PictureThe picture stands up to the test of time surprisingly well - these cartoons were always renowned for their bright and bold colours so despite some grain and general aging of the source material, they still seem pretty fresh today. The shorts were digitally re-mastered although I don't think they went too far with this process as they haven't removed grain and marks from the print, instead it looks like they've brought the colours and contrast up to modern standards but this is more than sufficient. The quality of the animation speaks for itself so even a non perfect image can't stop them shining. The image is presented in it's original 1.33:1 full screen format as is to be expected.
SoundThe sound is rendered in Dolby Digital 1.0, which is a flash way of saying Mono. Thankfully in real terms this isn't as depressing as it sounds - first of all, it is the original format in which these cartoons were produced so one can't complain, but more importantly it works perfectly well as it is. There is some speech (Bugs, Daffy etc.) but most of the time it is a musical score and sound effects which all sounded fine even in mono.
ExtrasAs mentioned above, the first thing to note is a physical extra - in this set you get a limited edition cell of animation framed in a little card border. It is only approximately 10x5cm but if it was placed in a glass frame or backlit, it would probably fit in well with those lucky enough to have dedicate home-cinema rooms - it's too good for the grubby paws of our little ones that's for sure!
The extras are split across all four discs so here is a breakdown
Intro from Whoopi Goldberg - as mentioned above this sets the scene but also highlights that some shorts have been reinstated even though they contain stereotypes that today would not be acceptable. This is to accurately reflect opinions of the time.
Six of the shorts have audio commentaries on this disc, each one having a range of people commenting and providing insight into that particular animation.
Two of the shorts have music only soundtracks where the sound effects or speech were not yet instated
The first featurette on this disc is entitled “A hunting we will go: Chuck Jones' Wabbit Season Twilogy” (9m29s) and this looks a Chuck Jones and his specific involvement with Bugs Bunny. A more in-depth look at Chuck Jones is covered in “Chuck amuck” (51m6s) a previously broadcast documentary from 1989. Next up is “The Bugs Bunny Show”. This was originally broadcast in black & white for the ABC network. Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng and Robert McKimson directed new animation sequences each week to bridge existing classic cartoons, presenting them in a novel way. The show gave viewers a backstage look at the Looney Tunes. On this disc there are two sections for this: “The Honeymousers” Bridging Sequences (5m35s) and “Ball Point Puns” Audio Recording Session (4m56s).
Again, this disc starts with the same Intro from Whoopi Goldberg as per disc 1.
There are 7 shorts with audio commentaries and 3 with a music only soundtrack on this disc.
The first featurette is “Behind the tunes - Bosko, Buddy and the best of black and white” (9m26s) which looks at the very first Looney Tunes shorts from the 1930's. “Fine Tooning: Restoring the Warner Bros cartoons” (10m21s) then shows the processes involved with restoring these old shorts and bringing them up to the standard that is on this disc. Next we have “What's up doc? A salute to bugs bunny part 1” (34m57s) this is again a previously broadcast “best of Bugs Bunny” from 1990 containing clips and anecdotes. “From the vault” contains a couple of archive clips from the early days - “sinkin' in the bathtub” (7m53s) a B&W animation and “it's got me again” (7m8s) which is an early Tom & Jerry type of cartoon, also in B&W.
Again, this disc starts with the same intro from Whoopi Goldberg and contains 8 shorts with audio commentaries and 4 with music only soundtracks. The first featurette on this disc is “Tish Tash: The Animated World of Frank Tashlin” (17m31s) another in depth look at one of the major faces in the Looney Tunes family - interestingly this featurette reveals that Jerry Lewis started as vocalist with the Looney Tunes team, something which they are very proud of. Next up we have “What's up doc? Salute to bugs bunny part 2” (25m49s) which follows on from the feature on the previous disc. “From the vault” again has archive footage this time; “Porky's Party Storyboard” (13m7s) which is a feature shown in storyboard form and “Reel Point Rationing of Foods” (6m13s) a fascinating piece of history where the US Government used the Looney Tunes animators to produce an informational short film about the use of rationing. The patronising information for housewives is particularly funny - you can't help thinking of Harry Enfield's classic “women, know your place” sketches. Finally there is another piece of archive footage, “The Bear That Wasn't” (10m20s) which is notable for it's completely different animation style.
Once again this starts with the intro from Whoopi Goldberg and has 12 shorts with audio commentaries and 2 with music only soundtracks. The first featurette is “Behind The Tunes - Looney Tunes Go To War!” (10m16s) which again shows the close involvement between the Looney Tunes, the government and the mood of the people at that time. “Strictly for the birds (Tweety & Sylvesters Award Winning Team Up” (7m13s) looks at the classic pairing of Sylvester and Tweety-Pie... sufferin' suckertash... “The Charm of Stink (On the scent of Pepe Le Pew)” (7m23s) looks at master of romance and thickest skinned skunk of them all, Pepe Le Pew. “Philbert TV Pilot with optional commentary by historian Jerry Beck, Art Leonardi and voice artist Trust Howard” (26m16s) is a rather intriguing pilot for a show that was never broadcast - it mixed an animated cartoon character (Philbert) with real actors and appears to be surprisingly sophisticated from a technical perspective. It was actually directed by Richard Donner who went on to much bigger things such as Lethal Weapon etc. The “From the vault” section on this disc has “Falling Hare storyboard reel” (8m50s), “Spies” (3m34s), “Rumors” (4m19) and “Snafuperman” (4m34s) with the last three all involving Private Snafu, a US soldier once again being used as a propaganda tool.
VerdictLooney Tunes Golden Collection Volume Three is simply a classic piece of Americana that has permeated our cultural lives just as much as those Sith Lords have, yet will no doubt be sadly overlooked as “something for the kids” - yes, that is primarily the case but in looking at the depth of extras on this set hopefully you will see that there is indeed something here for everyone. This is getting pride of place on my shelf that's all I can say.
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