Saturday, 15 May 2010

LOONEY LEGEND

The real problem with the new Robin Hood is that if you are going to jettison all the familiar trappings that have attached themselves to this ancient legend over centuries, then you need something pretty potent to put in their place. Messrs Scott and Crowe simply did the former without having the latter.

However, still on the subject of the ever-(Lincoln)-green movie career of Master Robin, here's one of my favourite cinematic takes on the outlaw of Sherwood Forest: the 1958 Warner Brothers 'Merrie Melodies' cartoon, Robin Hood Daffy, animated by the great Chuck Jones...



9 comments:

Andy J. Latham said...

Chuck really was great wasn't he? In your animation travels, did you ever meet him Brian? I'm reading his second book "Chuck Reducks" at the moment. As with "Chuck Amuck", it's a fascinating read.

Have you seen the images floating around the net of the new Looney Tunes cartoons? On the one hand I suppose these wonderful characters should be allowed to evolve as they have in the past, but I can't help but wish they had been left alone unless the creators thought they could do better (which I'm sure they can't have thought).

Anyway, you've saved me the price of a cinema ticket. A colleague has told me a similar thing, so I think I'll give this one a miss. I have to make the shocking confession that I wasn't really that fussed on Gladiator either!

Brian Sibley said...

I know I always sound so showy-offy when you ask these questions, ANDY, but, yes, I did meet Chuck. I interviewed him for a Guardian lecture at the National Film Theatre many years ago (he had just painted a huge mural of Warner Bros characters on the wall of MOMI, now long lost) and we were given dinner afterwards so we spent several hours in each other's company.

I found him fun and, as you'd expect, incredibly intelligent, but also clearly very competitive and probably quite demanding to work for.

Andy J. Latham said...

You're not showy-offy Brian, it's interesting to know what these people are like in the flesh, particularly when it's no longer possible to hope to meet them in the future.

People often say "never meet your heroes". I'd say "do meet them, because it's good to see that they are just human beings like the rest of us" :)

Brian Sibley said...

Yes, Andy, I'm with you: meet your heroes and if, afterwards, they seem a little less heroic but a bit more human then that is no bad thing... :)

Neil-W said...

It's interesting how Daffy seemed to have two distinct personalities. All characters evolve but the early Daffy
is a complete nut case causing mayhem and trouble,while the later Daffy is a pompous self important blowhard. I like both characteristics and enjoy them all.
I hope the mural that Chuck did for the Museum Of The Moving Image survived in some form.

Brian Sibley said...

NEIL-W - Good observation. What I love about Daffy (and all the Warner cartoon failures such as Roadrunner, Elmer Fudd and Pepe Le Pew) is their unsinkable optimism and determination to ignore the odds stacked against them and try just one more time...

Sadly (as far as I know), Chuck Jones' MOMI mural was just torn down.

Andy J. Latham said...

The later Daffy, Yosamite Sam and Wile E. Coyote are my favourite characters because they are such brilliant observations of the stupid creatures that we are. We all have those characters within us, though we might be afraid to admit it. Chuck's brilliance was in celebrating the flaws common to each of us.

Brian Sibley said...

And - with the cartoonist's sadism tempered by an infinite and unswerving mercifulness - they were allowed (unlike most of us) to repeatedly survive the consequences of their stupidity!

Steven Hartley said...

Chuck apparantally wanted strong animators, and there was an animator he had in his unit from the 1940's and 1950's named Lloyd Vaughan, and apparentally, he was "always grilling Lloyd's ass", and threatened him with a demotion. Ken Harris then taught him how to animate better.