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Tex Avery Screwball Classics Volume 1 Blu-ray Review

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“Tex Avery Screwball Classics Volume 1” serves up classic cartoons.

Whether you’re a longtime fan or are looking to get a sample of the work of animation legend Tex Avery, this Volume 1 set has you covered. This Blu-ray disc contains 19 shorts that include “Red Hot Riding Hood,” “Who Killed Who?,” “What’s Buzzin Buzzard?,” “Batty Baseball,” “The Hick Chick,” “Bad Luck Blackie,” “Golden Gopher,” “The Peachy Cobbler,” “Symphony In Slang,” “Screwball Squirrel,” “The Screwy Turant,” “Big Heel-Watha,” “Lonesome Lenny,” “Hound Hunters,” “Red Hot Rangers,” “Dumb-Hounded,” “Wags To Riches,” “The Chump Champ” and “Daredevil Droopy.” The shorts are divided into sections that include one-offs, Screwy Squirrel, George and Junior, and Droopy. 

The Warner Archive releases of Popeye and Porky were enjoyable trips into the past, but “Tex Avery Screwball Classics Volume 1” is on another level. When it comes to old school cartoons, the work of Tex Avery is my jam. His influential work was wildly creative and stylish not to mention full of hilarious sight gags, fourth wall breaking, painful exaggerated violence (which would never be made today), and chases. As if that wasn’t enough, Avery also managed to create iconic characters like the Wolf, George and Junior, and, my personal favorite, Droopy (the lovable sleepy-eyed droll voiced dog).

I won’t go into the plots of all the shorts here so as to not deprive you of the joy of experiencing them if you haven’t already. However, I would like to highlight a few of the top tier toons. “Red Hot Riding Hood” is often cited as Avery’s masterpiece and it’s hard to argue with that. It puts a clever swing era spin on the tired old tale. “Bad Luck Blackie” involves a bulldog bullying a young kitten until the kitten recruits a black cat to help him out. This one is a prime example of Avery’s dementedly fun cartoonish violence. “Screwball Squirrel” centers around the rude Screwy Squirrel protagonist, but is most notable for its fourth wall breaking and cartoon trope mocking. “Hound Hunters” finds bears George (the small one with big ideas) and Junior (the big dumb scaredy cat who is always saying duh) becoming dog catchers who try to capture a small pooch without success. Strangely, I had forgotten about these two characters but the memories came flooding back when I saw this. Last, but not least is my favorite of this set, “Dumb-Hounded.” In this short, the Wolf escapes prison and Droopy is sent to track him, well, everywhere. This short best encapsulates and personifies what makes the Droopy cartoons a treasure to behold.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 1.37:1 1080p. How does it look? The restored Technicolor cartoons have never looked better. The vibrant colors will surely wow Tex Avery fans.

Audio Track: 2.0 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? The music, the voice work, and the sound FX sound sharp. Note: There is a subtitles option.

No extras.

February 6, 2020 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , ,

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