Sunday, January 09, 2011

A Perfect Snafu

Steve Stanchfield, proprietor of Thunderbean Animation, is already held in the highest regard for his historical animation DVD releases. Stanchfield works on a shoestring, yet the quality of the prints he uses, the commentaries and extras he includes, rival DVDs from multinational corporations. The simple fact is that he cares more for the contents of his DVDs than they do.

Steve has outdone himself with his latest release, the Private Snafu Golden Classics. These cartoon shorts were made for the American military during World War II and were humorous tales of the many ways a soldier could screw up, risking his own life and the lives of others.

What makes this release so special is that Steve has located the original 35mm negatives to use as his video masters and these cartoons, which represent the Warner Bros. studio at the height of its skills, have never looked better. Cartoons directed by Chuck Jones, Bob Clampett, Frank Tashlin and Friz Freleng, with animation by Ken Harris, Bob Cannon, Bob McKimson, Rod Scribner, Art Davis, Izzy Ellis, Virgil Ross, and Gerry Chiniquy, look as good as the cartoons restored by Warner Bros. The stills included here are from the DVD.

Besides great looking films full of wonderful gags and animation, Steve has recruited John Kricfalusi, Eric Goldberg, Jerry Beck, Mike Kazaleh and yours truly to provide audio commentaries. In addition, there are storyboard panels, magazine covers of Snafu by Ray Harryhausen(!) and a maquette of Snafu from the collection of Tony Eastman.

Whether you're interested in animation history, Warner Bros, great animation or you just want to laugh -- because these cartoons were for soldiers, they're a lot more risque than any Looney Tune -- you will find this collection highly satisfying.


Pete Emslie said...

I'll certainly be adding this one to my cartoon collection. I also find it ironic that this DVD sports far more appealing box art than what comes out of mainstream distribution. Snafu as drawn by the incredible Eric Goldberg - what could be better?

Eric Noble said...

I'll be going to Amazon or wherever I can get my hands on this to buy it. This a testament to the creativity and sheer talent of the Warner Bros. artists. Awesome!

Amir Avni said...

Looks great! I met Mr. Stanchfield at the ASIFA-Hollywood Archive, his DVDs are fantastic, he's very dedicated to his work!

Michael Sporn said...

Sunds like this is the PRIVATE SNAFU collection to own. I'll have to order one right away. Steve has done animation a service over the years, and it shouldn't be neglected. Thanks, Mark, for the writeup.

Martin Juneau said...

This is certainly the DVD you should own fast for a big dose of solid humor. Many are thrilling by this last Thunderbean's DVD and i can understand. Great review as usual.