Sunday, December 27, 2015

Duck Cassidy and the Trichinosis Kid

Of course, for a maniac like me, I'm used to cartoon Westerns such as the Tex Avery stuff for MGM, and that one Bob Clampett one where Bugs doubles as the Masked Marauder and as the guide who helps the hero try to catch said Masked Marauder.  Then there's all those Western skirmishes between Bugs and Yosemite Sam, silly me.  And what do all of these have in common?  Fast-paced, ultra-violent, and completely insane.  About 180 degrees opposite of our next Looney Tunes called Drip-Along Daffy.  Some might call it another Chuck Jones masterpiece, and they'd of course be right.
And being the hipster that I am, I can't help but notice the poking fun of genre conventions, the usage of archetypes (and the poking of fun at it, thereof)... very rare for one of these cartoons to point out the usage of "comedy relief"!  It's almost like the Zucker team made this one, but surely they learned from it.  As in Bugs Bunny Rides Again, there's a gag involving stop signs; personally, I prefer that one.  But the gags with bad horses kick ass!
And even though the cartoon pokes fun at the Western genre conventions, it still can't help but rely on them as well.  Daffy and Porky arrive in town, and Daffy takes it upon himself to be the new sheriff.  Reminds me of the recent stand-up of Jerry Seinfeld on Colbert's "Late Show" about the insanity of wanting to be President of the United States in the first place.  For one thing, Donald Trump would take a big cut in salary, and even though he tells me he's really, really rich, he's still going to rely on funding for catering at town hall events.  I mean, he's not literally made of gold!  And if he were, he's not going to hock a golden arm and a golden leg just to feed a bunch of losers for one meal!
And so, Daffy tries to introduce himself to an indifferent saloon public.  The public is disinterested.  And so, Daffy gets some refreshments from the bartender.  Daffy's drink gets shot by the bad guy.  Again, some genre conventions can't be made fun of.  Also, this is another opportunity to appreciate the genius of Carl Stalling.  Listen to the band when the bad guy, "Nasty" Canasta gets visually introduced.  It's not all Spike Jones-esque fun and games, folks.
...oh, I'm so behind.  I gotta wrap this up.  I guess the backgrounds are the secret star of this one, especially during the last big sequence.  The background artist put in some serious overtime on this one.  Again, sticking to genre conventions, poking fun at others.  I guess the setup ones are up for grabs to be poked fun at.  We were recently watching an old ... what's it called, with Steve McQueen?  "Wanted: Dead or Alive"!  That's it!  One of my viewing companions pointed out that, on these old TV Westerns, they would distinguish themselves from one another by the type of weapon that the hero would use.  For McQueen, it was a sawed-off shotgun.  For "Have Gun Will Travel," I guess it was a regular six-shooter, but with an ivory knight (chess) on it... something like that.  The episode they were watching was "Montana Kid."  I know this because I recognized Jean Willes, who appeared in a couple Stooge shorts.  Well, some of the Stooge actors actually had big careers!  Go figure.  Anyway, the bad guy gets his, but in a slightly surprising way.  I won't spoil that for you... is he really dead, though?  I thought these cartoon things were light, comical affairs!  Dayamn... cold-blooded.  Another Jones classic, and yet I can't seem to bring myself to giving it four stars... okay.  Four stars it is.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

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