Opening scene: much like One Meat Brawl, we find that Porky Pig is filling in for Elmer Fudd as the Looney Tunes resident Outdoorsman in Chief, thereby fulfilling the prophesy of the last line of Orwell's "Animal Farm." Like I need to tell you. It's the one about the line between man and pig getting blurred... my God! Orwell created Pierre Boulle! But hey, if any animal were suddenly to evolve to become like man, my money's on pig. After all, pig meat is dangerously close to human, if the documentaries are to be believed.
And so we find Porky Pig in hunter outfit, with hunting dog by his side, using a whistle to lure out the ducks. Unfortunately for Porky, but fortunately for us (and our insatiable need to be entertained), Porky's whistle has some unintended consequences. Enter Daffy Duck, Stage Left, making a greater entrance than even Jerry Lewis in Cinderfella, as the titular character at the ball in that movie. That was James Lipton's call, and I don't doubt his wisdom. He was right about Bradley Cooper after all, wasn't he?
It's a small detail, to be sure, but perhaps worth noting, for in the movies these days, it seems that nothing... and I mean, nothing... is brought up unless it has greater significance later on in the plot. Therefore, Daffy Duck Hunt harkens back to a simpler time, when an animated duck could ride up from the sunset in a giant wooden duck, and immediately begin sowing the seeds of insanity. But who knows? With our next Commander in Chief, anything's possible. Sorry, just thinking about politics again. And I'm sorry, but I'm still stewing about Monica Crowley's plagiarism scandal. I guess it figures that the Ph.D. of a Fox News contributor was a fake one, but I still want her to suffer some more. Anyway, Daffy comes up from behind, sneaking up on Porky and dog, and Daffy empties Porky's shotgun shells... maybe not so insane after all!
Triumphant, Daffy retreats Stage Left. You might notice that the background skips at about 0:52. Sloppy work, guys. Really sloppy. Whenever it does that, that's the background guys scrambling to provide visual continuity, while at the same time, and probably more importantly, laying out a section of background that the camera guys can more easily work with. Oh, and Daffy does another tribute to that wacky guy from the old newsreels that... that nobody remembers the name of. I don't think it was Munchausen and his endless barrage of corny jokes, but someone else. And he really does sound like that... not worth looking up right now, Frank Lee.
Next scene: Daffy, having disarmed Porky, now flies right in front... Lew Lehr! Dat's it! In an earlier WB cartoon, they call him "Who Dehr." That's my belly laugh for the day. LOL, Larry, LOL. Anyway, Porky's duck call whistle finally worked... or Daffy's finally prepared his trap for Porky, one or the other, maybe both. "Yoo hoo! Fat boy!" says Daffy. Oh, if only the animals could taunt people like that... actually, maybe that wouldn't help. Rich white douchebags would probably hunt endangered cheetahs even more, giving the thumbs up in their Dead Tiger Selfies (TM) just the same. Oh well! A hobby's a hobby. Daffy makes the next move, going into a "power dive", much like a male hummingbird trying to court a female, except when Daffy does his, he makes a machine gun noise while he dives. Much like Clampett used to have him do all the time, particularly in The Wise Quacking Duck and in Draftee Daffy... oh why oh why oh why couldn't I be reviewing that crazy-ass cartoon instead. Gotta wait til Volume 3. Figures.
As it happens, Porky doesn't have a shotgun, or a super shotgun like in Doom 2. Turns out he's got a machine shotgun, and he fires off more than eight shots a second... but slightly less than twelve per second. And just like looking for a local business on the web without trying its phone number first, Porky's overconfidence gets the best of him as he points triumphantly to the sky, telling his canine companion "I got him!" And then... the cold hard reality sinks in, as Daffy takes to the sky with a giant F.Y. banner... I mean, F.U. But it says "That's what YOU think!" Same sentiment, really, just more polite.
And so, Daffy's there doing his thing... c'mon, haters, have some fun. Those were the days, though, when the girls would have on the big grandma knickers under the flowery dresses and show off. Back then, that was the "anything" that goes that Cole Porter sang/wrote about. Clearly, however, as with Duck Soup to Nuts, Porky has no suspension of disbelief, and furthermore, as with Back Alley Oproar, he has neither an aesthetic sense, nor an ear for musical appreciation. But he does get an angry look across his bacon-y mug, as does his canine companion. They look at each other, and Porky lowers the shotgun.
