The Great Piggy Bank Robbery

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jul 13, 2015

This is pretty Tex-like. Or it’s a Clampett film. A really manic Daffy gets a Duck Tracy comic book in the mail. He reads it, or gets involved with it, as if it were a film: non-diegetic space becomes diegetic, detached reading becomes immersion and identification. We don’t’ need to get all Christian Metz here, but while the WB animators are just having fun, they’re also setting forth some really interesting and important spectatorial stuff. The piggy bank crime wave is both kid-courteous (they can identify, and more importantly there’s no danger or jeopardy) and adult-absurd. The satire, at least in the 1940s, has to have been for the parents in the audience. The Holmes gag is funny. A great big sign points to the gangsters’ hideout. The crook-faces are funny, but they’re also really impressively, even beautifully designed. Rubberhead erases Daffy like Bugs eventually would do in Duck Amuck. Bodies fall, like in Avery’s Who Killed Who? This guy was a major filmmaker, working at, as we’ve already amply established, a major film institution.