LOONEY TUNES GOLDEN
As a die-hard Warner Bros. animation fan, I continue to find only one flaw in Warnerís release of these classic animated shorts on DVD. At one collection a year of sixty shorts, it will take more than a decade and a half before every one of these marvelous cartoons finally makes its way home and onto the prevailing digital format of the time. While I may not be the most patient individual out there, I really canít fault Warner Home Video for wanting to make the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies available in the best possible presentations. After all, Warner is investing in the future of the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies by restoring these animated shorts for their release on DVD today and its successor formats tomorrow.
Of course, the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies remain The Holy Grail of classic animation, so the four-disc release of the LOONEY TUNES GOLDEN COLLECTION: VOLUME THREE ($65) leaves fans swimming in a treasure chest filled with the likes of Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Sylvester & Tweety, Foghorn Leghorn, Yosemite Sam, Elmer Fudd, The Road-Runner and Wile E. Coyote. That said, the LOONEY TUNES GOLDEN COLLECTION: VOLUME THREE makes a most welcome addition to any personal library and is certain to tickly fans pink, while creating a new generation of fans as older fans share them with their kids.
Disc one is the is Bugs Bunny Classics and features the following animated shorts: Hare Force (1944), Hare Remover (1946), Hare Tonic (1945), A Hare Grows In Manhattan (1947), Easter Yeggs (1947), The Wabbit Who Came To Supper (1942), Bowery Bugs (1949), Homeless Hare (1950), The Case Of The Missing Hare (1942), Acrobatty Bunny (1946), Wackiki Wabbit (1943), Hare Do (1949), Rebel Rabbit (1949), Hillbilly Hare (1950) and Duck! Rabbit! Duck! (1953).
Disc two is the is Hollywood Caricatures And Parodies and features the following animated shorts: Daffy Duck In Hollywood (1938), Hollywood Capers (1935), The Coo-Coo Nut Grove (1936), Porky's Road Race (1937), The Woods Are Full Of Cuckoos (1937), She Was An Acrobat's Daughter (1937), The Film Fan (1939), Speakin' Of The Weather (1937), Thugs With Dirty Mugs (1939), Goofy Groceries (1941), Swooner Crooner (1944), Wideo Wabbit (1956), The Honey-Mousers (1956), The Last Hungry Cat (1961) and The Mouse That Jack Built (1959).
Disc three is the is Porky And The Pigs and features the following animated shorts: I Haven't Got A Hat (1935), Porky's Romance (1937), Porky's Party (1938), Porky In Egypt (1938), Porky And Teabiscuit (1939), Pigs Is Pigs (1937), Pigs In A Polka (1943), Porky Pig's Feat (1943), Daffy Duck Slept Here (1948), Bye, Bye Bluebeard (1949), An Egg Scramble (1950), Robin Hood Daffy (1958), The Windblown Hare (1949), Claws For Alarm (1954), and Rocket Squad (1956).
Disc four is the is the All Stars Cartoon Party and features the following animated shorts: Daffy Duck And The Dinosaur (1939), Super Rabbit (1943), Daffy Duck And Egghead (1938), A Gruesome Twosome (1945), Draftee Daffy (1945), Falling Hare (1943), Steel Wool (1957), Birds Anonymous (1957), No Barking (1954), Rabbit Punch (1948), An Itch In Time (1943), Odor-Able Kitty (1945), Walky Talky Hawky (1946), Gonzales Tamales (1957) and To Beep Or Not To Beep (1963).
Warner Home Video has done their usual terrific job with the LOONEY TUNES GOLDEN COLLECTION: VOLUME THREE, transcribing all sixty of the animated shorts in their proper 1.37:1 full screen aspect ratios. These cartoons look fantastic! Clarity, image sharpness and detail all exceed that weíve grown accustom to seeing on television broadcasts of these animated shorts. Colors are far more vibrant than I remember, plus the black and white shorts provide excellent contrast and grayscale. The film elements have been cleaned up to the point that age related blemishes are gone, although bits of dust, which were on the original animation cells, have been retained. Film grain is noticeable in varying degrees, depending on the short in question, but is never excessive. Digital compression artifacts are fairly well contained.
