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  Specs
  • Full Frame
  • Dual Layer ( )
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  • Commentary - English: Dolby Digital Stereo
  • English: Dolby Digital Mono
  • French: Dolby Digital Mono
  • Italian: Dolby Digital Mono
  • Hungarian: Dolby Digital Mono
  • Dutch: Dolby Digital Mono
  Subtitles
    English, French, Italian, Greek, Hungarian, Dutch, Arabic, English - Hearing Impaired, Italian - Hearing Impaired, Croatian, Romanian, Bulgarian, Slovenian
  Extras
  • 5 Audio commentary
  • 3 Featurette
  • Photo gallery
  • Animated menus
  • 4 Music-only track

Looney Tunes Collection - Best of Daffy and Porky

Warner Bros./Warner Home Video . R4 . COLOR . 96 mins . G . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Here we are again with another brilliant collection of short animations from the cats down at Warner Bros. This time around we enjoy the prevailing antics of Daffy Duck and his pal Porky Pig. Well, they aren’t really pals so much, but you know what I mean.

Sorting through the old cartoons to make decisions of what’s best and what ain’t leads to all sorts of ethical and moral dilemmas; what’s funniest to me isn’t necessarily funniest to you, and vice versa. However, it’s safe to say that these selected cartoons will at the very least appeal to everyone on a base level. They’re the first thing we remember getting excited about on television. We’d watch them religiously before school and straight after and we didn’t care how old they were. They’re funny… and the kind of humour used here is of universal appeal. Everyone understands the plight of Daffy, always second fiddle to the bigger star of Bugs Bunny. He’s a loser, trying desperately to get the recognition he deserves, while Bugs just strolls in and usurps what little control he has gained (if any) without even trying. Daffy has to work hard to be good at things and Bugs, non-committal, is good at everything without even trying.

"You’re des-picable…"

Then there’s Porky Pig - he’s the barnyard’s Mr. Big… particularly in the context of George Orwell’s Animal Farm. He’s a fun-spirited pig who just wants the easy life, but unfortunately is usually interrupted by someone or something upsetting his balances. Much like Bugs in that respect, Porky doesn’t swing with the attitude that Bugs does. It’s also rarer to see Porky apply wig and lipstick and try to seduce Elmer Fudd, but that’s another story.

Together they work well as an odd couple, even though they don’t always appear on screen together. Daffy, the nerve-shredding spontaneous one and Porky, the resolute and soft-spoken partner trying to keep him together. It’s a team that balances itself out nicely and some of Warner’s most successful cartoons featured the duo in a variety of situations. Perhaps most notably in the Robin Hood parody (sadly not included here!), Duck Dodgers in the 24½ Century and the classic Scarlet Pumpernickel. The absence of the Robin Hood episode (the actual name eludes me) and the absence of What’s Opera, Doc? from the Bugs Bunny release prompts me to think there are more coming. Perhaps a creme de la crème of Warner’s best, who knows? It’s a shame we’re missing them anyway.

However, what we do receive herein is a visual treat that even the most rabid duck hater or despiser of pigs will love. An amazing array of situations and performances make this more eye-candy than the Bugs disc as Daffy stretches the very boundaries of the cartoon world. See him in Duck Amuck as his very two-dimensional world is destroyed and he leaves the boundaries of the cartoon world behind. Or in the marvelously clever science fiction parody of Duck Dodgers in the 24½ Century as he does battle with Marvin the Martian. A real feast is in store for you during Porky Pig’s adventure Dough For the Do-Do which sees him enter Wackyland, somewhere off the map in Darkest Africa. The entire world is surrealistic and Dali inspired with melting clocks and buildings propped up on crutches. Even enormous eyeballs steadily watch the action in what looks very Dr. Seuss inspired. The do-do characters may also hint a little of early Disney expression, particularly in the little dance routine of the finalé.

