor Policy through cross-cultural exchange. The resulting films were ’Saludos Amigos,’ released in 1943, and ’The Three Caballeros,’ which appeared in 1945.

’The Three Caballeros’ is actually a series of short features that revolve around Donald Duck’s birthday celebration. With the help of the Brazilian parrot, Joe Carioca, and the Mexican rooster, Panchito, Donald gets to experience a little fun, south of the border style. Marking a technological leap for Disney, the movie features live performers alongside their animated counterparts. ’The Three Caballeros’ is full of singing, dancing, and a somewhat crazed style of animation that really set this film apart.

The video on ’The Three Caballeros’ seems flatter than the normal Disney fare from that era and the colors aren’t as vibrant as one might expect given the subject matter. This may be due to the somewhat rushed production that was required for these wartime films. Other than that, there are very few imperfections and this is probably as good a picture as the source materials will allow.

The audio is a very good mono track that is split between the two front speakers. The dialogue is always clear and the abundant music comes across very well.

Extras include the original theatrical trailer and two bonus Disney cartoon’s; ’Don’s Fountain of Youth,’ starring Donald Duck, and ’Pueblo Pluto,’ featuring Mickey Mouse and Pluto.

Part Latin American travelogue, part Copacabana-infused musical revue, ’The Three Caballeros’ is a truly unique film. Fans of the type of Latin music that was popularized in nightclubs and movies during the 1940s will certainly enjoy it. Those looking for a cohesive plot or a more typical Disney feature may be somewhat disappointed. But, as a musical and historical record of its era, ’The Three Caballeros’ stands on its own two pés, er feet.