Disney Animated Features
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Release Date: 3 February 1945
When this film was released, it had been two years since Walt Disney's previous big-screen effort, Saludos Amigos, yet World War II was still going on and still affecting the company in similar ways. Most of the Walt Disney Company's (already reduced) efforts were directed at creating patriotic shorts, many starring Donald Duck. But they did manage to find some time to get this film produced.
Speaking of Donald Duck, he serves as the common element for each of the segments in this film. He is once again joined by his Brazilian cousin José Carioca (a parrot), as he had been in Saludos Amigos. Also joining the two is a Mexican rooster named Panchito. The other two birds are present to help celebrate the Duck's birthday, and they do so via several Latin American-themed segments.
The character of Panchito is an interesting addition to the Donald-José team. In Saludos Amigos, and, in fact, until Panchito's arrival in this film, José is a good, honest friend to Donald. But when Panchito shows up, he and José team up against the poor Duck, taunting and teasing him rather relentlessly. Then again, it's been a long, long time since I saw this film; maybe my young mind exaggerated the maliciousness of Panchito's acts.
This film combines live-action with cartoons, notably a couple of segments that feature Carmen Miranda dancing with Donald. In these, and other segments, the film proves that it had been done well, but again, it is not up to the quality of the first five Disney Animated Features.
Like so many of Disney's films before it, The Three Caballeros ("Horsemen") was nominated for Academy Awards: Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture and Best Sound, Recording.
Information for the Disney Animated Features series of nodes comes from the IMDb (www.imdb.com), Frank's Disney Page (http://www.informatik.uni-frankfurt.de/~fp/Disney/), and the dark recesses of my own memory. Thanks also to the Babelfish (http://babelfish.altavista.digital.com).