One Froggy Evening
Directed by Chuck Jones (as Charles M. Jones)
Available on: Looney Tunes Golden Collection Vol. 2
What better way to close out a week of "one-shot" cartoons than with the ultimate "one-shot" of all time. Often hailed as one of the greatest cartoons ever made, Chuck Jones' "One Froggy Evening." I can remember hearing about this cartoon for ages but never getting to see it. When I did finally see it God was smiling on me, for it was on the big screen where it belongs, before a late night showing of "Cinema Paradiso" of all things.
I think just about everybody knows the story...a construction worker finds a singing frog in the ruins of a building being torn down. The poor guy sees the frog as his key to money and fame, but throughout the picture the frog won't sing whenever anyone else is around. The man ends up ruined and dumps the frog in the cornerstone of a new skyscraper going up. The final scene of the film takes place 100 years later as a construction worker in a space suit discovers the frog and the cycle begins again.
We've looked at some of the work of Tex Avery in the past and talked about the extreme poses he often uses. I love that stuff, but this cartoon shows great subtlety in it's characters expressions, and it's just as hilarious.
There is no dialogue in this cartoon. The only voice we hear is that of the frog, but the expressions of the humans, subtle as they are, take us into the thought process of those characters. We know everything that's going on in their minds, especially in the case of the main character. In a way, we the audience are brought into his thought process even more because, just like him, we can hear the frog. His frustration and ultimately his desperation are shared with the audience.
The animation is brilliant, of course. I'm not sure how to describe the look of this cartoon other than to say it uses a lot of thin lines. This look was used in many of Jones' later cartoons, but this is probably the best example of it.
"One Froggy Evening" is not just a great cartoon, this is a great film. A brilliant example of comedy as well as animation. One of the greatest movie short subjects, animated or otherwise, ever made.