Duck Amuck is a surreal animated cartoon directed by Chuck Jones and produced by Warner Bros. Cartoons. The short was released in early 1953 by The Vitaphone Corporation, the short subject division of Warner Bros. Pictures, as part of the Merrie Melodies series. It stars Daffy Duck, who is tormented by a seemingly sadistic, initially unseen animator, who constantly changes Daffy's locations, clothing, voice, physical appearance and even shape. Pandemonium reigns throughout the cartoon as Daffy attempts to steer the action back to some kind of normality, only for the animator to either ignore him or, more frequently, to over-literally interpret his increasingly frantic demands.
In 1994, it was voted #2 of The 50 Greatest Cartoons of all time by members of the animation field, losing only to What's Opera, Doc?. Historians and fans consider Duck Amuck to be Daffy Duck's magnum opus, and What's Opera, Doc? to be Bugs', so the positions at #2 and #1 are appropriate. The short was included on Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume 1.
A Nintendo DS game, Looney Tunes: Duck Amuck was made after it.
According to director Chuck Jones, this film demonstrated for the first time that animation can create characters with a recognizable personality, independent of their appearance, milieu, or voice. Although in the end, the animator is revealed to be Daffy's rival Bugs Bunny (who famously declares "Ain't I a stinker?"), according to Jones the ending is just for comedic value: Jones (the director) is speaking to the audience directly, asking "Who is Daffy Duck anyway? Would you recognize him if I did this to him? What if he didn't live in the woods? Didn't live anywhere? What if he had no voice? No face? What if he wasn't even a duck anymore?" In all cases, it is obvious that Daffy is still Daffy; not all cartoon characters can claim such distinctive personality.
Duck Amuck is included in the compilation film The Bugs Bunny-Road Runner Movie, along with other favorite Chuck Jones cartoons including What's Opera, Doc?
Mel Blanc performed the voices. It was directed by Chuck Jones with a story by Michael Maltese. The film contains many examples of self-referential humor, breaking the fourth wall.
In 1999 the film was deemed "culturally significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry. This was the second of three animated shorts by Jones to receive this honor (the others are 1957's What's Opera, Doc? and 1955's One Froggy Evening). Jones has the distinction of being the only director (as of 2006 ) with three animated shorts in the registry.
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