Looney Tunes Golden Collection [4 Discs] [DVD]

Animation fans have been waiting patiently (or in some cases not so patiently) for Warner Home Video to release their library of classic cartoons on DVD, and with this set, Warners does a lot of catching up fast -- Looney Tunes: The Golden Collection collects 56 vintage animated shorts along with a sizable bounty of extras. The cartoons have been transferred to disc in their original full-frame aspect ratio of 1.33:1, and the transfers are uniformly excellent, sharp enough to reveal the paint strokes on the animation cels, and overflowing with gloriously bright Technicolor. The audio has been mastered in Dolby Digital Mono, and these results are equally impressive, with the musical scores of Carl Stalling and Milt Franklyn sounding just as well detailed as they deserve. Along with the original English-language soundtracks, alternate dubbed versions in French are included, as well as optional subtitles in English, French, and Spanish. Each of the four discs in this package has been stuffed with extras. Twenty-six of the cartoons feature commentary tracks, mostly from film historians Michael Barrier and Greg Ford, though Stan Freberg, who did voice work for the Warners animation studio, also contributes. Additionally, several of Barrier's commentaries are enhanced with audio clips from interviews with Chuck Jones and Friz Freleng, who directed many of the cartoons included. A dozen cartoons also feature optional music-only audio tracks for those who wish to study Carl Stalling's work more closely. Each disc features several "Behind the Tunes" featurettes, entertaining short tributes to particular characters or members of the Looney Tunes creative team. Two longer documentaries are also included -- The Boys From Termite Terrace, a 1975 television special which looks back at the Warners animation department and includes interviews with many of the major creative figures involved, and Irreverent Imaginations: The Golden Age of Looney Tunes, a new documentary that offers more polish and some rare footage, but lacks the first-person perspective of Termite Terrace. Another bonus featurette, Toon Heads: The Lost Cartoons, is a Cartoon Network special which features rare and little-seen productions from the Warners animation department (though, sadly, most are shown in edited form). Still more odds and ends fill out the package: a new cartoon which serves as a mock blooper reel for a Looney Tunes reunion; clips from the bridging sequences created for the television series The Bugs Bunny Show; animated numbers featuring Bugs Bunny from two Warner Bros. musicals, My Dream Is Yours and Two Guys From Texas; audio clips from voice artist Mel Blanc's recording sessions; pencil tests and schematic artwork for three titles; galleries of rare lobby cards, character sheets, and background artwork; trailers for feature-length collections of classic cartoons; and one of the earliest Warner Bros. cartoons, Bosco, The Talk-Ink Kid. If this set has a flaw, it's what's not here rather than what is. A number of classic titles discussed at length in The Boys From Termite Terrace and Irreverent Imaginations don't appear here, most notably What's Opera, Doc? and One Froggy Evening; at the same time, Chuck Jones' Road Runner cartoons, arguably among his finest work, are represented by a single cartoon while Bugs Bunny thoroughly dominates the proceedings. But what is included is generally quite strong, and there's no arguing with the quality of the presentation; Looney Tunes: The Golden Collection certainly gets Warner Bros. series of classic cartoon releases on DVD off to a rousing start.
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Overall Customer Rating:
Rating 4.85 out of 5 stars.
100% of customers would recommend this product to a friend (6 out of 6)

Special Features

  • Greeting from Chuck Jones
  • Commentaries and behind-the-scenes featurettes with animators and historians profiling particular cartoons, characters, and creators
  • Extensive historical documentaries on the talents of Termite Terrace, "lost" cartoons, and the history of the Looney Tunes
  • Music-only tracks on selected shorts
  • Excerpts from the original primetime The Bugs Bunny Show and the rascally rabbit's live-action movies and documentary tributes
  • From the Vaults galleries with stills, pencil tests, and schematics
  • Languages: English & Français
  • Subtitles: English, Français, & Español
  • Closed Captioned


Porky Chops
Baton Bunny
Feed the Kitty
Hair-Raising Hare
Rabbit of Seville
Warner Brothers cartoon director Chuck Jones casts Elmer Fudd and Bugs Bunny in the roles of opera singers in the Looney Tunes short The Rabbit of Seville. Preceding Jones' famous Wagner parody What's Opera, Doc? by seven years, this short begins out in the wilds, with Elmer chasing the wascally wabbit through the woods. Bugs takes refuge in a local building, which turns out to be an opera house; naturally, the two manage to become stuck on stage when the show, a performance of Rossini's The Barber of Seville, begins. Bugs sings hilarious new lyrics to the opera's overture, penned by Jones and writer Michael Maltese, as he forces the confused hunter into a barber's chair and treats him to a full make-over, beginning with a rather violent shave. Other barbershop gags include Bugs snake-charming an electric razor, a race for the ceiling between escalating barber's chairs, and a pedicure involving a can opener. Perhaps the most memorable sequence, however, involves a bottle of "Figaro fertilizer" that makes Elmer's head grow hair -- and then sprout flowers. Unlike What's Opera, Doc?, this is a comic opera, so all ends relatively happily, with a nod to The Marriage of Figaro. ~ Judd Blaise, Rovi

