2 February 2011 | MartinHafer
A product inspired by Disney's good will trip to South America.
This is a short that was used to make up the full-length film from Disney, "Melody Time". Following WWII, Disney Studio was a mess--a terrible strike and the war (where many of the workers were drafted and many more were assigned to wartime animation work) decimated the studio and many of the old animators were gone. As a result, Disney did not get back to making traditional animated feature films for several years. In the meantime, their 'full-length' films were really odd compilations of shorts--and of a rather lackluster quality compared to earlier and later work.
Unlike the other shorts from "Melody Time", this one actually was created as a response to Walt Disney's good will tour of South America in 1941 (while the strike was raging at the studio). Several of these shorts that resulted from this visit were crammed together in the rather bland "Saludos Amigos" but for some odd reason, this tribute to Brazil and the Samba was stuck in "Melody Time". Why, I don't know.
It consists of an insane-looking bird who sees two depressed birds (José Carioca and Donald Duck) come to his café. To cheer them up, he introduces him to the Samba--and it IS impossible to be depressed and not want to tap your feet. During this time, you see Smith singing and playing the organ. It's very colorful and lively...but also not all that great. Kids, in particular, would probably hate it, but it is interesting from a historical perspective. Plus, for more information on it, see the documentary "Walt & El Groupo", as it explains this good will trip and talks about some of the things that led to this short being made.
Ethel Smith and the Dinning Sisters.