Category Archives: Looney Tunes

Soundtrack News: ‘Looney Tunes: Back in Action’ and ‘Babe’ Soundtracks Available Exclusively from Varèse Sarabande Records

Varèse Sarabande Records is thrilled to unveil its January 2021 CD Club titles: Looney Tunes: Back in Action (The Deluxe Edition) by Jerry Goldsmith and Babe (The Deluxe Edition) by Nigel Westlake, which are now available exclusively on VareseSarabande.com.

Looney Tunes: Back in Action (The Deluxe Edition):

The final film score of Jerry Goldsmith’s legendary career gets a long-awaited CD Club treatment: Looney Tunes: Back in Action (2003) reunited Goldsmith with director Joe Dante (Gremlins, Innerspace, Matinee) for an insane musical journey befitting Warner Bros.’ classic cartoon characters, with Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck starring in a live-action/animation hybrid alongside human characters played by Brendan Fraser, Jenna Elfman, Timothy Dalton and Steve Martin.

The globetrotting adventure demanded one of Goldsmith’s zaniest scores ever, a sort of indescribable combination of slapstick, action and whimsy that lurches from high-energy symphonic chases to pop-influenced flourishes to Carl Stalling-styled “Mickey Mousing.” All of it has Goldsmith’s effortlessly melodic touch, with the special brand of left-field inspiration that always accompanied his work for Dante.

Previously released by Varèse Sarabande at the time of the movie, this comprehensive 2-CD set features not only Goldsmith’s vastly expanded score, but rewrites and additional music by John Debney, Cameron Patrick and a handful of others—as well as alternates and outtakes by Goldsmith and the complete 2003 album program. Packaging features new liner notes by Daniel Schweiger (incorporating new interviews with Dante, Debney and Patrick) and Goldsmith’s longtime friend and recording engineer, Bruce Botnick.

TRACK LISTING

DISC 1:

  1. Looney Tunes Opening (What’s Up Doc?) / Rabbit Fire (1:09)
  2. What’s Up? (1:25)
  3. Another Take (:48)
  4. Dead Duck Walking (3:14)
  5. She Likes You (:46)
  6. The Shimmy / Out Of The Bag / Save Dad / The Car (3:53)
  7. Not A Billion (:45)
  8. Blue Monkey (:58)
  9. Extra Crispy (:36)
  10. The Shower / Psycho Parody (1:15)
  11. In Style (1:10)
  12. The Bad Guys (2:57)
  13. Hit Me (:30)
  14. Car Trouble / Flying High (3:46)
  15. Hurry Up (:25)
  16. Nice Hair / Burning Tail (:55)
  17. A Visit To Walmart / Free Drinks (:36)
  18. Wrong Turn Coyote (:54)
  19. The Launch (:27)
  20. Thin Air (1:26)
  21. Area 52 (Take 54) (1:29)
  22. You’re Next (:25)
  23. Wacky Marvin In The Jar (:49)
  24. Hot Pursuit (2:26)
  25. We’ve Got Company / Man And A Woman / I’ll Take That (3:21)
  26. The Painting / The Scream / It Is Spring / Bugs with Mandolin (3:20)
  27. The Red Balloon (:26)
  28. Paris Street (1:22)
  29. Free Fall (1:17)
  30. The Hook / Africa (:33)
  31. Tasmanian Devil (1:09)
  32. Jungle Scene (1:42)
  33. Pressed Duck (3:26)
  34. Re-Assembled (:51)
  35. Waiting For A Train (2:49)
  36. A New Puppy (3:06)
  37. To The Rescue (4:24)
  38. Heroes (2:39)
  39. Merry-Go-Round Broke Down (That’s All Folks!) (:16)
  40. End Title Suite (5:17)

DISC 2:

