Daffy can't see any point in migration. Until, that is, the depths of winter when he is starving. He smells beans cooking at the cabin of a fox and weasel (who are sick of beans and would love a steak or a duck). Written by
Jon Reeves <email@example.com>
"Daffy's Southern Exposure" is one of the funnier Daffy Duck toons from his black and white period. There are two errors in the IMDb description of this cartoon: the animal who tries to cook and eat Daffy here is a wolf, not a fox ... and the voice of the wolf is supplied not by Mel Blanc but by (uncredited) Billy Bletcher, who also did the voice for Disney's Big Bad Wolf a few years earlier.
Daffy has made the seemingly sensible decision not to fly south for the winter, because later he'll just have to fly north again, and so forth. But ... "You'll be sorry!" gloat a Greek chorus of ducks, just before their seasonal migration. Next thing we know, Daffy's caught in a blizzard right up to his gizzard.
"Daffy's Southern Exposure" was released in 1942, when a substantial portion of the audience still remembered silent movies. I was intrigued that the plot of this cartoon is advanced via the device of a silent-film intertitle; it works gracefully enough here (and includes a nice gag), but might have been jarring if used only a few years later, when the Warner toons were being made in colour.
Seeking shelter and sustenance, Daffy ends up in a cabin inhabited by a locquacious wolf with an unlimited supply of beans but no meat. The wolf is partnered by a weasel who doesn't talk. For some reason, there seems to be a long cartoon tradition of teaming a speaking character with a partner who's either mute or only speaks incoherently. This is true not only at Warners (with Sniffles the mouse and his speechless worm companion) but at other studios as well. The wolf and the weasel in "Daffy's Southern Exposure" show real potential as characters who could have returned in later Warners toons, but their potential is undercut by the fact that the weasel remains silent. (This tradition of a 'silent partner' does not apply to Harpo Marx, who is never silent because -- although remaining mute -- he always makes as much noise as possible.)
It's a shame that Billy Bletcher receives no screen credit for his voice-work here, as his performance is excellent. The wolf dons a Granny disguise, requiring Bletcher to speak in falsetto. While the wolf is en femme, Bletcher performs a rapid patter song with a complicated lyric, singing it entirely in falsetto. He's excellent! What a pity that so few people are familiar with this comedian's name and work. Mel Blanc does fine voice work here, too: wait'll you hear how he applies Daffy's speech impediment to the word "sustenance".
The slapstick in "Daffy's Southern Exposure" is well up to the usual Warners standard, with less violence than usual for a carnivorous plot line. I'll rate this one 8 out of 10.
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