Looney Tunes Golden Collection Vol.3
The "Looney Tunes Golden Collection" series seems to be better and better with every release. I liked volume one and two, but with the third volume they almost reached the peak of perfection.
We have a great assortment of shorts which, unlike the previous volumes, cover the studio's entire lifetime; I'm also glad to see that they put in many black and white cartoons.
It's just amazing to see how good the restoration of the featured shorts is: they have never looked so good since their original release! The colors are so bright and the picture is so crisp that you can hardly believe they were made more than 60 years ago. It's also remarkable to notice the many details that you couldn't see in the old, faded prints we were accustomed to. And the most important thing is that you can't see the effects of the DVNR process in any of these toons. They also have improved the quality of the packaging and the menus, and of course each disc comes with the traditional assortment of always enjoyable bonus goodies, including music-only tracks and commentaries by Jerry Beck, Greg Ford, Michael Barrier, Eddie Fitzgerald, John Kricfalusi, Mark Kausler, Bill Melendez and many others.
One of the few disappointing things about this set is that only two cartoons ("Daffy Duck and Egghead" and "Speaking of the Weather") have their original openings and title cards restored, while all the others still have their Blue Ribbon reissue titles.
I’d also like to point out that despite that disclaimer on the box, saying that this DVD set may not be suitable for kids, and the rather useless introductions by Whoopi Goldberg (reminiscent of the ones by Leonard Maltin on the Walt Disney Treasures DVDs), the racist and ‘offensive’ scenes are only in two cartoons, “Porky’s Road Race” and “Goofy Groceries”.
DISC 1: Bugs Bunny Classics
Also this year, the first disc is devoted to the wascally wabbit. But there’s more: if you love Bugs, then you’ll be happy to see that this year there isn’t a single disc that doesn’t include at least one Bugs Bunny cartoon. Personally, instead of another disc with Bugs Bunny cartoons, I’d have preferred one disc dedicated to Daffy Duck, but after all, the cartoons on this disc are very good ones, so it’s still okay for me.
On the first disc there are many memorable Bob McKimson cartoons, like the great “Hillbilly Hare”, featuring an extremely funny square dance sequence, “Easter Yeggs” or “Rebel Rabbit”; some Freleng cartoons, like “Hare Force”, “Hare Do”, and “A Hare Grows in Manhattan”, and there’s even space for Art Davis with “Bowery Bugs”.
The last chapter from Chuck Jones’ ‘Hunting Trilogy”, “Duck! Rabbit! Duck!” is also here, along with a documentary about those three cartoons.
This disc also contains three cartoons commonly seen on public domain releases, “The Wabbit Who Came to Supper”, “Case of the Missing Hare”, and “Wackiki Wabbit”, and it’s just amazing to see how beautiful these restored prints are and how different they look from those horrible public domain prints we used to watch.
The bonus features are the documentaries “A Hunting We Will Go: Chuck Jones’ Wabbit Season Twilogy” and “Chuck Amuck”, bridging sequences from the Bugs Bunny Show episode “The Honeymousers” and the recording session for the episode “Ball Point Puns”.
DISC 2: Hollywood Caricatures and Parodies
Like in the second volume, also this year one disc contains a cavalcade of Hollywood-themed cartoons, with also some one-shot musicals.
Included on this disc are two excellent Tex Avery cartoons: “Daffy Duck in Hollywood”, a great cartoon which is now even more enjoyable thanks to the amazing restoration, and the gangster movie spoof “Thugs with Dirty Mugs”, containing some of the best gags I’ve ever seen in a cartoon. Among the cartoons presented here there are some very funny ones, like “She Was an Acrobat’s Daughter”, “The Film Fan”, “Porky’s Road Race”, and “Swooner Crooner”, while “The Coo Coo Nut Grove” and “Hollywood Capers” are pretty bad. Included here are also some Thirties musicals, “The Woods Are Full of Cuckoos”, “Speaking of the Weather” (presented here with its original titles), and Clampett’s first color cartoon, “Goofy Groceries”, whose final scene could be considered the only scene offensive enough to justify the disclaimer on the box.
In the last part of the disc there’s also space for cartoons spoofing TV: “Wideo Wabbit”, “The Honey Mousers”, and “The Last Hungry Cat”, all enjoyable toons. The last cartoon on this disc is “The Mouse that Jack Built”, featuring rodent versions of Jack Benny, Mary Livingston and Rochester with their actual voices, and also the real Jack Benny makes an appearance in the end of the cartoon.
