#20 -- Robin Hood Daffy

Title - Robin Hood Daffy
Director - Chuck Jones
Released - 1958

Interesting Fact -- According to the commentary on Looney Tunes Golden Collection #3, this is the favorite short of Linda Jones Clough, the director's daughter

Reason for Placement --

Let's face it: if you ran into this guy in the woods and he claimed to be Robin Hood, you probably wouldn't believe him. And neither does Porky, setting up one of Jones' best shorts, Robin Hood Daffy. Porky is on his way to join up with Robin Hood, but refuses to believe that the little black duck in front of him is the hero he searches for. In an attempt to prove himself, Daffy sees a rich traveler in the woods, and decides to steal his gold.

I'll go ahead and admit that this is one of my all-time favorite shorts, and I could watch it a million times over again. But more than that, it's a prime example of why Jones remains one of the top animation directors in history. First, the writing of Michael Maltese is great, with classic one-liners that virtually any animation fan knows. All one has to do is say, "YOIKS... AND AWAY!", and we all know what you're talking about.

Second, the animation in this short balances perfectly. On one end, you have heavy cartoon slapstick, such as the scene over the bridge, where Daffy challenges Porky to a duel with his "trusty quarterstaff" ("Actually, it's a buck-and-a-quarter-quarterstaff, but I'm not telling him that!"). Then you have a great piece of subtle animation when Daffy fails yet again to catch the rich traveller in the woods: all we see is Daffy's disappointed face, and in the distance we can see Porky with his sarcastic grin, waving to Daffy. It's not over the top, nor does it need to be.

I could probably go on for hours about how beautiful the animation in this short really is. The background shows us yellow skies with blue trees, which sounds weird but actually works well. Then you have great little bits like the rich traveller riding through the woods (gotta love how he never actually moves besides the mule's skipping), the recurring gag of Daffy's bill getting bent as a sign of frustration, and even something as simple as Porky's heaving belly as he laughs at Daffy. It's these little details that pull the entire short together and help Robin Hood Daffy leave such a memorable impression.

No comments:

Post a Comment