For background information on Tex Avery, please see our review of Tex Avery Screwball Classics: Volume One.
Warner Archive once again gives animation fans a real treat with this third volume of 20 shorts that very nearly completes Avery’s time at MGM. This release includes a nice array of classic characters including Droopy Dog, Spike, Screwball Squirrel, Red Riding Hood and so many more that are not to be missed. Yet, any Avery fan knows it is not necessarily the characters who make the shorts, but the clever and frenetic antics they get into. The very first short on the set Blitz Wolf pulls no punches as it puts the screws to Hitler in his portrayal as the Wolf (all similarities ARE intentional, as the sight gags so pointedly remind us). You will be on a patriotic high as you then go into what is almost a hilarious Roadrunner and Coyote dynamic between a bird and a worm (and eventually a cat) in The Early Bird Dood It! There are plenty of one-off characters such as a rascal baby pig or a turkey who comes into contact with the Pilgrims, but more familiar faces get plenty to do. Red Riding Hood is pursued by the Wolf over a number of shorts as a temporary lounge singer or a featured act in a Old West bar. Droopy helps capture more than a couple criminals in his even-keeled way. There are no duds in this bunch as Avery continued to show off why he was one of the best that ever lived. Please see all of the included shorts below:
- Blitz Wolf
- The Early Bird Dood It!
- One Ham’s Family
- Jerky Turkey
- The Shooting Of Dan McGoo
- Swing Shift Cinderella
- Wild And Woolfy
- Northwest Hounded Police
- Slap Happy Lion
- King Size Canary
- What Price Fleadom
- Little ‘Tinker
- Señor Droopy
- Cock-A-Doodle Dog
- Rock-A-Bye Bear
- Little Johnny Jet
- Billy Boy
- Deputy Droopy
Warner Archive delivers a miraculous presentation on Blu-Ray for Volume Three that equals or excels what they accomplished on Volume One. Unfortunately, the MGM Tex Avery shorts had their original nitrate negatives destroyed in a fire, but Warner Archive has once again saved the day for animation fans as they have collected the best surviving elements and given them a new 4K scan. Simply put, these shorts have never looked better on a home entertainment platform. Fans may be concerned when they turn on the first short Blitz Wolf since the first two minutes look a bit soft and fuzzy, but it soon rebounds and the rest of the shorts keep up the 5-star quality. The reason for this temporary dip is due to the quality of materials they had available which hopefully fans can overlook given the remaining greatness. There is an amazing amount of film grain that helps maintain all of the subtle details of the animation. Compare the Droopy shorts on this disc to the same shorts on Tex Avery’s Droopy – The Complete Theatrical Collection that Warner released on DVD in 2007 and you instantly notice a night and day difference. The DVD versions had an ugly, muted color with noticeable print damage throughout, but this new Blu-Ray collection provides a presentation so stunning it looks like some of these could have been made in the present day. Animation fans could not ask for better.
The audio quality of the Blu-Ray disc is similarly excellent with a DTS-HD 2.0 Master Audio (mono) track that is top notch. If you have only seen these tracks on TV with all manner of age-related wear and tear, these tracks will blow you away with the clarity of the dialogue, sound effects and music throughout. Everything is working together in perfect harmony to give you the best listening experience possible. This disc also includes optional English (SDH) subtitles during all 20 main shorts plus the extra short.
- The Crackpot Quail: A bonus Merrie Melodies cartoon from Avery’s Warner Bros. era is provided here. In this short, a dog eager to be a great hunter gets into some hijinks with a quail who has problems with keeping his topknot out of his face. This is very funny.
Tex Avery Screwball Classics: Volume Three collects some of the best cartoons that Tex Avery ever created during his brilliant MGM era. These twenty shorts provide nearly nonstop laughs that one should savor. Warner Archive has released a Blu-Ray featuring a 5-star A/V presentation and even a bonus non-MGM short to sweeten the package. Animation fans will be in heaven with this top-tier release. Essential
Tex Avery Screwball Classics: Volume Three can be purchased directly through the Warner Archive Amazon Store or various other online retailers.
Note: Images presented in this review are not reflective of the image quality of the Blu-Ray.
Disclaimer: Warner Archive has supplied a copy of this disc free of charge for review purposes. All opinions in this review are the honest reactions of the author.
Dillon is most comfortable sitting around in a theatre all day watching both big budget and independent movies.