Duck Amuck (1953)
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At the start, Daffy Duck thinks he's about to be in a piece as a musketeer- that is, until the background is pulled right out from under him. He'll never get back to that background again, but Daffy will keep on trying to persuade the animator to bring back some sense into the works. By the end he's exasperated, and the joke comes full circle to be totally satisfying.
Throughout the short what keeps it so funny on repeat viewings is that the absurdities of each new backdrop and each run-in Daffy keep their validity. There's a lot of creative juice flowing through this one, and since the turns are unexpected on the first viewing, on the following ones you laugh at yourself for laughing at it again. Another plus is that Daffy Duck is a superb character when he's kept on his toes- like when he's put against a city backdrop that looks like it was drawn by a five-year old. He asks, "Now, how about some color, stupid!" And then is painted over in bizarre hues. The joke that follows that is one of Chuck Jones' most surreal executions.
Overall, a classic for its time, influential; on a level that will perhaps get the adults laughing more so than the kids, and for those in youth who discover it for the first time on TV or on the new DVD, it isn't old- this is the kind of sense of humor found on other modern cartoons (Simpsons, for example).
Quotes like: "NOW WHAT?" and "Give me a close-up!" can't leave my head! Duffy (or Daffy) has since this movie always been my personal cartoon favorite.
Don't miss this incredible masterpiece, then you will miss one of the best movies ever made!!!
Rating: 10 of 10.
For example, Daffy, dressed as a musketeer, sword in hand, yells "en guarde," and soon the screen is totally white in back of him. After a few seconds of silence, Daffy turns to the camera (us) and says, "Can we get some scenery here?" So, an artist paints us a rural picture. Daffy changes clothes and is a now a farmer. Suddenly it's a winter scene. Daffy stops and asks the not-seen cartoon artist, "Is it too much to ask to make your mind?" Now, he changes outfits again in a flash and is skiing.
This goes on and on, and then really weird things happen with the screen and with Daffy as he's erased, redrawn, erased, muted, given his voice back, etc. All of this is driving him crazy....and it's fun to watch because you have no clue what crazy things is going to happen next.
This is an incredible cartoon. If ever the word "unique" would be appropriate, it's here.
In this cartoon, Daffy Duck is manipulated by some unseen, omnipotent force that keeps changing the scenery, the sound, and even the appearance of Daffy himself, much to his horror. The humor in most of the gags go deeper than the usual Warner Bros. cartoon, with claustrophobia, an exact duplicate of Daffy and instant deformity inflicted upon him has us laughing at our own fears.
But it's Jones' vision of Daffy that is the true star of this and many other of his cartoons. The other directors, the great Friz Freleng and the unfairly maligned Robert McKimson, never really had the grasp of the new Daffy Duck that emerged in the mid 40's, but he really was a new creation of Michael Maltese and Chuck Jones, only faintly reminiscent of the crazy antics that handlers such as Frank Tashlin, Tex Avery and Robert Clampett portrayed him as possessing. That old Daffy was wild and wacky and good, the new Daffy always has us humans at a disadvantage by making fun of our own weaknesses.
And so is Daffy Duck subjected to the whims of an offscreen animator, erased, redrawn, his voice changed, everything is done to him except the proper contextualization, which steadily drives Daffy bonkers. A demand for a closeup gets an iris-out, then we see just how bloodshot Daffy's eyes are.
A rubbery black background blob smothers Daffy, so he destroys it and demands the picture begin - so we iris out to THE END - NO! NO!!!!!!!
Two Daffys (the result of the film projector sticking between frames) nearly come to blows, then eventually we get the answer to the mystery that has Daffy yelling his lungs out - and the audience laughing at a film parody to end all such. It's been said this cartoon breaks the fourth as well as fifth and sixth walls - but they forgot to mention the seventh and eighth walls it breaks as well.
Looking at my list, there are a few animated shorts, and I think that makes sense. Animators can play games with narrative that wouldn't read in conventional presentations.
This little think is only seven minutes long, but that space quite a few narrative folds are presented.
Daffy is forced to be someone different as the animator changes his context. This we saw decades before with "Sherlock Jr," but Keaton's identity didn't change so radically. Here, the identities are movie stereotypes, in fact stereotypes that only exist in movies.
But then Daffy is redrawn directly to be a different being, first in the same shape with different colors and then in a radically different shape, part flower. Flying from his tail/flagpole is a flag with a screw and a ball on it. Screwball comedy.
Then we play with the animator manipulating the camera, far and close. Remember that this was the period of Hitchcock's developments of camera awareness, and the short may well have played in front of "Dial M" or "Rear Window."
(Remember also that this was after the two similar cartoons that spoofed the rerelease of "Robin Hood," so the cartoon ABOUT movie notion was established.)
Then we have the noir black curtain falling on our duck, protected temporarily by a prop, but he fights back against noir, first against the black curtain itself and then its cause, an unresolved ending.
After this, we have the duck encountering a mirror image of itself and subsequently being destroyed, noir winning (as it always must). At this point in movie history, noir had.
And finally, we zoom back in narrative space to see the cartoonist who has been manipulating the cartoon by pencil, brush and eraser that we see as themselves drawn elements. And behold, we see the narrator is... a cartoon character!
