The Three Caballeros
is a 1944 animated feature
film, produced by Walt Disney
and distributed by RKO Radio Pictures
. The seventh animated feature
in the Disney animated features canon
, that plots an adventure through parts of Latin America
, combining live-action and animation
Produced as part of the studio's good will message for South America, but less obviously propagandistic. The film again starred Donald Duck, who in the course of the film is joined by old friend José Carioca, the cigar-smoking parrot from Saludos Amigos (1943) representing Brazil, and later makes a new friend in the persona of pistol-packing rooster Panchito Pistoles, representing Mexico.
The music of the Mexican part was written by Mexican composer Manuel Esperon, who wrote the score for over 540 Mexican movies in the Golden Age of Mexican Cinema. Walt Disney, after having seen his success in the Mexican movie industry, called him personally to ask him to participate in the movie. The main song for the Mexican part is "Ay Jalisco, No Te Rajes!", one of Esperon's most famous songs.
Several Latin American stars of the period appear, including singers Aurora Miranda (sister of Carmen Miranda) and Dora Luz, as well as dancer Carmen Molina.
The film is plotted as a series of self-contained segments, strung together by the device of Donald Duck opening birthday gifts from his Latin American friends.
The film premiered in Mexico City on December 21, 1944. It was released in the USA on February 3, 1945. It was re-released in the USA on April 15, 1977.
The film received two Academy Award nominations for Original Music Score and Best Sound.
Worldwide release dates
- Mexico: December 21, 1944 (Mexico City)
- Brazil: December 24, 1944
- Australia: December 7, 1945
- Canada: January 17, 1946
- U.K.: March 18, 1946
- Spain: February 17, 1947
- Sweden: March 28, 1947
- France: April 21, 1948
- Netherlands: October 7, 1948
- Hong Kong: March 17, 1949
- Italy: July 14, 1949
- Finland: May 18, 1951
- West Germany: December 14, 1954
- Austria: September 2, 1955
- Philippines: December 13, 1956
- Japan: March 10, 1959
- Senegal: May 9, 1967
- Kuwait: November 22, 1989
- Central African Republic: October 16, 1994
- Armenia: December 24, 1996
The film's segments include:
- The Cold-Blooded Penguin involved a penguin named Pablo, who is so fed up with the freezing conditions of the South Pole that he decides to leave for warmer climates.
- The Flying Gauchito involved the adventures of a little boy from Argentina and his winged donkey, Burrito.
- Bahia involved a pop-up book trip through Salvador, the capital of the Brazilian state of Bahia, as Donald Duck and José Carioca meet up with some of the locals who dance an interesting samba and Donald starts pining for one of the females in the group.
- Las Posadas was the story of a group of Mexican children who celebrated Christmas by re-enacting the journey of Mary and Joseph searching for room at the inn. "Posada" means "inn", and they are told "no posada" at each house until they come to one where they are offered shelter in a stable. This leads to festivities including the breaking of the piñata, which in turn leads to Donald Duck trying to break the piñata as well.
- Mexico: Pátzcuaro, Veracruz and Acapulco Panchito gives Donald and Jose a tour of Mexico on a flying zarape. Several Mexican dances and songs are learned here. A key point to what happens later is that Donald seems to be a "wolf" to the ladies again, hounds down every single one he sees, and tries to gain return affections, but fails.
- You Belong To My Heart The skies of Mexico result in Donald falling in love with a singing woman, and leads to scenarios that resemble acid trips or being high of the sort, literally. It is believe the woman singer is Dora Luz. The lyrics in the song itself play parts in the scenarios as to what is happening as well.
- Donald's Surreal Reverie A kiss, or several to be exact, lead to Donald going into the phrase "Love is a drug." This scene is similar to Pink Elephants on Parade, for being a major "drunk" scene. Donald constantly invisions sugar rush colors, flowers, and Panchito and Jose popping in at the worst moments. The scene changes after Donald manages to dance with who could be a Zandunga dancer, but the "drunkness" slows down for a moment, but speeds up again when a Mexican girl uses a conductors stick to make Cacti do just about anything. This is a notable scene for live action and cartoon animation mixing, and well animation among the cacti. The scene is interrupted when Panchito and Jose spice things up, and Donald ends up battling a toy bull with wheels on its legs. The catch is that it's loaded with firecrackers and other explosives.
The song "You Belong To My Heart
" was featured in a Disney short called Pluto's Blue Note
(1947). It was later recorded by Bing Crosby
. The songs "Baia" and the title song became popular hit tunes in the 1940s.
Some clips from this film were used in the "Welcome to Rio" portion of the Mickey Mouse Disco music video.
Don Rosa wrote two sequels in 2000 and 2006. Maybe as a result, as of September 2006, Panchito and José Carioca, have returned at Walt Disney World where they used to appear for meet and greets. They can only be found outside the Mexico pavilion in World Showcase at Epcot. Donald also appears with them.
In April 2007, the film became the basis for a ride at the Mexican pavilion at Walt Disney World's Epcot named Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros.
This was one of the many films featured in Donald Duck's 50th Birthday