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STUDIO: Warner Brothers
RATED: Not Rated
RUNNING TIME: 413 Minutes
• Commentary on Select Shorts
• Music-Only Audio Tracks on Select Shorts
• Mel Blanc: The Man of a Thousand Voices
• Two Looney Tunes TV Specials
• Friz Freleng at MGM
• The World of Leon Schlesinger
Bugs Bunny invades your Home Theater for a sixth time.
Poland never will expect the Blitz Burrow!
Mel Blanc, Noel Blanc, Jerry Beck, Arthur Q. Bryan and Stan Freberg
Warner Brothers has compiled their sixth annual Golden Collection release. This time they’ve decided to play upon a military theme. Calling upon the strength of previously censored World War I and II shorts, the WB team has stepped up to the plate and knocked one out of the park. That’s not to say that there isn’t something here for the casual fan. It’s just that you’re going to spend most of your time wading through historical cartoons to find something like Hare Trigger. Hare Trigger being the first Yosemite Sam cartoon.
Disc 1 sports a random collection of cartoons featuring the Looney Tunes All-Stars. These shorts are meant to be comfort food for the average viewer. But, they also something interesting for the animation fan. The shorts are split widely among four directors. Chuck Jones, Robert McKimson, Friz Freleng and Bob Clampett get to display their wildly different styles. I appreciate Jones’ intellectual and artful take on the absurd, while some prefer the lewdness of Clampett’s work. But, there are also people who appreciate the musically inclined creations of Freleng. Then, there’s Bob McKimson. Nobody remembers a McKimson.
The Bridge to Nowhere will go somewhere! It will! IT WILL!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Disc 2 is the World I-II themed shorts that I mentioned earlier. I could spend days going over each short, so I’m going to focus on one of them. The Ducktators was a Daffy Duck short that made light of Hirohito, Mussolini and Hitler. The three Ducktators take over the Barnyard and begin to torture the animals into following their ways. Luckily, we’ve got one lone duck to stand up against them. Still, the short marks a departure from the norm that the Looney Tunes gang never ventured back towards. It’s a special dark humor that borders on social commentary. Sure, modern cartoons tackle material similar to this, but they keep it funny. Very few parties have dared to go as dark and as mean as The Ducktators.
This is a Rorschach screen shot. You’ll get to make your own captions in the Talkback below. Then others will mock you. ENJOY!
Disc 3 is a collection of Bosko shorts. Bosko was one of the first major characters to come out of Termite Terrace in the late 20s/early 30s. Bosko, Buddy and Foxy shared in many adventures that marked some of the first Looney Tunes outings. They were essentially animated music videos, but they were humorous. Sure, there were no plots and everyone sounded alike. But, cartoon violence transcends that kind of noise. Nothing is that memorable here, save for the World War I themed Doughboy Bosko. You could almost feel Ising and company working out demons as the little Bosko character murdered soldiers in World War I era Europe.
Going to liberate a country that will inevitably hate you.
Disc 4 is a collection of one and done animated shorts. You get everything from Horton Hatches the Egg to the only good McKimson short The Hole Idea. The short that caught me off guard was Fresh Airedale. I honestly don’t remember seeing this short before, but damn if it isn’t intriguing decades after its creation. The short is about a cat that slowly, but surely loses his damn mind because some dog is stealing the limelight. The usually reserved Chuck Jones breaks form, as he turns a shade of cruel with this dark piece of satire. Shep the Dog is always portrayed in the kindly big-eyed style that would later come to be synonmous with the animated animal heroes. The short works because you don’t have the dog and the cat talking. Sure, they still get their fair share of anthromorphic traits placed upon them. But, it’s roughly two animals being douchebags to each other for an eight minute duration. Solid stuff.
The United States Marlon Brando Corps is always on call for one last tango.
Looney Tunes Golden Collection Volume 6 comes to DVD with another packed four disc release. There was talk earlier in the year about how the Classic Animation market had dried up and Warner Brothers was going to stop releasing these sets. While that talk has died down, the threat is real. So, if you’ve ever loved these shorts, I recommend purchasing this set for the Holidays.
The special features ranges from documentaries on Mel Blanc and Leon Schlesinger to Friz Freleng’s time at MGM. There are also two television specials from the 1970s that are included on the first disc. The rest of the features are split between short-specific commentaries and bonus episodes from all over the Looney Tunes chronology. If you can’t find something to love on here, then you’re not trying that hard. Warner Brothers went out of their way to cover all bases.
As a special treat to those that have purchased the set or are planning to purchase the set, I’ve got to make one last recommendation. You can play a drinking game based on the sheer amount of racist Asian stereotypes portrayed in the release. Sure, the animation studios went after all non-white groups back in the Golden Age. But, this collection of Looney Tunes shorts seems to specifically target the Asians of old. By Disc 2, you will have alcohol poisoning. Have fun!
9.5 out of 10