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Director: Chuck Jones
Release Date: March 8, 1958
Stars: Daffy Duck, Porky Pig
Rating: ★★★★
Review:

Robin Hood Daffy © Warner Brothers‘Robin Hood Daffy’ is the last of Chuck Jones’s great series of Daffy and Porky pairings.

Like earlier entries, such as ‘Drip-along Daffy‘ (1951) or ‘Deduce You Say’ (1956), Daffy fails completely in acting out the hero he is supposed to be. In this cartoon Daffy Duck is Robin Hood, but he has a hard time proving that to a skeptical Friar Tuck (Porky Pig). He does so by relentlessly trying to rob a rich nobleman who rides on a remarkably little donkey in a hilariously silly fashion.

This nobleman character is totally unaware of the antics around him and is a late addition to a series of similar odd characters that populated many of Jones’s early films, like the Minah Bird (1941-1947) and the bearded sailor in ‘The Dover Boys‘ (1942). Daffy’s attempts, on the other hand, are more akin to those of the Coyote in the Road Runner series. The best gag is when he tries to swing on a rope, Errol Flynn-style, shouting “Yoicks and away”, only to crash into multiple tree trunks.

Porky is redesigned completely into Chuck Jones’s late design: with ridiculously cute eyelashes, anticipating similar redesigns of Jerry in Jones’s Tom & Jerry cartoons seven years later. The redesign is not a success: Porky looks a little too feminine and too cute for the purposes of the cartoon.

Watch ‘Robin Hood Daffy’ yourself and tell me what you think:

http://www.b99.tv/video/robin-hood-daffy/

This is Porky Pig cartoon no. 150
To the previous Porky Pig cartoon: Boston Quackie
To the next Porky Pig cartoon: China Jones

This is Daffy Duck cartoon No. 83
To the previous Daffy Duck cartoon: Don’t Axe Me
To the next Daffy Duck cartoon: China Jones

‘Robin Hood Daffy’ is available on the DVD-set ‘Looney Tunes Golden Collection Volume Three’

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Director: Wolfgang Reitherman
Release Date:
 November 8, 1973
Rating: ★★½
Review:

Robin Hood © Walt Disney‘Robin Hood’ was Walt Disney studio’s 21st feature. The film’s story and designs lean heavily on the 1938 feature ‘The Adventures of Robin Hood’, starring Errol Flynn.

But by now the characters are portrayed as animals, a relic of an abandoned feature film project about Reynard the fox called ‘Chanticleer’. This great idea doesn’t lead to a great film, however. Despite the fine character designs, the strong voice cast and the often superb animation, Robin Hood must be placed among the weaker Disney features.

Many of the character designs are so reminiscent of those in ‘Jungle Book’, the film almost feels like a rip-off. There’s a bear, voiced by Phil Harris, the voice of Baloo, there’s a snake with the power of hypnosis and there are some funny vultures. The story evolves at a remarkably slow pace, with some sort of plot only setting in after 29 minutes. More than any earlier Disney feature ‘Robin Hood’ seems particularly aimed at children: both great drama and great comedy are absent and danger is never really felt. The great finale is anything but that, and King Richard serves as an off-stage Deus ex machina, putting an equally welcomed as unsatisfying end to the film.

In a 1973 letter to animator Larry Ruppel, cited in John Canemaker’s book ‘Walt Disney’s Nine Old Men & The Art of Animation’, animator Frank Thomas expressed the film’s shortcomings:

“We obviously decided to keep it on the ‘fun’ side, but I have worried that the audiences would feel it was too flimsy – that we were not being quite serious enough with our characters. For instance, does anyone really fear Prince John? Is Robin ever worried about his ability to achieve something or even how it should be done? Did winning Maid Marian make any difference in Robin’s behavior. In real life it would have.”

The rather tinned music doesn’t help, either. Even worse, the film’s three forgettable songs are all presented within a twelve minutes period of the film (0’46-0’58), and the dance scene blatantly reuses complete dance animation sequences from ‘Snow White and the seven dwarfs’ (1937), ‘Jungle Book’ (1967) and ‘Aristocats’ (1970). All these aspects give the film a cheap feel. It frustrated younger animators like Don Bluth, who thought the film lacked both quality and soul, and it indirectly led to Bluth’s departure in 1979, during the production of ‘The Fox and the Hound‘ (1981).

