Looney Tunes Collection-Best of Daffy and Porky (2003)

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Released 31-Mar-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Animation Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-Cartoon Historians (Selected Shorts - 5)
Isolated Musical Score-Selected Shorts - 4
Featurette-Behind The Tunes (3)
Gallery-Stills
DVD-ROM Extras
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 95:42
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Charles M. Jones
Arthur Davis
Robert McKimson
I. Freleng
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring Daffy Duck
Porky Pig
Sylvester
Bugs Bunny
Mel Blanc
Arthur Q. Bryan
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $29.95 Music Carl Stalling


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Dutch Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Hungarian Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Isolated Music Score Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
Italian
Dutch
Hungarian
Arabic
Greek
Croatian
Slovenian
Romanian
Bulgarian
English for the Hearing Impaired
Italian for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

Fourteen mostly superb cartoons from the vaults of Warner Bros. This collection, one of three being released in Region 4, casts the spotlight on two of Warners most popular creations. Porky Pig made his debut in 1935. Developed by Tex Avery, Bob Clampett and Frank Tashlin, Porky soon evolved into the character known today. In 1937 a cartoon called Porky's Duck Hunt introduced the character of Daffy as a crazy duck. Sadly, that cartoon is not included here, but you can see a similar version of the crazy Daffy in Boobs in the Woods. Over time, Daffy developed into a much different character, a devious duck whose schemes always went awry. The comedy in his character, as in that of Wile E. Coyote in the Road Runner cartoons, comes from his reaction to the things that happen to him as much as what does happen to him.

The bulk of the collection dates from the late 1940s to the mid 1950s, and includes some of the finest cartoons ever to come out of Warners. The two cartoons that bookend this collection are all-time classics of the genre. Duck Amuck was inspired by a lack of inspiration and plays with the notion of Daffy being a cartoon character, drawn by an unseen artist, yet having a life of his own. Duck Dodgers in the 24th Century is a hilarious send-up of the science fiction genre, featuring Porky as Eager Space Cadet and an appearance by Marvin Martian, plus the exceptional layouts of Maurice Noble.

The best of these cartoons were directed by Chuck Jones, but you can tell from watching the items in this collection that he relied heavily on scripts by Michael Maltese and animation by Ben Washam amongst others to bring his inspirations to life. The quality of the animation is also variable. Rabbit Fire, which was the first of the Rabbit Season / Duck Season trilogy, is as humorous as the next two episodes but the animation is not as smooth. The cartoons directed by Robert McKimson and Arthur Davis also do not look quite as good as the golden age cartoons.

No matter how many times I see these cartoons, they still raise a chuckle. I cannot recommend this disc highly enough. The cartoons included in this collection are:

Duck Amuck (1953) (6:41)

One of the classic Daffy cartoons, where he is tormented by the cartoonist. Directed by Charles M. Jones.

Dough For the Do-Do (1949) (6:43)

Porky travels to Darkest Africa in search of the Dodo, through Daliesque landscapes. This is a remake of Porky in Wackyland (1938). Directed by I. Freleng, uncredited.

Drip Along Daffy (1951) (7:00)

Daffy and trusty comedy relief clean up the Old West. Directed by Charles M. Jones.

Scaredy Cat (1948) (7:06)

Porky and Sylvester spend the night in a haunted house. Directed by Charles M. Jones.

The Ducksters (1950) (7:05)

A satire on the hucksters of radio game shows, presumably inspired by the 1947 Clark Gable film The Hucksters. Directed by Charles M. Jones.

The Scarlet Pumpernickel (1950) (6:47)

Another classic all-star Daffy vehicle. Directed by Charles M. Jones.

Yankee Doodle Daffy (1943) (6:28)

Porky is head of Smeller Productions, and Daffy tries to sell him some talent. Directed by I. Freleng.

Porky Chops (1949) (6:40)

Porky as a woodcutter, up against a squirrel. Directed by Arthur Davis.

Wearing of the Grin (1951) (7:07)

Porky, travelling in Ireland, comes across some leprechauns. Directed by Charles M. Jones.

Deduce, You Say (1956) (6:48)

Dorlock Holmes and Watkins investigate the strange case of the Shropshire Slasher. Directed by Charles M. Jones.

Boobs in the Woods (1950) (6:39)

Landscape painter Porky meets an annoying duck. Directed by Robert McKimson.

Golden Yeggs (1950) (6:39)

Daffy is framed as the layer of a golden egg, and then is ducknapped by gangsters. Directed by I. Freleng.

Rabbit Fire (1951) (7:13)

The first of the Duck Season / Wabbit Season trilogy. Directed by Charles M. Jones.

Duck Dodgers in the 24th Century (1953) (6:46)

The classic sci-fi adventure story. Directed by Charles M. Jones.