For his big finish, Daffy bends over to reveal a giant bullseye on his... posteriour... so tawdry. I never thought film reviewing would be such a gutter enterprise like this. To compound matters, Porky shoots at it! "You wouldn't shoot a guy in the ass, wouldja?" asks Daffy... no, he doesn't really ask that. But I am, damn it... I am. Similar to the similar scene in The Unruly Hare... which I have yet to get to, probably. Porky fires the ass-killing shot, there's a plume of smoke, and there's another continuity problem, as always happens in these cartoony affairs for the tiddly-winkies... not enough to justify an entry on the IMDb "Goofs" page for the instant case, naturally... but it does contain a spoiler alert! Sorry... SPOILER ALERT.
Daffy plays dead again, and I do like the way he says "I'm a
Now, if I remember One Meat Brawl at all... and I don't... the dog in that one doesn't speak... no, no, that's not true. I know it's not true, because it contains one of my favourite lines of all time. Porky's hunting groundhogs, and he tells the dog that he's got a bottle of groundhog scent. To which, the dog responds, "Uh, yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah... Grrrrrrrrrroundhog scent." But here, in Daffy Duck Hunt, dog is Porky's co-pilot, and after finding Daffy, the dog confides in the audience. "Hmm! One of those wise quacking ducks, huh?" The dog has a plan, a psychological plan... after all, trying to catch any of these cartoon characters is a risky proposition at best, and criminally negligent at worst. I mean, if an ant can run at the same speed as an anteater, for God's sake...
...which brings us to the dog breaking out into tears. Of course, my director friend ain't buying it. They're so sick of crocodile tears, or fake crying, or any tears asymptotically close to genuine... why, they're this close to voting for a Republican president, that's how much they hate it. Daffy, on the other hand, buys the act, hook, line, and sinker... or does he? The answer may shock you... unless you're a jaded sophisticate and or have already watched ahead. In any event, I had to go to the Closed Captioning for this, one of Daffy's occasional bouts with extra-wordy verbiage. "Why the copious flow of lachrymal fluid, my careless canine?" Daffy asks the crying dog, as he pounds the ground with hands and feet, the waterworks indeed flowing like a crying Niagara Falls. Now, I hate to differ with the judgment of said Closed Captioning, but I contend that Daffy is saying "careless" as opposed to "garrulous." For one thing, Daffy's the one who's clearly being garrulous! The dog's just a'cryin'!
Anyway, back to the show. The trap is set, and Daffy goes along with the gag. It is now a battle of wits, and maybe of wills. If the dog knew how crazy Daffy can be, the dog would just go right back to Porky, empty-mouthed, saving himself so much heartbreak to come. But he doesn't, so he doesn't. Daffy crawls into the dog's mouth, and gets all bossy. "Not so hard!" and what not. He's gotten more and more picky since the days of Laramore and To Duck... or Not to Duck... incidentally, it was Stan Freberg as Laramore and NOT Mel Blanc, guys! Get it light! Geez Rouise! Incidentally, I just noticed that the animators threw in a lot of extra saliva flying from Daffy's mouth this go round. He's as whiny as Joe Besser here, but so much less flying saliva than Joe, for one...
We're close to the Act break, if not completely past it, so let's start anew at Act Two. Now, in what seems to me to be a grand comedy tradition, the dog brings Daffy over to Porky. Porky gets a closer look at Daffy and says "Say! He's not a very healthy-looking specimen." Daffy grumbles as quietly to himself as he possibly can; for Daffy, it's quite an achievement, indeed. The only other one that comes to mind is that Popeye cartoon called Learn Polikeness. Nevertheless, it's a grand comedy tradition. I think Stiller and Meara had a similar act when they first started in TV.
And so, like all duck hunters that just bagged their first duck, Porky drags Daffy away by his feet... just drags him right along the ground there, through all the humus and motor oil and everything. You know, hunter stuff. Reminds me of that story I heard and or read once a long time ago. A couple of kids were dragging a guy from point A to point B through the city. I think the guy was already dead, and he was face down, and they were just dragging along, happy as clams dragging a dead guy behind them. I remember that the body was face down, because by the time they got to Point B, the guy's face was completely worn away from dragging him along the pavement. Now turn out the light and go to sleep! Long day tomorrow!
