256. The Scarlet Pumpernickel – Chuck Jones


SUMMARY: Daffy Duck casts himself as lead in an all-star swashbuckling adventure film.

WHY IT’S HERE:Chuck Jones’s ‘The Scarlet Pumpernickel’ is something a bit special. Starring Daffy Duck, this ripping yarn casts several Warner Bros. favourites in a take off of ‘The Scarlet Pimpernel’. It’s a joy to see these rarely coinciding characters (including Porky Pig, Sylvester, Elmer Fudd, Henery Hawk and Mother Bear) interact with each other and the roles bring out the best in some of the characters. Porky Pig relishes the chance to play the villainous Lord High Chamberlain while Sylvester hams it up gloriously as the Grand Duke. At the centre of it all, of course, is Daffy, spectacularly blundering the role of romantic hero (“parting is such sweet stuff”) as he strives to emulate Errol Flyn. The story is framed by the frantic Daffy we all know and love pitching his script to unseen studio boss J.L. J.L’s demanding expectations lead to the grisly and memorable finale in which a spent Daffy commits suicide by shooting himself in the head. ‘The Scarlet Pumpernickel’ was an exciting all-star experience when I was a kid and it remains a remarkable piece of work when I witness it as an adult. It manages to be funny while still masterfully tapping into the spirit of the adventure stories it spoofs.


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