As for the Dolby Digital monaural soundtracks, they have undergone restorative work as well, and have been cleaned up rather nicely in the mastering process, leaving them with a smooth sonic quality. Sure, there are certain limitations to the fidelity of these soundtracks, however the delightful musical complement and humorous sound effects seem more robust than they were during my childhood and are certain to please any animation fan. Dialogue is always completely intelligible and the vocal characterizations of Mel Blanc (amongst others) sound just fine. French language tracks are also provided, as are English, French, and Spanish subtitles.
Animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the generous array of supplements, which pertain to individual cartoons, as well as those being relative to the Warner Bros. cartoons as a whole. The LOONEY TUNES GOLDEN COLLECTION: VOLUME THREE contains audio commentaries for thirty-two of the various cartoons spread across the four discs. Additionally, actress Whoopi Goldberg offers an enthusiastic introduction to the set, revealing she is a lifelong Looney Tunes fan, as well as making other fans aware that these cartoons are being presented uncut, while placing a historic perspective on some of the ethnic stereotyping contained in these uncensored animated shorts. I applaud Warner for offering the introduction and hope it will be a first step towards the DVD release of Coal Black And De Sebben Dwarfs and Tin Pan Alley Cats, as well as those other "notorious" cartoons that have been withheld from circulation for decades and are often referred to as The Censored 11.
Disc one contains the following additional supplements: Chuck Amuck, a fifty-minute profile of celebrated animator Chuck Jones. A Hunting We Will Go a nine minute look back on the Chuck Jones Wabbit Series Trilogy. From The Bugs Bunny Show one will find The Honey Mousers Bridging Sequences and Bull Point Puns Audio Recording Session.
Disc two contains the following additional supplements: What's Up, Doc? A Salute To Bugs Bunny Part 1 is a thirty-five minute program that focuses the career of that Oscar winning rabbit. Behind-The-Tunes Featurettes include Bosko, Buddy And The Best Of Black And White which reflects back on the earliest Warner cartoons, and Fine Tooning: Restoring The Warner Brothers Cartoons a ten minute glimpse into the work being done to restore and preserve these classic cartoons for future generations. The From The Vaults section features Sinkin' In The Bathtub- the first Looney Tunes cartoon and Itís Got Me Again!- the first Looney Tunes cartoon to receive an Academy Award nomination.
Disc three contains the following additional supplements: What's Up, Doc? A Salute To Bugs Bunny Part 2 is the remaining twenty-five minutes of the characterís profile. Tish Tash: The Animated World Of Frank Tashlin provides a seventeen-minute look at the career of the animator, who later went on to direct live action films such as THE GIRL CAN'T HELP IT and WILL SUCCESS SPOIL ROCK HUNTER?. The From The Vaults section features a Storyboard Reel from Porkyís Party, a wartime cartoon that explains the Point Rationing Of Foods and The Bear That Wasn't, a 1967 MGM collaboration from Chuck Jones and Frank Tashlin.
Disc four contains the following additional supplements: Philbert- a rarely seen TV Pilot from 1967. Featurettes include Looney Tunes Go to War!, The Charm Of Stink: On The Scent Of Pepe Le Pew and Strictly for the Birds: Tweety & Sylvesterís Award Winning Teamup. The From The Vaults section features a Storyboard Reel from Falling Hare, and three Private Snafu cartoons: Rumors, Spies, & Snafuperman.
The LOONEY TUNES GOLDEN COLLECTION: VOLUME THREE offers fans more genuine gold from the Warner Bros. vaults. Of course, Warner does their usual outstanding job with the presentation of the animated short, as well as including outstanding extras. I certainly wish Warner could snap up the pace, while maintaining the level of quality contained in these three wondrous volumes of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons, but that isnít likely to happen. The LOONEY TUNES GOLDEN COLLECTION: VOLUME THREE is absolutely, positively recommended!
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