Next scene: Porky's still dragging Daffy right along there, but now they've returned home to the suburbs. Lol. Because I've got a limited palette of memories in my brain, I'm reminded of a similar scene, a similar external shot of a house in the Coens' 2004 effort, The Ladykillers. I know, I'm sorry, I need to watch more Harmony Korine or Wes Anderson. I'll get right on it.
Next scene: the kitchen. Porky drops Daffy into the comedy fridge / freezer unit... now, I have the benefit of already watching this affair a couple times, but even upon seeing it for only your first time, you'll probably won't be able to help but think to yourself, "This is the fulcrum around which the rest of the plot hangs." That's just how powerful the setting of the scene is. But wait! More benefits are yet to be had, more comedy dividends yet to be earned.
Porky says, in that redundant way of his, "Good work, boy! We've earned a little rest!" Porky marches off with his shotgun to earn said rest he was just stuttering about. The dog, on the other hand, hangs back a little... this ring a bell for anyone? Anyone who's had to do a little sneaking around? Love it. Very subtle.
Now the fun begins. Porky's sufficiently out of the picture, when suddenly, from within the cold recesses of the "Deep Freez (sic) Unit" there came a tapping, dare I say it... even a bit of a rapping! Panicked, the dog looks behind him to see if Porky's any the wiser, and then he goes to open the thing. WHEN SUDDENLY AGAIN... poof! As with that rap video with Eminem and someone else about a kid struggling with his conscience... Dr. Dre. I'll leave the debate to the finer minds out there about the difficult choice of who takes the pro-rape argument, but I am slightly interested in the choice of Robert Culp as the arbiter, especially given that Cosby apparently talked to Culp about acquiring Spanish Fly on one of his early comedy albums... see, they were on "I Spy" together. Anyway, back to the instant case. The dog's conscience escapes the confines of his brain, and appears on his very shoulders with a resounding "poof." The devil half appears first, and even though the dog was about to liberate Daffy, the devil dog says "Attaboy! What's one duck more or less?"
Soon after, however, an angel dog appears. "He's your friend!" says the angel dog, referring to the trapped Daffy. For me, though, Your Honor, boiled down to the legal essentials, the best arguments would have to be these: the devil says "You're in good with your master!" and the angel says "[Daffy] helped you when you needed help!" We've got a moral quandry about as pure as the one near to the end of Toy Story 2... however, the spell that Toy Story 2 was very badly broken, if only for me, when the chief panhandler character can't take it anymore, and decides to take hostages. Sloppy screenwriting, Pixar... sloppy screenwriting. In Daffy Duck Hunt, it's hard to say if there's a definitive winner, but the angel dog gets rather, um... Richard-ish, telling the devil to, and I quote, "AHHH, SHADDUP!!!" and he takes his set of angel keys and pulls them down around the devil's arms, so not only will the devil not be able to move his devil arms, but he'll probably have a lot of trouble enjoying a big meal ever again, at least until he gets those keys off of himself!
Ultimately, however, when you look at A. Whitney Brown's "Big Picture" segments on old 1980s era episodes of "Saturday Night Live," clearly the devil is resoundingly defeated, because the dog opts for the angel dog's middle-of-the-road option of letting Daffy warm up a little bit. The dog reaches into the "Deep Freez Unit" [sic] and pulls out a Daffy-shaped bit of snow. You know, I think we all thought of Wittgenstein's lesser quote about how all things begin to look alike with enough plastic wrap over them at this moment, all together at the same time... no? Okay. Just checking. Or maybe, if you're at all like me (scary thought, I know), you thought, well surely, that's a Trojan horse? Will this not be like the time that one of these cartoon dogs was trying to put what they thought was Bugs back together, when in fact it was just a snowman shaped like Bugs all along? I'm going to say Hare Force.
Next scene: ... nope! Joke's on me! That was Daffy! He's happily basting himself for a while, then tries to be all cool and just leave. "Welp, we fooled him good! Gotta run along now," says Daffy. The dog, however, starts to lay down the law. "You gotta stay for dinner!" he says. Daffy's line is damn near priceless: "That's mighty hospitable of you, but a guy's waiting for me!" he says. I gotta use that sometime! "Hasty la vista!" says Daffy... thereby informing James Cameron's thinking for the big catch phrase of Terminator 2. I mean, obviously. And with that, we drop back down a notch from cartoon psychological warfare to cartoon physical warfare. Is there a Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs for that yet? Or do I just gotta do everything around here?