  1. What’s Up? (1:29)
  2. Another Take #9 (:53)
  3. Trumpet Wa-Wa (:07)
  4. The Shimmy (:12)
  5. Out Of The Bag (1:17)
  6. The Car, Part 1 (:15)
  7. The Car, Part 2 (:12)
  8. Psycho (:37)
  9. Car Trouble (3:22)
  10. Wrong Turn, Part 1 (1:14)
  11. Wrong Turn, Part 2 (:25)
  12. Wrong Turn, Part 3 (1:08)
  13. The Launch (:30)
  14. The Blue Danube / The Barber of Seville / Can Can (:36)
    15 Vivaldi Concerto (:15)
  15. The Hook (:29)
  16. Pressed Duck (3:39)
  17. Merry-Go-Round Broke Down (That’s All Folks!) (:23)

The Original 2003 Soundtrack Album:

  1. Life Story (:19)
  2. What’s Up? (1:25)
  3. Another Take (:48)
  4. Dead Duck Walking (3:14)
  5. Out Of The Bag (3:44)
  6. Blue Monkey (:54)
  7. In Style (1:09)
  8. The Bad Guys (2:56)
  9. Car Trouble (3:46)
  10. Thin Air (1:26)
  11. Area 52 (1:29)
  12. Hot Pursuit (2:26)
  13. We’ve Got Company (1:50)
  14. I’ll Take That (1:22)
  15. Paris Street (1:21)
  16. Free Fall (1:15)
  17. Tasmanian Devil (1:09)
  18. Jungle Scene (1:40)
  19. Pressed Duck (3:22)
  20. Re-Assembled (:52)
  21. Merry-Go-Round Broke Down (That’s All Folks!) (:55)

Music Composed and Conducted by Jerry Goldsmith, Additional Music by John Debney • Produced by Jerry Goldsmith • Performed by The Hollywood Studio Symphony

Babe (The Deluxe Edition):

Babe was a massive surprise hit in 1995. A children’s film starring a talking pig seemed to be the last thing anybody expected from visionary filmmaker George Miller (Mad Max). Writer-producer Miller adapted the 1983 book with director and cowriter Chris Noonan, and created a universally praised, moving film about a farm pig (a combination of animatronics and computer graphics) who longs to be a sheepdog. With a memorable lead performance by James Cromwell as Babe’s farmer-owner, Babe received glowing reviews and seven OSCAR® nominations, winning for Best Visual Effects.

A major part of Babe’s exquisite, perfectly pitched storybook tone is the charming, resonant symphonic score by Australian composer Nigel Westlake. Westlake interpolated a tapestry of classical works, most notably the maestoso section of Saint-Saëns’ third (Organ) symphony, to perfectly capture the human emotions of the film’s animal characters, while ironically treating the humans with an animal-like comedy and whimsy. (The Saint-Saëns melody had been adapted into the British reggae pop hit “If I Had Words” by Scott Fitzgerald and Yvonne Keeley; a sped-up version is used in Babe’s end credits.)

Babe was released as a music-and-dialogue album at the time of the film. This CD Club edition features the expanded score as music only, packaged with a new essay by Tim Greiving featuring insights from Miller, Noonan, Cromwell and Westlake.

TRACK LISTING

  1. Opening Titles (From The Motion Picture Babe) – Piggery (4:02)
  2. Fairground (Extended Version) (3:16)
  3. I Want My Mum / The Way Things Are (4:40)
  4. Fly Would Never / Crime And Punishment (3:50)
  5. Anorexic Duck Pizzicati (Extended Version) (3:21)
  6. Repercussions / Into The Knackery (2:23)
  7. Pig, Pig, Piggy / Mother And Son (2:28)
  8. Pork Is A Nice Sweet Meat (3:26)
  9. Christmas Morning (Extended Version) (5:08)
  10. Separate The Chickens / Round Up (2:37)
  11. Babe’s Round Up (Extended Version) (3:59)
  12. Mad Dog Rex (1:14)
  13. The Sheep Pig (Extended Version) (1:47)
  14. Dog Tragedy (1:36)
  15. Hoggett Shows Babe / Maa’s Death (2:58)
  16. Home Pig / Hoggett With Gun (2:48)
  17. Pig Of Destiny / Up To Trouble (3:29)
  18. The Cat / What Are Pigs For (2:26)
  19. Where’s Babe / Hoggett’s Song (3:23)
  20. Babe In The Kitchen / Help For Babe (4:32)
  21. Baa Ram Ewe / Rex On Truck (1:46)
  22. The Gauntlet / Moment Of Truth (Extended Version) (1:45)
  23. Finale – That’ll Do, Pig, That’ll Do (1:39)
  24. If I Had Words (2:54)
  25. Toreador Aria (Excerpt) (:22)
  26. Pork Is A Nice Sweet Meat (With Vocals) (3:51)
  27. Blue Moon (Excerpt) (:40)
  28. Cantique de Jean Racine (Excerpt) (:41)
  29. If I Had Words (Hoggett’s Song) (1:52)

