A pair of lesser-known (but still enjoyable) Disney features from the 40's, "Saludos Amigos" ('43) and "The Three Caballeros" (1945) are two Disney shorts that see characters heading for adventures South of the border. Both films were an attempt to extend some good will to Latin American countries, where much of the population were already fans of the studio's offerings. "Saludos" was given three Oscar noms: Best Sound, Original Music Score and Best Song for "Saludos Amigos"; "Three" was given Oscar noms for for Original Music Score and Best Sound.
In both films, live-action footage ties together different animated shorts, many of whom star popular characters like Donald and Goofy. "Saludos" offers "El Gaucho Goofy", "Aquarela do Brasil", "Lake Titicaca" and "Pedro". "Three Caballeros" offers a series of shorts, including: "The Cold-Blooded Penguin", "The Flying Gauchito", "Bahia", "Las Posadas", "Mexico: Patzcuaro, Veracruz And Acapulco", "You Belong To My Heart" and "Donald's Surreal Reverie." The funniest segment of the bunch remains "Lake Titicaca", which sees Donald constantly running into his usual brand of difficulty during a trip to Latin America.
VIDEO: Both films are presented on this release in their original 1.33:1 full-frame aspect ratio. Image quality is fine, as while the presentations were not without some expected concerns (given the age of the films), they looked pretty good, considering. Sharpness and detail looked moderately pleasing, as while the films never looked crystal clear (nor were they expected to be), they appeared crisp more often than not. The live-action scenes fared a bit worse, looking noticably softer.
Print flaws included some minor specks, marks and the occasional light scratch. While there was certainly some minor-to-mild wear visible, the presentation did appear less worn than I'd expect, given the age. Some slight artifacting was noticed, but no edge enhancement was seen. Colors looked satisfactory during the animated scenes, but can look noticably or very noticably faded and/or smeary during the live-action clips (which look like old home movies.)
SOUND: The films have been given a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack that seems unnecessary when a remastered mono soundtrack would have been sufficient for animated films from the '40's. Audio quality was acceptable, as while dialogue and music were clear, they could seem noticably thin and brittle at times.
EXTRAS: "South of the Border with Walt Disney" 33-minute featurette, a very short Walt Disney CBC Interview and two bonus shorts ("Don Donald", "Contrary Condor") and previews for other Disney titles.
Final Thoughts: While not among the studio's finest efforts, "Three" and "Saludos" are fun features that Disney fans will be pleased to add to their collection in one package. Recommended.