As with the Bugs release we get 14 beauties here (with my highlights in bold):

  • Duck Amuck 1951
  • Dough for the Do-Do 1958
  • Drip-Along Daffy 1950
  • Scaredy Cat 1957
  • The Ducksters 1959
  • The Scarlet Pumpernickel 1958
  • Yankee Doodle Daffy 1953
  • Porky Chops 1957
  • Wearing of the Grin 1950
  • Deduce, You Say 1956
  • Boobs in the Woods 1958
  • Golden Yeggs 1959
  • Rabbit Fire 1950
  • Duck Dodgers in the 24½ Century 1952

It’s a bumper collection and one well worth the investigation for anyone who ate their cereal in their PJs at 5:30am on a Saturday morning as TV rolled out the cartoons specifically for a child audience. Everything you ever loved about them is here and with the beautiful restoration work they look even better than you’ll remember them.

  Video
Contract

Superb. Everything looks sensational and as with the Bugs Bunny collection, it is nigh on perfect. Again though, we suffer that curious collection of embedded cel artefacts that slowly crawl their way up the screen. These are particularly visible during the darker screens or shadow shots, but can easily be looked beyond to the cartoon itself.

Colours are so rich you’ll see them when you close your eyes, but they aren’t oversaturated, it’s just the way they used the palette to be more visually appealing and create the feeling of fun. Made for the big screen originally in the 1950s, there’s no real likelihood they used Cinemascope for them, so we see them in the 4:3 format. This doesn’t matter, because the layouts are perfectly accommodating and overall the whole thing looks simply amazing.

  Audio
Contract

The cartoons themselves are only in Dolby Digital mono, but that’s okay. It works just fine. There are no issues with it as far as I could tell. The audio commentaries are delivered in standard stereo though, which seems weird, but mono was how they did it back then and stereo is our basic today.

Dialogue is all clear, with Mel Blanc’s classic characterisations bringing every wet complaint, every scream of despair and every stumbling, grunting inflection to us in an easily understood manner. There really was no-one else like him and he never disappoints. The same could be said for Carl Stalling, who created the scores here for all but one or two, which were scored by Milt Franklyn. They are naturally perfect for the piece, adding weight to the comical action on screen and come across fine in mono with all levels even.

  Extras
Contract

Not as many as appear on others in this series of releases, but a fine collection nevertheless. First up we have a collection of audio commentaries with film historian Michael Barrier. While he certainly knows his stuff, he does get a little flat at times, but the ACs are only as long as each cartoon, so they last maybe seven minutes at best. There are five of these in total and they're worth the listen, but I might recommend you don’t try them back to back.

Music only programs give us just that for four episodes and include: Duck Amuck, Drip-Along Daffy, The Scarlet Pumpernickel and the classic Rabbit Fire.

Three Behind the Tunes featurettes focus each on Daffy and Porky with a third about incidental characters. Hard Luck Duck runs for 3:41 and details the trials of being Daffy, while Porky Pig Roast: A Tribute to the World’s Favourite Ham runs for 3:41. Both feature short snippets of interviews from animators, family and historians and are quite interesting.

The third, Animal Quackers, runs longer at 4:17 and as noted, features dialogue about incidental characters who turn up here like Marvin.

While these featurettes are great, perhaps we may have had excised the same 30 second opener that pads each? The same one appears on the Bugs disc and gets a little annoying when repeated ad nauseum.

Finally, a stills gallery of old model sheets and black and white promotional stuff is worth the look and this runs for 6:40 in the same way a short film does.

So not a huge batch, but some very nice stuff to check out between shorts. These cartoons could have had nothing else with them though and stood alone. They’re awesome.

  Overall  
Contract

Another feather in Warner’s cap, this collection of classics from the 1950s has been dutifully (and beautifully) restored to visually amaze us. There can be little question these look better than ever and are a definite investment for anyone who remembers watching the antics of Daffy and Porky as a child. Hell, even as an adult these are just plain funny and hark back to a type of cartoon that just isn’t made anymore.

Classic stuff that will not disappoint. Brilliant!


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      And I quote...
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    - Jules Faber
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