Looney Tunes Collection-All Stars-Volume 3

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Released 4-Oct-2005

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Animation Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-11 Episodes
Isolated Musical Score-3 Episodes
Alternate Audio-Vocal-Only Programs - 2 Episodes
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Behind The Tunes - 3 Episodes
Bonus Episode-From The Vaults
Featurette-Framing Up Michigan J. Frog
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production ?
Running Time 108:28
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By Chuck Jones
Robert Clampett
Friz Freleng
Fred Avery
Studio
Distributor

Warner Home Video
Starring None Given
Case ?
RPI $14.95 Music Carl W Stalling
Milt Franklyn
Richard Wagner


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)
Croatian Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 1.0 (192Kb/s)
Isolated Music Score Dolby Digital 1.0 (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
Croatian
Arabic
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

    Music is the common theme of these cartoons, and this set includes at least four genuine classics from the Warners studio. The rest of the cartoons range from the bizarre to the unusual, and this set gives a good idea of the range of material that the animation section of the studio put out.

    The classics are of course Three Little Bops, Rhapsody Rabbit, One Froggy Evening and What's Opera, Doc?, each of which is a masterpiece in its own way. While some of the claims made for these shorts are a little outlandish, it is hard to imagine that they could have been done better. It is also hard to imagine that they could look better than they do in these restorations.

    This set is for me the pick of the four just released in Australia. I can't understand why it has taken twelve months for Warners to release these here. I hope that the third collection, which has just been released in the US, makes it to our shores more quickly.

    The cartoons included in this set are:

Back Alley Oproar (1948) (7:23)

    Elmer tries to sleep, but Sylvester decides the time is ripe to practise his singing. Directed by Friz Freleng.

Book Revue (1946) (6:45)

    The first of two cartoons in this set in which books come to life, with many puns ensuing. Daffy Duck plays a character apparently based on Danny Kaye impersonating a Russian crooner, if you can imagine such a thing. Directed by Bob Clampett.

A Corny Concerto (1943) (7:39)

    This Bob Clampett effort is a Fantasia parody hosted by Elmer, which starts with Porky and Willoughby hunting Bugs and turning Tales From the Vienna Woods into a ballet. A second section has the Blue Danube Waltz with what looks like a miniature Daffy as the ugly duckling trying to join a family of swans. Music is of course by Johann Strauss II.

Have You Got Any Castles? (1938) (7:09)

    This "books come alive" cartoon was directed by Frank Tashlin, who later became a celebrated director of fast-paced live action comedies, often with Bob Hope or Lucille Ball. There are many plays on words and appearances by Hollywood stars of the day, notably in The House of Seven Gables.

Hollywood Steps Out (1941) (7:25)

    When Hollywood steps out, Tex Avery is there to capture it. Set in a nightclub, this cartoon features caricatures of everyone from Buster Keaton to J. Edgar Hoover. It includes a lot of people who would be unfamiliar to most viewers, like Arthur Treacher, Ned Sparks, Kay Kyser, Jerry Colonna and Mischa Auer, and some who are very familiar, including Cary Grant, Greta Garbo ("ouch"), and Cagney, Raft and Bogart.

I Love To Singa (1936) (7:55)

    A Tex Avery effort that seems to be designed just to plug the annoying title song. A small owl (named "Owl Jolson" as we later find out) rebels against the classical music bent of his father and, thrown out of the house for his trouble, decides to audition for the radio show of Jack Bunny.

Katnip Kollege (1938) (7:08)

    Johnny the cat doesn't swing, which makes him an outcast amongst his college mates until he learns the rules. Directed by Ben Hardaway and Cal Dalton.

The Hep Cat (1942) (6:01)

    The Hep Cat fancies himself as a ladies' man, which gives a dog chasing him the idea of using a cat puppet. Not the best cartoon directed by Bob Clampett, though this enters history as the first Looney Tunes cartoon in colour. Looney Tunes was the low budget black and white label, while Merrie Melodies usually were in colour with higher budgets.

Three Little Bops (1957) (6:27)

    One of Friz Freleng's finest hours in this bop adaptation of the Three Little Pigs story. The wolf wants to join the the Three Little Bops, but he's not hot enough to be cool. Impeccably timed with the music and Stan Freberg sings very well indeed.

One Froggy Evening (1955) (6:36)

    A one-off appearance by a singing frog is one of Chuck Jones' best remembered cartoons. A demolition worker finds a singing frog in an 1892 cornerstone and thinks his fortune is made. But the frog doesn't play ball when an audience is present.

Rhapsody Rabbit (1946) (7:19)

    Bugs tries to play Franz Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 but has to deal with a rogue mouse in the piano. This Friz Freleng effort is very cleverly done, with Bugs pulling out every bizarre style of playing the piano except the Chico Marx pistol-style.

Show Biz Bugs (1957) (6:46)

    A lesser Friz Freleng cartoon in which Daffy tries to outdo his vaudeville partner Bugs. It features the act that can only be done once. This cartoon was the basis for the Bugs-Daffy show business rivalry that lasted for years.

Stage Door Cartoon (1944) (7:48)

    Elmer is after Bugs, but unfortunately for him chases him into a vaudeville theatre, where Elmer is put upon to perform. Directed by Friz Freleng.

