Looney Tunes: Golden Collection Vol. 4
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Looney Tunes: Golden Collection Volume 4 (DVD)
More Looney Tunes. Your wish is our command. Because in this 4-disc set are 60 more of the most looneytic Looney Tunes ever unleashed on rabbits, pigs, mice or cats. Indeed, some have never before been on home video! Disc 1 features the tall, gray and haresome one. Disc 2 is all pig. Disc 3 is all about Speedy. And Disc 4 is the cats meow. One thing: to watch these, you must be as tall as this sign. Wrong disclaimer. Read the one in the box below. Got the idea? Now have fun]]>
Like previous installments, the Looney Tunes Golden Collection, Volume 4 mixes favorites from the Warner Bros. archives with relatively obscure older works. Chuck Jones' "Mississippi Hare" and Friz Freleng's "Sahara Hare" and "Knighty-Knight Bugs" (which won an Oscar) offer hilarious performances by Bugs. Two of Jones' earliest films, "The Night Watchman" and "Conrad the Sailor" prefigure his use of subtle expressions in his later cartoons. The disc of shorts by Frank Tashlin includes "Plane Daffy": pigeon see-duck-tress Hatta Mari anticipates Jayne Mansfield in such later Tashlin live-action comedies as Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?
Not all of these films have aged as gracefully. Younger viewers will probably not catch the references to Charlie McCarthy, Bill Robinson, and other old film and radio stars. The Speedy Gonzalez cartoons feature ethnic humor that seems embarrassing today; it's also crashingly unfunny. Each disc offers a disclaimer about stereotypes, noting, "they were wrong then and are wrong today."
The discs are loaded with extras that range from a partial set of storyboards for "Sahara Hare" to three of the "Private Snafu" shorts, which were made for the "Army-Navy Screen Magazine" during WW II. The oddest extra is the documentary Bugs Bunny Superstar, which infuriated many of the Warner Bros. artists when it was released in 1977. Much of its information should be taken with a grain of salt. (Unrated, suitable for ages 6 and older: cartoon violence, some ethnic stereotypes, mild risqué humor, alcohol & tobacco use) --Charles Solomon
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Top customer reviews
The Golden Collection in my opinion is a fascinating series of DVD's spotlighting the Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies series of cartoons. I own all of the volumes that were released. One of the things that I liked about the series was the extra's. I think I've played and re-played and re-re-played several of those "Behind The Tunes" segments on all the Volumes. The history that's presented and the comments from those who were there or those who are part of today's cartoon world are captivating (at least I think so).
The critically maligned "Bugs Bunny: Superstar" documentary, from 1975, is broken into two parts on Disc 1 and Disc 2. I happen to like the documentary, if for the only reason, is that I love seeing the clips of the directors/animators from a point in time where they hadn't really experienced the fame and glory that was to come as younger people became more and more fascinated with the whole body of Warner Brothers cartoons. Of course, the Warner Brothers cartoons had been airing on TV since the early '60s, but even by 1975 the cartoons had become increasingly pushed as "children's programming" and weren't taken as serious works of art or entertainment and their weren't any lavish praise heaped upon the Warner cartoons and those who worked on them like their is today. Why was this documentary maligned by critics? Well, it has to do with some of the commentary made by a few of the participants who either took credit for things they shouldn't have or omitted credit where credit should've been given.
Orson Welles narrates the documentary.
Each cartoon director that went through the studio and had any considerable time-span has their 'followers' even today. There's the fans of the wild, zany cartoons epitomized in the works of Tex Avery, Bob Clampett, Norm McCabe, and Robert McKimson. Frank Tashlin's cartoons have a live-action flavor. I was not familiar with Tashlin's cartoons due to how they rarely, if ever, played on TV and so I learned quite a lot about him in this Volume...he has a disc all to himself. There are a few extra features displaying sketches made by Tashlin for children's books...with animation edited in. June Foray narrates the story of "Little Chic's Wonderful Mother" while Stan Freberg narrates "Tony and Clarence".
Later, after I purchased the previous release, Volume 3, I found out even more thanks to the documentary called Tish Tash: The Animated World of Frank Tashlin.
It should be pointed out that I didn't purchase these Golden Collections in numerical order.
Friz Freleng and Chuck Jones are the two directors from the studio that garner the most acclaim and attention. A lot of that has to do with their longevity with the studio but also because their cartoons were often aired on television the most for 3 decades. It should also be noted that Freleng's cartoons won the most Academy Awards for Warner Brothers, a total of 4: Tweetie Pie, Speedy Gonzales, Knighty Knight Bugs, and Birds Anonymous.