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Transfer Quality

Video

The cartoons are presented in a slightly cropped aspect ratio of 1.33:1, with the originals being in 1.37:1.

Again, like the companion Best of Bugs Bunny release, the video quality is excellent. The cartoons are sharp and clear, and colour is superb, with rich and vibrant Technicolor images throughout. The only caveat is that sometimes the quality of the transfer highlights minor problems in the source material, such as in the opening credits where the cutting and pasting of the titles is obvious.

There is some grain evident in the earlier cartoons, such as in Dough For The Do-Do and Yankee Doodle Daffy. The level of grain is not excessive even in these, however. Some dust appears as tiny white spots that move about on the screen, particularly when the background is dark, such as in Scaredy Cat and Wearing of the Grin. This dust is apparently present in the original material, that is it was present on or between the cels as they were photographed.

Subtitles are provided in fourteen languages and are clear and accurate to the spoken word.

This is a dual layered disc, but there is no noticeable layer change. Presumably each item is wholly on one layer or another.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

The audio component is very good, presented in the original mono on the default English Dolby Digital 1.0 track. There are also alternative audio tracks in French, Italian, Dutch and Hungarian.

Dialogue is clear and distinct at all times. The quality of the sound is very good, despite these cartoons being 50 to 60 years old. The clever characterisations of Mel Blanc come across clear as a bell, as does the Elmer Fudd of Arthur Q. Bryan. There is no hiss to speak of, nor any crackle or pops to distract the listener.

The music scores are compiled and arranged by Carl Stalling. The scores are minor masterpieces of the form. He weaves snippets of classical works and popular songs into clever and apt accompaniments to the on-screen lunacy.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Not as many or as varied extras as featured on the Best of Bugs Bunny disc, these are still worthwhile and add to the enjoyment. Unless specified otherwise, the aspect ratio is 1.33:1 and audio is Dolby Digital 2.0.

Main Menu Animation and Music

The menu is nicely presented and features the Looney Tunes / Merrie Melodies themes.

Audio Commentaries

Five of the cartoons have audio commentaries. These are done by cartoon historian Michael Barrier and include audio clips he recorded with Chuck Jones, Ben Washam and Mel Blanc. These are good commentaries and worth listening to, as they give interesting and informative background and insights into the films, for example Mel Blanc's explanation of how he developed the voice of Porky. The cartoons with commentaries are Duck Amuck, Drip Along Daffy, The Scarlet Pumpernickel, The Wearing of the Grin and Duck Dodgers in the 24th Century.

Isolated Music Scores

Four of the cartoons have isolated music scores, these being Duck Amuck, Drip Along Daffy, The Scarlet Pumpernickel and Rabbit Fire. All of these scores are by Carl Stalling. Audio is Dolby Digital 1.0.

Behind the Toons: Hard Luck Duck (3:41)

A short history of Daffy Duck, through the eyes of animators and relatives of the creators.

Behind the Toons: Porky Pig Roast (3:43)

A short history of Porky Pig, much the same as the Daffy featurette.

Behind the Toons: Animal Quackers (4:17)

A short history of the Daffy - Porky partnership, also featuring Marvin the Martian.

Photo Gallery

The gallery includes 50 sketches, cels and lobby cards for the cartoons featured in this collection. The gallery is presented in 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

DVD-ROM Feature: Wooden Nickel Dance Off

A sample game from the Looney Tunes: Back in Action tie-in, where Yosemite Sam calls dance numbers which Daffy has to follow. Fun for kids, I guess.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

The UK Region 2 release is identical to the Region 4.

This disc is not available separately in Region 1. Instead, it comes as part of a four disc set. The set comprises the Best of Bugs Bunny, the Best of Daffy and Porky and the two disc Looney Tunes Collection All Stars. These three titles are being released separately in Region 4.

The Region 1 version of the present disc is identical except for the inclusion of part two of the documentary The Boys From Termite Terrace, the first part of which is on the Region 1 Best of Bugs Bunny disc. The documentary is apparently very good and each half runs about 30 minutes. This documentary tips the scales in favour of the Region 1, despite the need to purchase the four disc set.

Summary

A great collection of classic cartoons from Warner's Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series. Highly recommended.

The video quality is excellent.

The audio quality is excellent.

The extras are very good, though not as complete as the Region 1.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Philip Sawyer (Bio available.)
Thursday, April 08, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony 86CM Trinitron Wega KVHR36M31. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player, Dolby Digital, dts and DVD-Audio. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationYamaha RX-V596 for surround channels; Yamaha AX-590 as power amp for mains
SpeakersMain: Tannoy Revolution R3; Centre: Richter Harlequin; Rear: Pioneer S-R9; Subwoofer: JBL SUB175

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