170. I Got Plenty of Mutton – Frank Tashlin

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SUMMARY: A hungry wolf gets more than he bargained for when he disguises himself as a sexy female sheep to distract a protective ram from his flock.

WHY IT’S HERE: Frank Tashlin’s ‘I Got Plenty of Mutton’ is a great, unsung classic of a cartoon which really takes its time in laying out its story. Like Tashlin’s masterpiece ‘Puss ‘n’ Booty’, the emphasis here is on character and story over gags. The character designs are great, particularly of the starving wolf who is unbearably scrawny. Tashlin places our sympathies squarely with the wolf by opening with a typically leisurely-paced set of scenes in which we witness his stomach-rumbling poverty. When he hears of an unguarded flock of sheep, he sets off to finally have a proper meal only to find a particularly vicious ram has assumed the former sheepdog’s duties.

The wolf disguises himself as an overtly sexy ewe which leads to an aggressively amorous pursuit culminating in a mind-boggling climax which predicts the finale of ‘Some Like It Hot’ by over a decade. Aside from featuring one of the most blatant erection jokes in cartoon history, ‘I Got Plenty of Mutton’ is noteworthy for several other reasons. It typifies Tashlin at his very best, placing the emphasis on his “actors” and lingering over small actions that other directors would not even bother showing (check out the lengthy sequence in which the wolf applies make-up). Chuck Jones was obviously taking notes. ‘I Got Plenty of Mutton’ features obvious inspirations for Wile. E. Coyote, the Sheepdog and Wolf cartoons and the Pepe Le Pew series (right down to the joyful bounds with which the ram pursues the wolf). Such a blatantly influential cartoon should surely not be so deeply buried in the archives. ‘I Got Plenty of Mutton’ is another great work from an underrated director.

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