The film’s only real treat is King John. This is by all means a marvelous character, perfectly voiced by Peter Ustinov. Because of the film’s strong visuals (after all, it’s the only Robin Hood film starring foxes), the film fares better in memory than by actually watching it.

In all, Robin Hood is a sad feature, which makes painfully clear that in the seventies Disney’s glory days lay years behind. Indeed, it would take the studio another fifteen years to crawl out of the uncertain times the studio went through after Walt Disney’s death.

Watch an excerpt from ‘Robin Hood’ and tell me what you think:

Director: Chuck Jones
Release Date:
 December 24, 1949
Stars:
 Bugs Bunny, Errol Flynn
Rating:
 ★★★★★
Review:

Rabbit Hood © Warner BrothersWe’re suddenly in medieval England, where Bugs Bunny tries to “poach” one of the king’s carrots and is arrested by the Sheriff of Nottingham.

This leads to several very funny encounters between Bugs and the Sheriff. The action is at times interrupted by a particularly dopey Little John who repeatedly announces the coming of Robin Hood. When Robin Hood finally does arrive, he appears to be Errol Flynn (live action footage from the 1938 feature ‘The Adventures of Robin Hood’ ).

The best gag however, is when Bugs sells the King’s Royal garden to the sheriff as the perfect site to build a house. The poor sheriff only discovers he’s fooled after he has built half the house. It’s gags like these which make ‘Rabbit Hood’ an unassuming and probably underrated highlight in the Bugs Bunny catalog.

Watch ‘Rabbit Hood’ yourself and tell me what you think:

http://www.toontube.com/video/2936/1949–Bugs-Bunny–Rabbit-Hood-

This is Bugs Bunny cartoon No. 67
To the previous Bugs Bunny cartoon: Which is Witch?
To the next Bugs Bunny cartoon: Hurdy-gurdy Hare

Director: Chuck Jones
Release Date:
March 4, 1950
Stars:
 Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, Henery Hawk, Mama Bear, Porky Pig, Sylvester
Rating:
 ★★★★★ ♕
Review:

The Scarlet Pumpernickel © Warner Brothers‘The Scarlet Pumpernickel’ starts with Daffy Duck being tired of comedy.

He proposes to one of the Warner Brothers (who remains off-screen) to make an Errol Flynn-like swashbuckler film based on ‘The Scarlet Pumpernickel by Daffy Dumas Duck’, with, of course, himself in the starring role. This leads to an all-star cartoon with roles for Porky Pig, Sylvester, Elmer Fudd (with Mel Blanc’s voice), Henery Hawk and Mama Bear. Never before were so many Warner Bros. cartoon stars seen in one short, and we had to wait until ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit‘ (1988) to see the exercise repeated.

‘The Scarlet Pumpernickel’ is both an excellent parody on and a faithful homage to the Errol Flynn adventure films. But more importantly, this short is important in the evolution of Daffy Duck, for it marks the birth of Daffy’s final incarnation. In this film Daffy is more of a frustrated and misguided character than downright loony. This new role is still a bit out of Daffy’s element: at times his eyes and behavior are similar to that of Charlie Dog, especially in the opening scene. Nevertheless, in the following years the frustrated Daffy would completely replace the loony one.

‘The Scarlet Pumpernickel’ is also the first of Jones’s Daffy cartoons in which Daffy serves as a misguided hero, starting a great series of shorts, with highlights as ‘Drip-along Daffy‘ (1951) and ‘Duck Dodgers in the 24 ½ Century‘ (1953).

Watch ‘The Scarlet Pumpernickel’ yourself and tell me what you think:

http://www.220.ro/desene-animate/20-Daffy-Duck-Sylvester-The-Scarlet-Pumpernickel-1950/KJRkZjBcaE/

This is Porky Pig cartoon no. 131
To the previous Porky Pig cartoon: Boobs in the Woods
To the next Porky Pig cartoon: An Egg Scramble

This is Daffy Duck cartoon No. 51
To the previous Daffy Duck cartoon: Boobs in the Woods
To the next Daffy Duck cartoon: The Bitter Half

‘Boobs in the Woods’ is available on the DVD-set ‘Looney Tunes Golden Collection Volume One’

 

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