The Scarlet Pumpernickel
Golden Yeggs
Don't Give up the Sheep
Tweety's S.O.S.
For Scent-imental Reasons
The dapper proprietor of an exclusive Parisian perfumery opens his shop one morning to discover a skunk (Pepe Le Pew) sampling his wares. Distraught, he calls a gendarme to remove the trespasser, but the policeman refuses to touch the smelly animal. The proprietor seizes hold of a cat and throws her in, ordering her to rid the premises of the skunk. Unfortunately, she knocks over a bottle of white dye which spreads along her back, giving her the appearance of another skunk. Pepe is struck with desire upon seeing the attractive faux-polecat and he makes amorous advances upon her. Repulsed, the cat hides inside a glass case. Pepe demands that she come out, and when she refuses, he places a gun to his head and pulls the trigger. The alarmed cat rushes out into his arms ("Fortunately for you, I missed," he explains), and then escapes to an upstairs room. As Pepe approaches, she jumps out the window. Proclaiming that they will die together, Pepe jumps after her. He lands in a bucket of blue paint, and she in a barrel of water. The cat, wet and bedraggled, looks so unappetizing that Pepe does not recognize her. On the other hand, with his strike covered, Pepe now resembles a very well-built cat, and he soon finds himself the object of the female cat's unwanted -- and very aggressive -- adoration. ~ Craig Butler, Rovi

The Hypo-Chondri-Cat
Bully for Bugs
Rabbit Fire
Duck Amuck
Daffy Duck faces a rather bizarre adversary in the classic Merrie Melodies short Duck Amuck, which pits Daffy against a mischievous off-screen animator, who is constantly altering and even sabotaging the cartoon. The trouble begins when, during a Three Musketeers parody, Daffy suddenly notices the background has disappeared, leaving only empty space. He complains to the animator, who then puts him through an ever-changing series of locations, from a barnyard, to snow-covered fields to a tropical island. Daffy tries to adapt, apologizing to the audience for the trouble, but grows increasingly flustered as the changes continue. Soon he and the silent, faceless animator -- Daffy can only see a brush and a white glove -- are arguing over other aspects of the production, from the background colors to the definition of a close-up. Director Chuck Jones and writer Michael Maltese have a great deal of fun with this reflexive premise, gleefully poking fun at the process of animation itself while building towards a superb final punchline. Highlights include the transformation of Daffy's voice into strange sound effects and an improperly adjusted frame line that allows Daffy to get into an argument with himself. ~ Judd Blaise, Rovi

Water, Water Every Hare
Long-Haired Hare
Rabbit Seasoning
Lumber Jerks
Drip-Along Daffy
Fast and Furry-ous
Bugs and Thugs
Haredevil Hare
Bugs Bunny and the Three Bears
Kit for Kat
Boobs in the Woods
Tortoise Wins by a Hare
Big Top Bunny
America's favorite wascally wabbit stars in this comic escapade in which Bugs, the main attraction of the Kolonel Korney World circus, raises the ire of the Russian acrobat bear. The video release also features such classic shorts as Water, Water Every Hare, Rabbit Rampage, Abominable Snow-Rabbit, Rabbit's Skin, and Bugs Bunny Gets the Boid. ~ Jonathan Crow, Rovi

High Diving Hare
Baseball Bugs
Bunker Hill Bunny
A Merrie Melodies cartoon set in the time of the American Revolution, director Friz Freleng's Bunker Hill Bunny casts Bugs Bunny as a Colonial rebel and Yosemite Sam as "Sam Von Schmam," a Hessian redcoat. Bugs and Sam command neighboring forts on the outskirts of the battle, flying opposing flags -- Bugs is "We", Sam is "They." Naturally, the two soon find themselves at war. In traditional Warner Brothers cartoon fashion, what follows is a series of blackout gags exploring the comic potential of cannonballs, bayonets, and sheds stacked to the ceiling with gunpowder, the violence escalating exponentially as the conflict progresses. But no matter how complex Sam's determined efforts to defeat the rebellious rabbit become, Bugs always manages to turn the tables with his old-fashioned American ingenuity. The battle is accompanied by a continual barrage of wisecracks, ranging from Bugs' use of baseball chatter during a cannon fight to a series of puns involving rhymes for the word "Hessian." The conclusion of the film features a bandaged Sam and Bugs walking down the road playing a drum and fife, a composition mimicking the well-known painting. ~ Judd Blaise, Rovi

A Broken Leghorn
Canned Feud
Frigid Hare
Putty Tat Trouble
Devil May Hare
Canary Row
The Wearing of the Grin
Ballot Box Bunny
Duck Dodgers in the 24th and 1/2 Century
Bugs Bunny Gets the Boid
Deduce, You Say
Dough for the Do-Do
Scaredy Cat
The Awful Orphan
Wabbit Twouble
Wabbit Twouble, a Merrie Melodies animated short from director Robert Clampett and writer Dave Monahan, once again pits Elmer Fudd against the mischievous rabbit Bugs Bunny. This time, the conflict is played out amongst the canyons and cabins of "Jellostone" National Park, where Elmer has gone for a much-needed vacation -- no hunting this time. However, his quest for rest and relaxation is continually disturbed by Bugs, who does his best to drive Elmer absolutely batty. (Just before leading him off a cliff, Bugs turns to the audience to proclaim "I do this kind of stuff to him all through the picture," sounding a bit embarrassed at how easy it all is.) The pesky rabbit's schemes culminate by tricking Elmer into provoking both a grizzly bear and a park ranger. As the title suggests, this cartoon builds a good number of jokes around Elmer's speech impediment, going so far as to write all the credits in a style mimicking his voice (i.e., "Music by Cawl W. Stawwing.") Also notable is the atypical visual design of Elmer, who sports a pronounced red nose and appears rather plumper than usual. ~ Judd Blaise, Rovi

Daffy Duck Hunt
What's Up, Doc?
Rabbit's Kin
Big House Bunny
The Ducksters
My Bunny Lies Over the Sea
Speedy Gonzales
Everyone's favorite fast-moving mouse takes the lead in this Academy Award-winning cartoon short directed by Friz Freleng. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

Elmer's Candid Camera
Early to Bet
The Foghorn Leghorn
Yankee Doodle Daffy

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