Wednesday, September 9, 2009

"Saludos Amigos" and "The Making of Walt & El Group Panel Discussion

On Tuesday I attended the American Cinematheque's "The Making of Walk & El Groupo" panel discussion about the upcoming documentary. I had first heard of this documentary by running into one of its crew members at a random party; I overheard him talking to someone about Walt Disney's 1941 trip to South America. I had heard of the film the trip had produced, "Saludos Amigos," but had only seen one flip book with a sequence of the film. (The flip book had a Mickey Mouse cartoon on the other side I think, and I don't remember where we got such a thing.)

The documentary, directed by Frank Thomas' son Ted Thomas, visits the same places that the Disney artists went to on their tour. We saw snippets of the documentary which featured footage and artwork from the 1941 trip. A brand new 35mm print of "Saludos Amigos" was screened afterward, and it was great to see where all the designs and music and dances had come from. The documentary also follows Mary Blair's transformation into one of Disney's favorite artists as a result of this trip.

I'm going to go see the documentary this weekend, so I'll talk about it later. Here's the trailer:

For the benefit of those who were born after 1942, I've included the four segments of "Saludos Amigos" below.

Donald Duck Visits Lake Titicaca

This is where my flip book was from! It was the segment where Donald bows to the boy and gets his hat fills up with water. I don't know why this whole film isn't better known (to my generation,) perhaps because it is a collection of shorts?

Donald's lip sync is so . . casual! "El Groupo" features much of Mary Blair's sketches and water colors, and you can see them faithfully translated in townspeople here. You can also see the work of the artists who did NOT go on the trip, such as the dancing llama sequence. I can see them nodding and smiling at the descriptions and photos of these animals - then designing something that looks like a shaggy pool toy.

Mary Blair

and some of her new-found Parrot friends. It seems that Mary illustrated many of the golden books I grew up on.


I frikkin loved this one! Wonderful character animation for his brave little struggle. Totally makes up for the fact that you nothing about Chile except that it has a mountain. The narrator gets a little toooooo into things, I can see the poor man shaking and convulsing in his sound booth. He reminded me for a second of the Mickey and the Bean Stalk narrator - but only for a second.

I'll do the other two shorts and the panel tomorrow. Got work to do.

1 comment:

  1. i saw el grupo. the AE 2.5d photos were really, really, good.