Thursday, April 16, 2009

Cartoon: Red Hot Riding Hood (1943, Tex Avery)

Red Hot Riding Hood (1943)
USA, 7 min
Directed by: Tex Avery
Starring: Daws Butler, June Foray, Frank Graham (voices) (uncredited)

If you thought that Little Red Riding Rabbit (1944) was an offbeat adaptation of the fairy-tale, then you haven't seen nothing yet. Tex Avery's Red Hot Riding Hood (1943) opens in the usual fashion, but, after that, any resemblance to any known fairy-tale character, living or dead, is entirely coincidental. The Wolf baulks at having to play the one-dimensional bad guy for the hundredth time, and threatens to quit if the animators can't come up with anything original. So Avery throws together Red Hot Riding Hood, an adult cartoon set in the big city – the Wolf is a sex-crazed womaniser, Red a knockout nightclub dancer, and Grandma a libidinous old lady with her own high-rise penthouse. Yes, I warned you this one was different! Somebody must have forgotten to inform Avery that he was producing cartoons for children, since there's actually little to laugh at for anybody who isn't yet acquainted with the birds and the bees.

However, for those of us who have surpassed that particular checkpoint, Red Hot Riding Hood is very funny. The sheer audacity of a children's cartoon about sex – particularly given the typically innocent and wholesome image of Little Red Riding Hood – is something to be applauded. When Red first appears on stage, tossing aside her outfit to reveal a decidedly immodest red costume, I was genuinely taken aback, and then felt somewhat ashamed of myself. No doubt the animators in Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988) used Red as a template for the similarly alluring Jessica Rabbit. Also worth noting is that The Mask (1994) directly referenced Red Hot Riding Hood in the scene where Jim Carrey wolf-whistles (in the full sense of the word) Cameron Diaz during her nightclub performance – I'd never realised this. The interaction between Wolf and Grandma is more conventional than the rest of the film, but still enjoyable. For fans of Tex Avery and MGM cartoons, this one is essential viewing.


  1. I liked this one. I think I saw it when I was a child. I remember renting a tape that had nothing but cartoons featuring the wolf character. Oh by the way, I think I have had good luck with emule. I will know more when I go how much so when I go home this weekend.

    Also, check the doubled canon to see what film is 1001.

  2. Ah, good! The TSPDT Top 1000 is definitely biased against short films, so it's good to see them getting some due on the Double Canon.
    This is also why I'm still awaiting the official release of the "Brief Encounters" top 250 list. What's taking so long?!

  3. Yeah the Double Canon really does seem to give credit to short films. Just looking at the films in the range from 1001-1020, you can find many cartoons and shorts.

    I can't wait till I get done with the list (beating Kevin with any luck) so that I can publish a list of films that should be trimmed from the list like India Song.

    PS. I found the TV rip of La Region Centrale and it seems to work fine. As it stands I have a way to get ahold of every film on the list that I know of. Cross your fingers.


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