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Looney Tunes: Golden Collection Volume 3 (DVD)
Like the previous entries in the Looney Tunes Golden Collection series, volume 3 confirms how brilliant the Warner Bros. artists were and how durable their creations have proven. The set includes classics that every cartoon buff will recognize: "Duck! Rabbit! Duck!," "Robin Hood Daffy," "Birds Anonymous." Other selections are less familiar but significant in the development of the studio: "Sinkin' in the Bathtub," the first Looney Tune; "I Haven't Got a Hat," the earliest Warners cartoon viewers can watch for fun, rather than as an historic curiosity; "Porky's Romance," in which director Frank Tashlin introduced rapid cutting to cartoons. Some of the caricature films have aged less gracefully. Younger audiences will recognize the drawn versions of W.C. Fields, the Marx Brothers, Katharine Hepburn, and Charlie Chaplin. But will anyone under the age of 60 remember Edna Mae Oliver, George Arliss, or Ned Sparks?
The producers have once again loaded the discs with supplemental material, including "Point Food Rationing," a unseen short explaining wartime ration books; a BBC documentary on Chuck Jones; and interstitial animated sequences for The Bugs Bunny Show. "Philbert" ranks as the oddest of the extras: an unsold (and leaden) pilot from 1963, featuring live actors and an animated title character. Whoopi Goldberg introduces the set, explaining that some of the ethnic gags would no longer be considered appropriate. But she correctly adds that to remove them would falsify both the history of animation and American popular culture. It all adds up to a set every cartoon fan will want. (Unrated, suitable for all ages: cartoon violence) --Charles Solomon