And so, Daffy tries to leave, but is unsuccessful. He's got purpose and velocity, but the dog matches Daffy at every turn. "You're NEVER leavin'!" adds the dog, laying down the law about as fully as he can without resorting to corporal punishment. For the audiophiles in the audience, the sequence at 4:12 is probably the best, with the dog and Daffy making a duet of flying plunger noises, then Daffy landing in the sink with a boxing ring ding.
Eventually, Daffy gives up trying to outfox the dog, and moves on to what every American does best when they're not getting their way, especially in foreign countries. "What's this all about, ya big..." Daffy starts. The dog tries to shush Daffy, but at this moment, Daffy's feeling a little bit cornered, and not like he's in a partnership with the dog. Daffy says "DON'T SHUSH ME! I'LL MAKE ALL THE NOISE I WANNA!!!!" And then, as with the finale of A Pest in the House, Daffy proceeds to do just that. Alas, it's not the old looney Daffy bouncing off the walls, exactly, but whatever. The dog runs over to the door to await Porky's wrath.
Frank Li. But before we get to that, I want to take this opportunity to criticize the film-to-video transfer people, because I noticed this little blip here at about 4:38. Why, I'm even going to post a still from it. Porky's little scene ends with the picture getting a little bit blocky! I DEMAND AN EXPLANATION... but like Hans Moleman losing four minutes of his life when he gets trapped in the Kwik-E-Mart, I'm not going to demand it too hard. Besides, I gotta buy all these on Blu-Ray anyway, right? Ain't it always the way? I'm not going back to DVD. I'M NOT!!!!!
Anyway, at this point, Daffy has decided that he's made all the noise he wants to, and it's on to his next bit of the duggery of skulls and the fogging of petties. For it's at this point, just before Porky gets an eyeful of it, that Daffy jumps into the dog's mouth, o my brothers and only friends. No complaining, no requests for a softer grip, no warnings about cuts from fangs... just pop! Pop goes the duck into the dog's mouth. Well, Porky's in no mood for reading between the lines. He just wants to get back to whatever he was reading earlier... that one sheet of paper's not going to read itself, you know! Porky pulls that dog off screen and says "I'll teach you to steal ducks!" We hear the landing of blows, the breaking of china... but I gotta say, Daffy's reaction at about 4:47, well... I hate to be a critic, but I think it would've been a little funnier if Daffy winced a little more irregularly. He seems to be wincing at about six beats per second. That's four frames of animation per beat, 24 frames a second... easier on the animators, but harder on the audience.
Porky drops Daffy back into the deep freeze, and gets back to his well-earned rest. The fulcrum, I'm telling you.
As for the dog, well... all bets are off, and the debate between angel and devil dog has grown eerily silent. No more crisis of conscience here, as the dog's path is now all too clear. However, Daffy and his new-found insanity steals the proceedings once again, for he leaps out of that there Deep Freez Unit and proceeds to do some play-acting. I'm put in mind of the handgun-based torpedo deployed against Daffy in Golden Yeggs... if memory serves, Daffy emerges from that swimming pool and goes for the Oscar(TM) gold. Here, Daffy seems to have no such pretense, but is struggling to relate his fake story. My new favourite scene of this whole thing is now the part where Daffy says "Mush!" over and over again, telling the dog "C'mon!! Mush! Mush!!!! MUSH!!!!" as he pushes the dog around the kitchen floor like a wheelbarrow, temporarily stunning the dog in the process.
After a long scream, Daffy lovingly puts his gloved hand on top of the dog's head, and says "How's things been with you?" There's a long pause, so the audience has time to laugh, which they surely did. WHEN SUDDENLY... Porky's on his way back down again. Daffy quickly strips, as opposed to the slow strip in The Wise Quacking Duck that causes Mr. Meek to blush for some reason... creeeeepy! ..... well, to be fair, Daffy was pretty sexy... and Daffy ONCE AGAIN jumps into the dog's mouth.
