Art is always based on other artwork, but sometimes a remix of a classic overshadows the original. Such is true of “What’s Opera, Doc?” which forever alters the experience of hearing Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries.” Many critics consider it one of the best animated short films of all time, making it a fitting entry for Cartoon Friday.
More information, from the almighty Wikipedia:
This cartoon is widely regarded as Chuck Jones’ masterpiece, and many film critics, animation fans and filmmakers consider it to be the greatest of all the cartoons Warner Bros. released. It has topped many Top Ten lists of the greatest animated cartoons of all time … What’s Opera, Doc? required about six times as much work and expense as any of the other six-minute cartoons his production unit was turning out at the time. Jones has admitted as much, having described a surreptitious re-allocation of production time to complete the short. During the six minutes of What’s Opera, Doc?, Jones lampoons:
- Disney‘s Fantasia,
- The contemporary style of ballet,
- Wagner’s perceived ponderous operatic style, and even
- The by-then clichéd Bugs-and-Elmer formula.
Michael Maltese devised the story for the cartoon, and also wrote lyrics to Wagner’s music to create the duet “Return My Love.” Art director Maurice Noble devised the stylized backdrops. The cartoon drew upon previous Warner studio work: Maltese originated the concept of Bugs in Valkyrie drag riding a fat horse to the Tannhäuser Pilgrim’s Chorus in the suppressed 1945 wartime cartoon Herr Meets Hare, directed by Friz Freleng.
Thanks HotFlash for suggesting this entry. Share your favorite Internet-accessible cartoons in the comments and I might use one for a future installment.
What’s on your mind tonight, Doc? This is our latest MyFDL open thread.