blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Duck Amuck (1953, Chuck Jones)

A scene from DUCK AMUCK, directed by Chuck Jones for Warner Bros.

Duck Amuck is either very memorable or very predictable. If I have ever seen it, it was fifteen plus years ago. Yet I could guess a bunch of the plot twists, including the final one.

That final reveal, which might make Amuck memorable, also undoes a lot of the neat stuff the cartoon does otherwise.

The premise is simple–Daffy Duck battles a mischievous animator, losing his voice, his body, the backgrounds, the foregrounds and so on. The cartoon’s best when Jones is playing with how sound works in animation and it puts Amuck ahead.

There’s also the secondary thread–how cartoons abuse their characters. Here, Daffy gets to voice (to the animator and the audience) some of that outrage and indignity.

But then the final reveal comes along and undoes all that work. It’s just a gag, think about.

Blanc does great voice work here.

It should’ve been better.

1/3Not Recommended


Directed by Chuck Jones; written by Michael Maltese; animated by Ken Harris, Lloyd Vaughan and Ben Washam; edited by Treg Brown; music by Carl W. Stalling; produced by Edward Selzer; released by Warner Bros.

Starring Mel Blanc (Daffy Duck / The Animator).


One response to “Duck Amuck (1953, Chuck Jones)”

  1. Matthew Hurwitz

    I was wondering when you’d get around to Duck Amuck. It’s kind of the apotheosis of Jones’ restrained attitude toward cartoons as self-contained objects d’art; even when Daffy freaks out there’s none of the raw vitality you’d find in a Bob Clampett or Tex Avery joint.

    Critics tend to over-praise Duck Amuck because of the easy intellectualism in self-referentiality, so I’m glad you pointed out the flaws. Incredibly, Jones remade this as “Rabbit Rampage,” starring Bugs instead of Daffy, just two years later!

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