El Groupo Comments
by Maggie Richardson
I found Walt and El Grupo a fascinating and meticulously made film. For me, it was like looking at a live action family album. I was captivated, not only by the images of my aunt and uncle (Mary and Lee Blair), but also of the larger “family” – those extraordinarily talented individuals hand -picked by Walt Disney to make this historic journey together.
The audience was treated to a very personal and human view of Walt Disney, the man, who, despite his grief over the recent death of his father and the burden of the Strike back home, truly enjoyed being in the company of “El Grupo”. We felt the camaraderie and genuine affection between Walt and his artists as we watched their exuberant “play” together through wonderful scenes of dancing, bicycling, water skiing, playing local games and running on the beach.
I most especially enjoyed viewing the current footage of the places they visited superimposed over the old filmed images of those same spots…..and to see that they have hardly changed at all! – as if frozen in time. It made me want to see and experience for myself the landscapes and people that became the catalyst for my Aunt Mary’s “explosion of color” which would change the course and expression of her art forever.