Sunday, February 6, 2011

The 50 Greatest Cartoons: 45

Book Revue (later re-issued as Book Review) is a 1945 Looney Tunes cartoon short featuring Daffy Duck, released in 1946, with a plotline essentially similar to 1938's Have You Got Any Castles?. It is directed by Bob Clampett (in his final credited role at the studio), written by Warren Foster and scored by Carl Stalling. An uncredited Mel Blanc and Sara Berner provided the voices. As originally released, the title is a pun, as a Revue is a variety show, while a Review is an evaluation of a work (this pun is not retained in the reissue).

The plot is a send-up of Warner Brothers' own "books come to life" cartoons of the type that frequently appeared under the Merrie Melodies banner (such as 1938's Have You Got Any Castles). The cartoon is loaded with puns and pop culture references, even by Warner standards. After this lampoon, Warner never issued another of that genre.

The cartoon starts out in the same, pastoral "after midnight at a closed bookstore" fashion of previous versions, to the strains of Moonlight Sonata. The storefront is realistic, suggesting it was rotoscoped. Initially the cartoon has a serious feel to it. Then, an inebriated "cuckoo bird" pops out of a cuckoo clock to announce the arrival of midnight (and signaling the "cuckoo" activities to follow), the cartoon's first lampoon and pun appears, a book cover called "COMPLETE WORKS of Shakespeare". Shakespeare is shown in silhouette while his literally-rendered "works" are clockwork mechanisms, along with old-fashioned "stop" and "go" traffic signals, set to the "ninety years without slumbering, tick-tock, tick-tock" portion of "My Grandfather's Clock".

Cut to a book titled Young Man with a Horn; a caricature of Harry James breaks loose with a jazz trumpet obbligato similar to James' "You Made Me Love You", instead resolving into the standard, "It Had to Be You". A striptease is about to begin on the cover of Cherokee Strip. Book covers for The Whistler and The Sea Wolf show their characters shouting and whistling at the off-screen action. (The Sea Wolf's howl segu├ęs into a sentence, sometimes rendered as "Howwwww old is she?" but that phrasing is unclear, perhaps purposely.) The now-panting Shakespeare silhouette's inner workings explode in a shower of gears and clocksprings.




Enjoy your time.

17 comments:

  1. Looney Toons was one of my favs while growing up :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm almost positive I remember this.

    ReplyDelete
  3. i thought looney toons were weak even when i was a kid

    ReplyDelete
  4. I loved Looney Toons but mostly because they were on all the time. I had to wait special days to see new episodes of Flintstones or Scooby-Doo, but Looneys were always there.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Huh...I've somehow never seen this! That was a welcome treat. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I loved this one :) Thanks for reminding me =]

    ReplyDelete
  7. awesome show

    http://lifeofbaron.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  8. I think it's impossible to dislike Looney Toons cartoons. You'd have to have no soul or something.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Looney Toons brings me memories of my early days on Saturday mornings :D

    ReplyDelete
  10. There were so many good things about Looney Toons. Kids these days have no idea.

    ReplyDelete
  11. They don't make cartoons like they used to.

    ReplyDelete
  12. can't go wrong with old cartoons. I just had a major nostalgia Winnie The Pooh related post last week myself! haha

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts with Thumbnails