354. Robin Hood Daffy – Chuck Jones

song-of-the-prairie

SUMMARY: Daffy Duck attempts to prove to Porky Pig that he is in fact Robin Hood but the pig remains mockingly skeptical, driving him to ever greater heights.

WHY IT’S HERE: One of the great classics of animation, Chuck Jones’s ‘Robin Hood Daffy’ is a sumptuous and hilarious short from the late era of Warner Bros. cartoons. Based on the glorious Warner production ‘The Adventures of Robin Hood’, ‘Robin Hood Daffy’ combines subtle character comedy and broad slapstick with an astonishingly perfect balance. The famous “buck and a quarter quarterstaff” scene that opens the film is the finest example of this. Daffy’s wild thrashing around is punctuated by his quiet run through of how the routine should go as he takes time out to establish just where he went wrong. It’s a classic scene with some terrific animation as the chortling Porky Pig defeats Daffy Duck at a duel with very little effort. Compare this scene and the laughing fits that the characters break into afterwards with the same scene from ‘The Adventures of Robin Hood’ and it becomes even funnier as you realise how close to the source material it actually is.

There are plenty of other classic moments in ‘Robin Hood Daffy’ (“Yoiks and away”), each punctuated by the frolicking image of the weary traveller that Daffy is attempting to rob obliviously passing by the latest scene of Daffy’s humiliation. Apart from the gorgeous layouts, the brilliant gags and the wonderful performance by Mel Blanc, ‘Robin Hood Daffy’ is also notable for how Jones uses the characters, particularly Porky Pig. Porky had long been a straight man whose star billing was contradicted by the way his co-stars upstaged him. Relegating Porky to supporting player breathed new life into him and, as is the case with all Jones’s Porky and Daffy genre parodies, Porky excels himself. His laidback, overly-jolly friar is the perfect foil to inspire escalating frustration in Daffy as he tries in vain to prove he’s Robin Hood, never thinking to just point out one of the many Wanted posters bearing his image. ‘Robin Hood Daffy’ is an exceptional piece of work that everyone of a certain age remembers fondly. It’s another in an extraordinarily long line of Chuck Jones classics.

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