Friz Freleng gets spotlighted on a documentary called "Friz on Film". It's a wonderfully done salute to arguably the best director from the Golden Age of Warner Brothers Animation in terms of stats, accolades, and total body of work. Freleng directed just about all the Warner cartoon characters at some point or another with a large percentage of his work concerning Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tweety and Sylvester, Yosemite Sam, and Speedy Gonzales.
Speedy was created by Robert McKimson (who directed the character's debut and some later cartoons from the studio's final years) but Freleng directed the ones considered by historians to be the most popular. In this documentary, as well as in other extra features that elaborate on Freleng, the creation of Yosemite Sam is almost always discussed. His peers and colleagues routinely state that the character is a complete duplication of the real-life Friz Freleng. His daughter remarks that Friz had red hair in his younger days and that he had a temper and several animators affectionately recall Friz being impatient, fuming, pacing a lot, and anxious during the animation process.
Friz himself, in archive footage, laughs about his tyrannical reputation during the production of the cartoons but remarks that he obtained that reputation due to his perfectionism and insisting that the cartoons come across exactly as he envisioned. The character of Sam, by the way, was created as a replacement for Elmer Fudd.
Chuck Jones, in addition to his many contributions to Warner Brothers cartoons, did a lot of mostly seasonal animation projects and specials away from Warner Brothers from the early '60s through the early '70s that often play on cable television annually to this day and that's probably a big reason why his name is much more recognizable by those outside the audiences of Warner cartoons. He did critically acclaimed work for MGM. The crowning achievement away from Warner Brothers, in hindsight, would be his adaptation of "How The Grinch Stole Christmas", a story from Dr. Seuss, that plays every year. Jones returned to Warner Brothers in the late '70s and remained a pivotal figure in keeping the public remembering the classic Warner Brothers characters as well as providing newer animation projects utilizing the classic characters.
Jones introduced the world to the Duck Season/Rabbit Season routine and changed the personality of Daffy from being a free-for-all, zany, looney character into a gigantic egomaniac forever jealous of the popularity enjoyed by Bugs Bunny. The fans who love this depiction have Chuck Jones to thank.
The funny thing is that this characterization of Daffy remained constant...being picked up by the other directors...and today Daffy is known as a greedy, vain, egotistical braggart. In his memorable role as Duck Dodgers, Daffy plays the part of the know-it-all hero scolding and blaming his associates for his own incompetence. This is not the Daffy that intrigued movie audiences of the '30s and '40s...but it's a comical stroke of genius all the same.
Jones directed three cartoons that are in the National Film Registry: Duck Amuck, One Froggy Evening, and What's Opera, Doc?. Ironically, those three cartoons didn't win any awards during their original releases, but decades of showings on television and the viewer response to those three in particular elevated them above the other cartoons. Three of his theatrical cartoons did win Academy Awards: For Scent-imental Reasons, So Much For So Little, and The Dot and the Line. Jones won an Honorary Academy Award in 1996 for career/lifetime achievement.
One of the things about these Golden Collections is that the work of the directors are on full display and you're able to enjoy the various styles and characterizations associated with specific animators and directors. Until these collections started being released it was next to impossible to see cartoons from Frank Tashlin, for example, or see Norm McCabe's earliest work for the studio.
The four disc's, like the 4 disc's in the previous collections, all follow a specific theme:
1. Bugs Bunny Favorites
2. A Dash of Tashlin
3. Speedy Gonzales in a Flash
4. Kitty Korner
The "Behind the Tunes" segments are exceptional. There are 8 altogether:
1. The Art of the Gag
2. Looney Tunes: A Cast of Thousands
3. One-Hit Wonders
4. Sing-a-Song of Looney Tunes
5. Wild Lines: The Art of Voice Acting
6. Twilight in Tunes: The Music of Raymond Scott
7. Powerhouse in Pictures
8. Fifty Years of Bugs Bunny in Three and a Half Minutes
These days, the kids are watching mind numbing, PC to the point of exclusion, educational cartoons at every turn. The fail to show humor, they fail to show it is ok to laugh at ourselves and to embrace our differences that make us who we are. They fail to show just plain old humor, and human nature. And, when a child goes out into the world, they do not know how to handle other people's differences when they encounter those situations. Bugs Bunny makes it all good.
My husband and I were commenting on this one day. How the cartoons are not the same as they used to be. We discovered that both of our favorite episode was the one with Yosemite Sam and his "stupid" dragon. We went on a search of this episode which brought us to this purchase. We now have two Looney Tunes anthologies. And, our kids love them, it is a great family time to share. There are historical and literary references that I also feel teach them. But, most of all it is the healing laughter we all enjoy. Plus, we have to explain to our children the meaning behind some of those references, and how society has come to deal with it.
We love this Collection, and will undoubtedly be back for more.
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