Particularly interesting are the bonus features on this disc: we start with two documentaries, “Bosko, Buddy and the Best of Black and White”, that features a look at the studio’s earliest works, and “Fine Tooning”, explaining the processes used for the restoration of the cartoons; part one of TV special “What’s Up, Doc? A Salute to Bugs Bunny”, which includes the complete cartoon “A Wild Hare” with restored titles. Also included are the first Looney Tune ever made, “Sinkin’ in the Bathtub”, and “It’s Got Me Again!”, the first Warner Bros. cartoon to receive an Academy Award nomination. I’m a bit disappointed because they didn’t give these two cartoons the same treatment as the other ones; in fact, they haven’t even been restored, but I must admit that, while “It’s Got Me Again!” is in poor conditions (and it even has a “Dubbed Version” closing instead of the original one!) “Sinkin’ in the Bathtub” looks pretty good.
DISC 3: Porky and the Pigs
Disc three is my favorite one. It features a look at the whole career of Porky Pig, from the very beginning to his latter years, when his role was reduced to a sidekick for more popular characters like Daffy and Sylvester.
The disc starts with Porky’s first appearance in Friz Freleng’s “I Haven’t Got a Hat”, from 1935; however Porky isn’t the star of the cartoon, it’s just one of the fellas from an Our Gang-like group of kids; not a great cartoon, but still interesting to watch.
We then come to the great “Porky’s Romance” by Frank Tashlin, featuring the debut of Porky’s girlfriend, Petunia, which is, in my opinion, one of the best Porky cartoons. The black & white toons parade continues with two hilarious Bob Clampett cartoons, “Porky’s Party” and “Porky in Egypt”, followed by Hardaway-Dalton’s “Porky and Teabiscuit”.
The last black & white cartoon on this disc is Tashlin’s “Porky Pig’s Feat”, one of my all-time favorite cartoons.
Included in this disc are also three non-Porky cartoons, “Pigs is Pigs”, “Pigs in a Polka”, a musical masterpiece by Friz Freleng, with a perfect synchronization of music and animation, and “The Windblown Hare”, a nice McKimson cartoon starring none other than Bugs Bunny.
We then have “Daffy Duck Slept Here”, one of my all-time favorite McKimson cartoons and two other late-Forties cartoons, “By, Bye, Bluebeard” and “An Egg Scramble”.
The last cartoons feature Porky as Daffy and Sylvester’s sidekick: they are the great “Robin Hood Daffy”, “Claws for Alarm” and “Rocket Squad”, all directed by Chuck Jones.
And now, the bonus features: the documentary “Tish Tash: The Animated World of Frank Tashlin”, the MGM cartoon “The Bear That Wasn’t” directed by Chuck Jones and based on a book by Frank Tashlin, and the Wartime short “Points of Food Rationing”. A nice inclusion is the storyboard of “Porky’s Party”, that contains a few deleted scenes and reveals that, instead of such obscure characters as Goosey and a nameless penguin, the cartoon was originally meant to have Petunia and Gabby Goat .
DISC 4: All-Star Cartoon Party
The last disc contains a good assortment of shorts with various characters. We start with “Daffy Duck and the Dinosaur” an early Daffy cartoon by Chuck Jones. We then come to “Super-Rabbit”, a great Bugs cartoon by Jones, which looks even better thanks to the restoration. The third short is Tex Avery’s classic “Daffy Duck and Egghead”, seen here for the first time with its original title card. What follows are three of the greatest Bob Clampett cartoons: “A Gruesome Twosome”, which is one of the best restoration jobs on this disc (and don’t worry, Tweety is still pink in this cartoon!), “Draftee Daffy”, one of the wackiest cartoons ever released, with superb animation by Rod Scribner, and “Falling Hare”, which is often seen on many public domain DVDs and videos: it’s amazing to compare those old, faded prints to this one, which is wonderfully restored.
The next short is “Steal Wool”, a Chuck Jones cartoon starring Ralph Wolf and Sam Sheepdog. We then come to the Academy Award winner “Birds Anonymous”, by Friz Freleng, which is also the subject of one of the documentaries, followed by two Chuck Jones cartoons, “No Barking” and “Rabbit Punch”.
The last part of this disc starts with another Clampett cartoon, “An Itch in Time”, with a nice restoration. Then we have two cartoon debuts: Pepe le Pew’s in “Odor-Able Kitty” and Foghorn Leghorn’s in “Walky Talky Hawky”, both enjoyable.
And last, but not least, Speedy Gonzales in “Gonzales’ Tamales” and “To Beep or not to Beep”, with Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner.
The bonus features on the fourth disc include three “Behind the Tunes” featurettes: “The Charm of Stink: On the Scents of Pepe le Pew”, “Strictly for the Birds: Tweety & Sylvester Award-Winning Teamup” and “Looney Tunes Go to War!”, plus the rare “Philbert”, a 20 minute pilot for a never produced series that mixed animation and live action, and the storyboard of “Falling Hare”. Also included are three Private SNAFU cartoons, produced strictly for the U.S. Army: “Rumors”, “Snafuperman”, and “Spies”; unfortunately, these cartoons are in a very bad shape, and I don’t know why they used such bad prints, because better ones do exist.
Well, here ends my review, and if you love these classic cartoons, do yourself a favor and buy this wonderful set now!
That's all, folks!