Music Composed and Produced by Nigel Westlake
Performed by the Victorian Philharmonic Orchestra

Let me know if you’ll be picking either of these soundtracks up and have a great day!

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Reviewing Looney Tunes: Forward March Hare (1953)

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Released: February 14th, 1953

Directed by: Chuck Jones (credited as Charles M. Jones)

Bugs Bunny has been put in some interesting situations over the years: he’s encountered Martians, evaded hunters and even been made a Super-Rabbit. But would you believe he was also drafted into the Army? It really happened in Forward March Hare, a cartoon released during the final months of the Korean War. Due to a comedy of errors (mistaking a draft letter sent to “B. Bonny” as being for him), Bugs is summarily inducted into the United States Army and proceeds to (unwittingly) wreak havoc, much to the chagrin of his drill sergeant.

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This is the army?

One of the most hysterical gags in this cartoon is that almost no one seems to realize that Bugs is a rabbit (the one soldier who does at the beginning merely looks at the camera and mutters “So they’re inducting rabbits.”) Another running gag is the drill sergeant slowly but surely getting demoted for each mess Bugs makes (he’s a buck private by the end of the cartoon, the realization that Bugs is a rabbit finally pushes him over the edge). Another favorite moment is when Bugs is shocked awake by the blaring of “Reveille” and vows to “moider that bugler,” running to silence the music with a baseball bat. For some reason, every time I watch that moment I imagine a theater full of soldiers bursting into laughter and cheers (having secretly wished to do the deed themselves).

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Upon being discovered and informed that rabbits cannot serve in the military, Bugs is given a new job: testing artillery shells to see if they’re duds. He happily informs the audience “In 30 years I can retire!” but the joke is that, given his job, he likely won’t make it that long.

Forward March Hare is a wonderful example of Warner Bros. animation in its prime (before the quality dropped in the 1960s). They certainly don’t make cartoons like this anymore. Let me know what you think about Forward March Hare in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Reviewing Looney Tunes

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Reviewing Looney Tunes: Hair-Raising Hare (1946)

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Released: May 25th, 1946

Directed by: Chuck Jones (credited as Charles M. Jones)

Hair-Raising Hare is the debut of one of my favorite Looney Tunes characters: the huge, red, furry, sneaker-wearing monster. He’s been known by several names over the decades: “Monster,” “Rudolph,” and “Gossamer” though in this first appearance he doesn’t appear to have a given name. For some reason, the sight of this huge monster has always elicited a fit of giggles from me (I think it has something to do with the sneakers, they look so incongruous).

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The plot is simple: Bugs is lured to a mad scientist’s castle (how do these mad scientists always have castles?) to be dinner for the aforementioned monster. When Bugs gets wise to this plan, he makes a break for it and the chase is on (interestingly, the scientist is not seen again for the rest of the short). The rest of the cartoon follows Bugs as he outwits and evades the monster, before finally subduing the monster by breaking the fourth wall (making the monster aware of the audience watching him).

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This cartoon has one of Bugs Bunny’s best known gags: at one point he stalls the monster by pretending to be a stylist who declares the monster needs a manicure. Suddenly Bugs whips out a table, chairs and begins to file the monsters nails, all while holding a conversation that you might hear in a nail salon. This is Bugs in pure mischief mode; once he gets over his initial fright, the monster doesn’t stand a chance.

