Duck Amuck (1953)

Genres - Children's/Family  |   Sub-Genres - Family-Oriented Comedy  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Daffy Duck faces a rather bizarre adversary in the classic Merrie Melodies short Duck Amuck, which pits Daffy against a mischievous off-screen animator, who is constantly altering and even sabotaging the cartoon. The trouble begins when, during a Three Musketeers parody, Daffy suddenly notices the background has disappeared, leaving only empty space. He complains to the animator, who then puts him through an ever-changing series of locations, from a barnyard, to snow-covered fields to a tropical island. Daffy tries to adapt, apologizing to the audience for the trouble, but grows increasingly flustered as the changes continue. Soon he and the silent, faceless animator -- Daffy can only see a brush and a white glove -- are arguing over other aspects of the production, from the background colors to the definition of a close-up. Director Chuck Jones and writer Michael Maltese have a great deal of fun with this reflexive premise, gleefully poking fun at the process of animation itself while building towards a superb final punchline. Highlights include the transformation of Daffy's voice into strange sound effects and an improperly adjusted frame line that allows Daffy to get into an argument with himself.

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