And so, what's Daffy's big ruse this time? Why, he just jumps out of the cold fridge and says "TA-DAH!" I suddenly very much admire the simplicity of it! Not that I'm going to try it myself any time soon. After all, check out the effect to this cause. Suddenly, Daffy's playing jump rope to the dog's swinging hatchet. And Bog bless him, the dog's trying like hell to land a blow, but this ain't Itchy and Scratchy, after all. Daffy's going good, avoiding the swinging hatchet, but soon Daffy seeks comfort elsewhere in that giant mansion of a suburban house. He's running up the stairs with the dog very close behind, hatchet still in the frame... now, call me crazy, but... oh, right, SPOILER ALERT. Sorry. I'm pretty sure I saw this coming on the first viewing (earlier in the week), and you probably did too. Now, to where do you think Daffy's heading? That's right! There is a method to the madness, after all. Daffy gets a bit of a lead on the dog, and manages to shut the door to Porky's bedroom, while the dog splits the door in half as though it were a piece of paper, thereby showing you why this particular Looney Tunes wasn't included in Kubrick's The Shining as opposed to a hatchet-less Road Runner cartoon.
More devious trickery from Daffy. Daffy plops a big, spherical flower pot over Porky's head and starts barking like a dog... like Porky's dog. Well, Porky probably won't be able to tell the difference anyway. I dunno... that flower pot had kind of a small hole on it, but Porky's head is stuck in it, ne'theless. And much like the quartet of Bugs, Elmer, Elmer's shotgun and a bear's head in Wabbit Twouble, yup... the dog ends up hitting Porky's be-flower-potted head, causing it to reverberate like a gong. I guess that's as close as we're going to get to the big explosion that typically ends one of these cartoonies for the tiddly-winkies. Naturally, in grand dramatic tradition, the dog does not put down the hatchet in its paws. "Uh B... B... Benedict Arnold!" says Porky. Hmm! For some reason, Porky didn't trip over that guy's name! "Uh t... t... traitor!" Porky helpfully adds, for all those students of American history who managed to be sick on the day that they taught Benedict Arnold. A mighty chase ensues back down to the plot fulcrum, where we find the dog sitting next to a well-marked last will and testament, praying to God, and generally being as submissive and as supplicant as possible... hope I'm using that word right. Guess no one's in a hurry to correct me anyway.
"If that duck's
And so, to engage in more blatant Comparative Cinema 101, just as with Bugs and Elmer in a critical moment in The Wabbit who Came to Supper, so too does Daffy ring in the New Year as Santa, singing a rousing rendition of "Jingle Bells"... something like that. I like that Porky and the dog are so scared and or overwhelmed by Daffy that they end up hugging each other. Ooh, I like it a lot! Alas, those who depend on the Closed Captioning for the full emotional effect of it all will feel a tad left out, as the lyrics to "Jingle Bells" are not presented in handy text format. The ones with vision will just see a Santa duck thrashing wildly around, strangely human tongue a-flappin' and helping to fill out its beak.
And then, as with the earlier referenced Bugs and Elmer affair, Porky gets an eyeful of that calendar, thereby breaking the spell of joyous song and swaying to said song with his faithful canine companion. In Clampett-esque fashion, Porky quickly grabs Daffy, shakes off Daffy's Santa outfit, and slams Daffy to the kitchen floor. Hatchet in hand, Porky's ready to deliver the death blow to end Daffy forever and... sigh. More red tape. Well, cartoon characters have to respect it.
Whether Daffy planned his final saving grace or not is open to debate. For me, I don't think he did, because Daffy is my friend and lifelong companion, and he surely wouldn't tell me a half-truth, would he? (wiping away tear) Also, I think it would be a bit of a cop-out for Daffy to have planted said sticker. See, he's got a stamp on his belly that says "DO NOT OPEN UNTIL XMAS." Daffy himself notices it and says "Christmas! By that time, I'll figure a way out of this mess!" Meantime, there's still the April 15 deadline to contend with, probably.
You know, it wasn't so long ago that Porky and Daffy were teaming up to try and fight the Hitlerian hotel owner in Porky Pig's Feat. How the suburbs change a person / cartoon pig. There's another Daffy outing I'm suddenly put in mind of called What Makes Daffy Duck. And even though it's an Art Davis affair, it has one of Daffy's best closing lines. Alas, it didn't make the DVD cut.
good double bill with: Along Came Daffy
-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan