DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com Music & Musicals at Amazon.com.
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main


Norman Ferguson
Sterling Holloway, Clarence Nash, Joaquin Garay
Writing Credits:
Homer Brightman, Ernest Terrazas, Ted Sears, Bill Peed, Ralph Wright, Elmer Plummer, Roy Williams, William Cottrell, Del Connell, James Bodrero

Donald receives his birthday gifts, which include traditional gifts and information about Brazil and Mexico.

Rated NR.

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 72 min.
Price: $49.99
Release Date: 1/30/2018

Available as Part of a Two-Film Collection

• None


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver;
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


The Three Caballeros [Blu-Ray] (1945)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 22, 2022)

Due to declining fortunes, the Disney animation studio underwent “belt-tightening” after 1942’s Bambi. This led to seven years of “meat and potatoes” releases, a trend that started with 1943’s animation/live-action hybrid Saludos Amigos.

That one took viewers to South America, a then largely untapped fan base. Disney visited that continent again – along with Central America as well - for a similar film, 1945’s The Three Caballeros.

It seems it's Donald Duck's birthday and he's received a present of some South and Central American materials, the foremost being a movie projector and screen. This allows him to view cartoons that we watch as well.

After two shorts, however, Jose Carioca springs up and the film takes a very different turn. At that point, the entire project veers into the same direction as the "Aquarela Do Brasil" segment in Amigos.

Caballeros essentially becomes an elaborate, story-less musical that depicts songs and culture in which Donald, Jose and Panchito - a manic new character who appears only in this film and who rounds out the group to make them the three caballeros - romp through various scenarios. They sing songs and interact with others who dance and sing as well.

To be frank, I find these sequences clever, inventive and well-executed but ultimately tiresome and uninteresting. Much of the picture seems repetitive.

No, the songs and sequences aren't identical, but they look enough alike that they all start to run together. The style worked well for the short in Amigos, but it receives too much emphasis here and the entire project goes downhill because of it.

At least Fantasia offered some widely varying styles, but the same does not occur here and I honestly have a hard time making it through this film.

One notable aspect of these scenes comes from the technology used. Many of the musical sequences of Caballeros combine live action characters and animated personalities.

We think nothing of this today, but nearly 80 years ago it was a big deal. Essentially two techniques were used. Some scenes involve rear projection.

The animation was completed first then projected while the live actors worked in front of it. This works decently well but suffers from the degradation of the animated image, as it now becomes second generation.

Still, considering my modern eyes are much more sophisticated in terms of special effects viewing than would have been expected at the time, the scenes succeed.

The other technique seems even stronger. In those instances, the live footage was shot first and the animation was composited on top of it.

This method helps eliminate the fuzziness found on the rear projected scenes, and it makes the characters integrate better with the actors. Of course, it's also more complicated and expensive, which is why it wasn't used exclusively. In any case, the technological strides made by Cabelleros were big and the film uses them effectively.

It's too bad the movie itself is a bit of a dud. Caballeros is well-executed and technically proficient, but that doesn't alleviate the fact the material itself gets old pretty quickly. Saludos Amigos offers enough fun to withstand repeated viewings, but Three Caballeros is something I probably won't revisit too many times in the future.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B-/ Bonus F

The Three Caballeros appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.33:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie offered an appealing presentation.

Sharpness worked well for the most part, with only the occasional scenes that mixed live-action and animation as modest exceptions. Those showed a bit of softness, though they remained more than adequate.

No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects materialized, and I saw no edge haloes. Print flaws failed to create concerns.

Colors became a highlight, as the movie depicted a broad palette. The hues seemed lively and vivid.

Blacks were deep and dense, while shadows looked smooth. This turned into a pleasing transfer.

The film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack held up well for its age. This remixed the original monaural material – not included here, unfortunately – in a minor way.

Indeed, the track remained “broad mono” from start to finish. Music spread gently to the sides but didn’t have much to do, and as far as I could tell, most of the effects stayed centered.

Surrounds added a bit of reinforcement but they seemed passive. The 5.1 track gave us a modest extension of the monaural source and didn’t add any memorable imaging.

Dialogue sounded warm and pretty natural on a fairly consistent basis. Effects were relatively lively for a dated soundtrack, and the music generally seemed clean and bright. Overall, the audio wasn't special, but it worked fine for its age – though I’m disappointed the original monaural track failed to appear here.

How did the Blu-ray compare to the prior DVD? The BD included a lossless 5.1 remix, whereas the DVD came with a lossy 5.1 track.

Don’t expect huge differences. As noted, the 5.1 version didn’t use the various channels in a dynamic way, and the limitations of the 1940s source meant only modest growth in terms of audio quality, though at least the 5.1 version lacked the distortion that impacted the DVD.

Visuals became a different matter, as the Blu-ray looked better defined, smoother and more vivid. It offered a good upgrade.

Unfortunately, no extras appear here. Not that the DVD included many, but we got nothing on the BD.

Ultimately, Three Caballeros offers a mildly entertaining program that boasts some high points but often drags and seems monotonous. The Blu-ray provides very good picture and positive audio but it lacks bonus materials. Disney diehards will like this one but others seem likely to take less from it.

Also note that Caballeros hit Blu-ray as an exclusive for the “Disney Movie Club”. If you click the links on this page, you can buy a third-party copy through Amazon, but the Disney Movie Club offers the cheapest way to get it – assuming you want to buy other Disney discs as well.

To rate this film, visit the prior review of THREE CABALLEROS