What's Opera, Doc? (1957) (6:37)

    Chuck Jones' famous take on the operas of Richard Wagner sees Elmer trying to "kill the wabbit". The backgrounds by Maurice Noble are remarkable. I note that some reviewers describe this as a 7 minute summary of the Ring cycle, which it certainly is not. Apart from the "kill the wabbit" music, which is the Walkürenritt from Die Walküre, and Siegfried's horn theme, the rest of the music is not from the Ring at all. The storm music is from the overture to The Flying Dutchman, and virtually all of the other music is the Pilgrim's Chorus from Tannhäuser, including the music for the duet "Return, My Love" which has lyrics by Michael Maltese.

    Although unnoticed at the time of release, this is generally regarded as one of the best Warners' cartoons, though it is more clever and impressive than amusing and probably plays better when you know the music. This cartoon is also probably a bit too intense for the very young.

You Ought To Be In Pictures (1940) (9:21)

    A strange black and white mixture of animation and live action by Friz Freleng. The backgrounds are all live action or photographs with Porky and Daffy being the only cartoon characters. Leon Schlesinger plays himself and the studio guard is Michael Maltese. Daffy persuades Porky to break his contract and try to get into features, but Porky has trouble just getting in the gate.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    All of the cartoons are in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. The original aspect ratio was 1.37:1. Most of the opening titles are shown in this aspect ratio, slightly window-boxed.

    Like the other releases in this series the transfers are excellent. Each cartoon is sharp and clear, looking much better than it ever has on television. Colours are bright, rich and vibrant. Contrast levels are very good and there is of course no problem with shadow detail.

    I did not see any film to video artefacts, though as mentioned in my review of the previous title some interlacing issues were noticed in the Region 1 set. Film artefacts are mainly limited to problems caused in the original filming, such as dust between the cels. There are also some minor instances of damage which probably occurred in the original filming process and some of the older cartoons show small amounts of grain. One of the cartoons (Katnip Kollege) has a reel change marking at the end.

    Optional English subtitles are provided. The subtitles usually accurately represent the dialogue, and are well-timed and easy to read. There are also Hard of Hearing subtitles which describe the sound effects and music.

    The disc is dual-layered but there is no layer change during any of the programmes.

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

Audio

    Audio is provided in Dolby Digital 1.0, which is basically the original audio.

    The sound is good with clear dialogue and sound effects. I noticed no distortion or hiss, and the frequency response is very good even down to low frequency sounds.

    The music is mostly directed by Carl Stalling, with a couple of cartoons done by Milt Franklin. The music combines new material, tunes from the Warners' catalogue and selections of classical music. There is a plenty of bass and the music comes across very well indeed. Shorty Rogers supplied the memorable music for Three Little Bops.

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

Extras

Main Menu Audio & Animation

    The usual lame animation accompanied by a new and mediocre mix of the Looney Tunes music.

Audio Commentary-11 Episodes

    A heap of audio commentaries from Greg Ford, Michael Barrier, Jerry Beck and Daniel Goldmark, plus there are snippets from interviews with Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng, Bob Clampett and Michael Maltese. What's Opera, Doc? gets two commentaries, one of which is created from old audio snippets with Jones and Maltese. The other commentaries, all of which are worth listening to, are on Back Alley Oproar, Book Review, A Corny Concerto, Hollywood Steps Out, Three Little Bops, One Froggy Evening, Rhapsody Rabbit, Show Biz Bugs and You Ought to Be in Pictures. In all about 80 minutes of commentary on a 108 minute programme, which isn't bad.

Isolated Musical Score-3 Episodes

    Three cartoons have music-only tracks, being Three Little Bops, One Froggy Evening and What's Opera, Doc?

Alternate Audio-Vocal-Only Programs - 2 Episodes

    Three Little Bops and What's Opera, Doc? have alternate tracks which contain some of the recording sessions. We not only hear the final dialogue but also some alternate takes and the faint voices of the directors and recording engineers giving feedback and instructions to the voice artists.

Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Behind The Tunes - 3 Episodes (26:00)

    Three Behind the Tunes featurettes. One is devoted to the use of caricatures of Hollywood types in Warner cartoons. The other two are effectively making of documentaries on One Froggy Evening and What's Opera, Doc? Featured are interviews with various animation historians as well as Leonard Maltin and Australian voice artist Keith Scott. It's well worth taking a look at each of these.

Bonus Episodes-From The Vaults (19:40)

    Here we get two oddities in the Warners output. The first is a 1949 cartoon by Chuck Jones looking at infant mortality and is called So Much For So Little. It runs 10:20. The second is Orange Blossoms For Violet, a bizarre live-action short featuring animals dressed up as humans, with voices by Mel Blanc and running 9:20. It is actually a Hal Roach film from the 1920s in his Dippy Doo Dads series which has been given dialogue.

Featurette-Framing Up Michigan J. Frog (1:38)

    A modern day Warners animator shows us how he draws the singing frog.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 1 equivalent is only available as part of a four disc set called Looney Tunes: The Golden Collection Volume 2. This material is on disc 4 of that set and appears to have the same contents. As Region 4 are getting the entire set including all of the extra material as four separate discs, the decision as to whether to get the Region 1 set or the Region 4 discs comes down to price and convenience.

Summary

    A superb selection of cartoons.

    The video and audio transfers are excellent.

    There is plenty of extra material, including two making-of featurettes.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Philip Sawyer (Bio available.)
Friday, November 11, 2005
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.
AmplificationSony TA-DA9000ES
SpeakersMain: Tannoy Revolution R3; Centre: Tannoy Sensys DCC; Rear: Richter Harlequin; Subwoofer: JBL SUB175

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release date? - Mr Gimlet (bio-hazard) REPLY POSTED