By Dennis Hartley
(Originally posted on Digby’s Hullabaloo on December 10, 2011)
The Looney Tunes Platinum Collection, Vol. 1 – Warner Blu-ray set
During those long, dark nights of my soul, when all seems hopeless and futile, there’s always one particular thought that never fails to bring me back to the light. It’s that feeling that somewhere, out there in the ether, there’s a frog, with a top hat and a cane, waiting for a chance to pop out of a box to sing:
Hello my baby, hello my honey, hello my ragtime gal
Send me a kiss by wire, baby my heart’s on fire…
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, just go ahead and skip to the next review now. The rest of you might want to check out this fabulous 3-disc collection, which features 50 classic animated shorts (and 18 rarities) from the Warner Brothers vaults. Deep catalog Looney Tunes geeks may quibble until the cows come home about what’s not here (Warner has previously released six similar DVD collections in standard definition), but for the casual fans (like yours truly) there is plenty to please. I’m just happy to have “One Froggy Evening”, “I Love to Singa”, “Rabbit of Seville”, “Duck Amuck”, “Leghorn Lovelorn”, “Three Little Bops” and “What’s Opera Doc?” in one place. The selections cover all eras, from the 1940s onward.
One thing that does become clear, as you watch these restored gems in gorgeous hi-def (especially those from the pre-television era) is that these are not “cartoons”, they are 7 ½ minute films, every bit as artful as anything else cinema has to offer. Extras include a trio of excellent documentaries about the studio’s star director, the legendary Chuck Jones. The real diamond amongst the rarities is The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics (directed by Jones for MGM), which won the 1965 Oscar for Best Animated Short Film.