Ted's Evaluation -- 4 of 3: Every cineliterate person should experience this.
From that moment, Daffy goes on to one wacky situation to another and so on. This episode producers one of the best lines ever said in a Looney Tunes cartoon
"Hey Come Here, Come Here, Give me a close up, A Close Up! (Screen Blackens except the top right corner). This is a close up? A CLOSE UP YOU JERK, A CLOSE UP!!!!!!!! (Camera zooms in)"
That line has got to be one of my favourites. SO is this cartoon
This classic cartoon shows us the world of animation where everything is possible. The animator is not seen but his tools, like a pencil, are and that makes it very funny. Director Chuck Jones shows us Daffy and although he changes from time to time he always is Daffy. A great and hilarious cartoon.
This short also has some MASSIVE humour. Just when you have finished laughing, yet ANOTHER joke comes on - and of course - you HAVE to laugh again!
Recommended for all Daffy Duck and cartoon animation fans! Enjoy!
Here are some of my favorite gags from this short. It opens with Daffy trying his hand at legitimate acting but being a constant victim of abrupt changes in scenery (medieval castle grounds, a farm, a snowfield, and a Hawaiian island) and having to adjust his wardrobe and props accordingly. Suddenly dressed as a sailor, Daffy begins to sing a familiar seafaring song, until he realizes he's not standing on any island and plunges into the water! And as Daffy opens his parachute, the unidentified cartoonist erases the parachute and substitutes an anvil!
I don't think I have seen "Duck Amuck" since I was a kid, and I am pleased to see it restored on DVD (Disc 2 of the Looney Tunes Golden Collection Volume 1). In my opinion, it is well worth watching for a lot of laughs.
From there, Daffy gets redrawn, cloned, and exploded. The big surprise comes at the end, when we learn who the animator is. It just goes to show that the people who made these cartoons were pure geniuses.
- It's directed by the one and only Chuck Jones (or Charles M. Jones as credited in some of his hilarious works)
- The style of animation is just a sight to behold, its funny, colorful and plenty of detail to admire
- It's Daffy Duck's leading role (my 2nd favourite fictional character in the series) and the idea of him being tormented by the mysterious animator in many hilarious ways is comedic gold! Mel Blanc as always gives his very best voice work to make him seem so believable
- Its a 4th Wall Breaker, not just the fourth but many walls are broken in the cartoon universe and the audience
Overall, don't miss the chance to see this masterpiece of all time!
The premise is take an animated character (Daffy) and put him in a situation where the background keeps changing time and place if it was there. All efforts to convince the animator usually end up in Daffy getting coloured, given a completely different and ridiculous body or other such ways to always make us laugh at his reaction.
If you even have the slightest enjoyment of Daffy Duck or any of the other Looney Tunes characters then this one is certainly for you. Even after many years it always is fun to see him look at his ridiculous new body in a mirror and scream "EEK!"... Ain't I a stinker!
My favorite moment is when Daffy tries to vent his anger but his voice changes. The way he gets agitated and embarrassed, with the constant gesticulations (clenched fist, hand on mouth, shaking hands) is a joy to watch. Another highlight is the ab(use) of the scenery with the vivid distortion of 'Close Up' and contortions in Daffy's character when he demands the creator to give him a body.
I can now realize Chuck's intentions- with every little distortion created, Daffy still remains the main focus. When the creator 'erases' Daffy's character, we recognize his distinctive voice, when he gives Daffy an amorphous body, we recognize his bill, and even though his temper reaches boiling point, there is always a quirky touch to it (referring to the 'double duck sequence').
The most inventive moment was when the screen literally falls on him and he keeps a stick under it to hold it. It's a pity such humor is missing now because most of the target audience would not appreciate it now. Even watching those Mickey Mouse shorts made in 1930s makes me wonder why the new animation focuses on being so 'realistic' and does not want to experiment? At least some shorts can come up on cartoon channels that tend to break the rules and give life to anything and everything ( in Mickey Mouse, even a steam engine was given life in one short!)
Duck Amuck is where Chuck Jones' jackpot struck! My rating: 9/10
This is a really hilarious cartoon. It's one of the best Daffy Duck cartoons ever, and also one of Chuck Jones' best. It's too bad that this cartoon didn't even get an Oscar nomination. I mean, this didn't get nominated, and Knighty Knight Bugs won an Oscar? How shameful!
One of the funniest scenes in this cartoon is a scene in which the screen goes up a few times, until it get's stuck and the screen is split into two halves, with Daffy in the bottom half and his feet in the top half, and then both images of Daffy start arguing with each other.
A few years later, Bugs Bunny starred in a similar cartoon, Rabbit Rampage. That is good too, but not as good as this cartoon.
It begins as some sort of Robin Hood type story but the animator has fun switching backgrounds so Daffy never knows what scene he is in or where he is.
At one point he switches sound effects around which truly drives Daffy mad. Then after the utter humiliation of switching his parachute for an anvil (after erasing his airplane) the animator is revealed as...Bugs Bunny.
"Ain't I a stinker?" He confirms rather than asks.
Yes, he is a stinker. Daffy Duck rules!