2 years ago
"Duck Amuck" (Warner Brothers, 1953)

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It may seem strange as we try to get these cartoon discussions going again that we would choose a cartoon that is one of the most beloved and best instead of featuring something more unknown or obscure. But there is an aspect to this cartoon that I think gets lost.

To wit: "Duck Amuck" is one of the most philosophical and, may I say, religious cartoon to come out of the Warners studio.

Hear me out.

In theatrical and cinematic tropes there is something referred to as the fourth wall; that is, the imaginary wall that separates the characters from the audience. And when a character attempts to talk directly to the audience, it is considered "breaking the forth wall." Daffy certainly does that in spades here as he attempts to get through the cartoon. But there is another level at work here and if I may be allowed, Daffy also attempts to break what I would call a fifth wall, that boundary between the creation and his creator.

As Daffy is continuously shuttled from one scenario to the next, he begins to wonder who is doing this to him. Is there a creator or is he just handed over to the whim of fate? And if there is a creator, what plans does he have for poor Daffy as even his entire bodily structure is changed at the behest of ... well, he doesn't know. And in a way, isn't that a situation that many of us find ourselves in unless we are people of faith?

It's a true existential crisis and sadly, for Daffy, it is one at the end that he is unable to solve. But it does make for a very entertaining and silly cartoon, Kierkegaard would be proud.
2 years ago
My own random observations, in addition to euty's own deep thoughts:
-I remember hearing that Jones specifically did this as a test to see if Daffy would still be recognizable as a character even with all the weird changes he goes through - a test that more than succeeded, I'd say!
-It's not just the visuals that are changed over the course of the cartoon (by Bugs, as we discover), but the actual soundtrack too, with that whole interlude in which Treg Brown's SFX overtake Daffy's guitar routine and even his attempts to speak. I'd like to know how Bugs pulled *that* off...
-Daffy is aware from the beginning that he's being manipulated by a creator, but his relationship with the creator seems to have been of a mutually beneficial kind at first, or maybe he just takes it for granted, as he begrudgingly but willingly goes along with the initial background changes - after all, they might be just an unusual lack of decisiveness on the creator's part. Over time, though, he realizes that the creator is growing increasingly hostile and even mocking - trying to just ignore the creator and go his own way won't work, as evidenced by what happens when he tries tap-dancing for the audience, but even his attempts to reason with the creator, whose existence he hitherto probably saw as just, well, there, only make things worse. Eventually, he gets so fed up that he's driven to very directly question who his creator is - and that's when we find out that Bugs has been behind the drawing board, acting as Daffy's arbitrary and cruel god.
2 years ago
I still can't believe this short got snubbed by the Academy Award committee when it was submitted for nomination. It's baffling.

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