Hypnosis doesn't help the Coyote catch the Road Runner, nor do a clutch of string-controlled rifles or dozens of mousetraps, but they all manage to backfire on him, naturally.

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Uncredited cast:
Paul Julian ...
Road Runner (archive sound) (uncredited)
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Hypnosis doesn't help the Coyote catch the Road Runner, nor do a clutch of string-controlled rifles or dozens of mousetraps, but they all manage to backfire on him, naturally.

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19 September 1953 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Jagdfieber  »

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Did You Know?

Crazy Credits

Coyote (Road Runner Digeestus) See more »

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Followed by The Wild Chase (1965) See more »

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Tannhäuser Overture
(uncredited)
Music by Richard Wagner
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Wil E. Coyote is the real star of this genius series.
27 October 1999 | by (Dublin, Ireland) – See all my reviews

It's strange how your perspective shifts as you get older. When I was a young devotee of ROADRUNNER, it was the titular hero I identified with, his speed, obviously, his unassailability, his grace, his freedom, his cheek. Watching him again, nearly two decades on, I find that the real hero of the cartoon is not this miraculous popinjay, but his hapless nemesis, Wil E. Coyote.

There is something monstrous and inhuman about Roadrunner's indestructability, but nothing heroic. He is a creature of instinct, he is what he is, a road runner. We should no more applaud his skill than we should marvel at rain falling. Even his mockery seems mechanical, unwilled. He is something abstract, ungraspable, a hurtling metaphor for all we fail to achieve in life.

Wil E. we can love, identify with. He has a name. Like all self-willed names, it is preposterously inappropriate. Although part of his failure can be attributed to his enemy's fleet feet, it is his ineptitude that is mostly to blame. His wily schemes are incompetently conceived in the heat of the moment - the eternal chase allows no room for pause.

These cartoons are a further elaboration of Buster Keaton's Beckettian agonies - here plot is completely abandoned, for a daring, perpetual repetition, where closure is forever denied. Because the only closure could be death - Road Runner's, Wil E.'s, or ours. We will never pin down that which we can sense, but cannot hold. And yet we must continued to try, because stillness can only lead to thoughts of mortality and despair.

Chuck Jones' imagination only improves with age. The Cezanne-like geometrics are a marvel to behold. The saturated colours still dazzle, and the backgrounds, part simplistic children's book illustration, part bleak dreamscape, are as piercingly evocative as ever. The insane and complex variations on what is essentially a simple, inexorable plot are breathtaking, and puts almost everything that was stumbling lamely out of Hollywood at the time to shame. Jones, horribly underrated, was at least as great a director as Keaton, Hawks or Sirk, and it is about time we said so. So I did.


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