I feel like Gossamer (the furry monster) doesn’t get enough attention compared to better known characters so I like to bring attention to him when I can. Let me know what you think about Hair-Raising Hare in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Reviewing Looney Tunes

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Reviewing Looney Tunes: Bugs’ Bonnets (1956)

Bugs-Bonnets

Released: January 14th, 1956

Directed by: Chuck Jones

Bugs’ Bonnets is a cartoon that isn’t as well known as some of the other Jones classics (like the Rabbit Season trilogy for example), but it is still a great cartoon in my opinion. The scenario for this cartoon is half-story (Elmer hunting Bugs) and half-documentary (looking at how different hats can change your personality). Since this is a cartoon, the hats instantly change Elmer and Bugs’ personalities, with hilarious results. One interesting piece of trivia: in this cartoon Elmer suddenly knows how to pronounce his “R’s” correctly. My favorite examples in this cartoon include:

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-Bugs wears an Army sergeant’s helmet and gives Elmer a chewing out (“Alright dog face, how come every other private in this man’s army’s got a rifle and YOU’VE got a gun?”) In response, Elmer ends up wearing a hat reminiscent of General MacArthur, announcing “I have returned.”

-Bugs (in a game warden’s hat) chides Elmer for “shooting sergeants out of season.”

-Elmer (in a cop’s hat) threatens Bugs (in a “gangster” fedora) while the latter tries to buy Elmer off with a bribe. Before he can give the money back, Bugs’ hat is replaced with a judge’s wig, prompting Bugs to believe Elmer is trying to bribe HIM!

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While this cartoon is more a string of gags than anything else, that doesn’t stop it from being really funny. What do you think of Bugs’ Bonnets? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Reviewing Looney Tunes

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Reviewing Looney Tunes: Bully for Bugs (1953)

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Released August 8th, 1953

Directed by: Chuck Jones

Half of the reason I love Bully for Bugs so much is the crazy story behind how it got made in the first place. According to the late, great Chuck Jones, the idea came to him when producer Eddie Selzer, out of the blue, came to his work area and proclaimed “cartoons about bullfighting are NOT funny, so don’t make any!” Upon Selzer leaving to go back to his office, a bewildered Jones turned to his fellow animator and wondered aloud “WOULD a bullfighting cartoon be funny?” The funny thing is, according to Jones, since Selzer proved to be wrong on just about anything involving cartoons, they figured a bullfighting cartoon would actually be hilarious. So, to get some research done (as nobody in the department had ever seen a bullfight in person), Jones flew down to Mexico City to watch a bullfight for himself.

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Up until the fight started, Jones had the idea that the matador would be the villain of the story, while the bull would be the sympathetic character. This notion flew straight out the window when Jones saw a massive bull come charging into the arena to face off against this itty bitty matador who was maybe 100 lbs soaking wet. From that moment, Jones knew exactly how the story needed to play out. (The story comes from Jones’ autobiography Chuck Amuck and commentary for Bully for Bugs found in the Looney Tunes Golden Collection).

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This cartoon is another example of Bugs taking a wrong turn at Albuquerque and winding up in the middle of a bullfighting ring instead of the Coachella Valley Carrot Festival. In the ring, a hapless matador is being chased around by a huge bull (much to the displeasure of the crowd. And speaking of the crowd, that’s a real bullfighting crowd you’re hearing in the cartoon, they recorded some audio in Barcelona, Spain and looped it into the final product). Being oblivious to the fact that he’s way off target, Bugs ends up on the wrong side of the bull, who promptly knocks him clean out of the arena (inspiring Bugs to proclaim “Of course you realize THIS means war!”) The enraged rabbit returns as a matador to give the bull his comeuppance as only Bugs can deliver it. For a while it’s an even back and forth between the two (and one of Bugs’ tricks actually backfires on him in spectacular fashion). Finally, just when Bugs seems cornered, he gets the upper hand and eliminates the bull once and for all by building an elaborate trap that sets the bull up to encounter some TNT.

Bully for Bugs is another classic Chuck Jones cartoon that never gets old no matter how many times you watch it. Let me know what you think about this cartoon in the comments below and have a great day!

See also:

Reviewing Looney Tunes

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

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