Friday, April 20, 2007

Daffy: 1938

Inspired by Daffy Duck's recent birthday, I have decided to pick one of the duck's films from each year of his career to discuss from time to time here. Having already discussed "Porky's Duck Hunt" from 1937, today we move on to 1938.

The film is "The Daffy Doc", directed by Bob Clampett, and in it we find Daffy as the assistant of Dr. Quack. Daffy, of course, can not control his insanity and soon his antics (which include sliding across the instrument table and using the anesthesia machine as a punching bag) get him thrown out of the operating room and into an iron lung.

One bit of comedy that occurs here surprisingly does not even include Daffy. Dr. Quack leans over the surgery table, carefully placing stitches in his patient, until it is revealed that his patient is, in fact, a football.

Meanwhile, Daffy's body is stretched and squashed from the effects of the iron lung, until he finally decides to go find a patient of his own to treat...regardless of if they are sick or not.

Enter Porky, whistling as he goes about his business down the street, blissfully unaware that Daffy walks behind him with a mallet. We are spared the brutal assault as it takes place around the corner, but we see the result as Porky is carried unconscious on a stretcher back to the hospital by Daffy.

Now clearly there is nothing physically wrong with Porky (except for a bruised head I am sure), yet Daffy's lollipop thermometer tells a different story. Daffy calls a consult by whacking himself with a mallet and discussing Porky's case with the images of himself that appear due to his blow to the noggin. It is agreed that the treatment for Porky apparently is a hacksaw to the belly, a treatment that Daffy does not get to carry out, since a mad chase around the hospital results in both doctor and patient being stuck in the iron lung.

This film shows Daffy even more insane than usual as he attempts to inflict physical harm on Porky, all the while acting as if he is doing it for the pig's own best interest. With a crazed, cross-eyed expression,it will not be long before Daffy begins to eclipse the studio's main star, Porky.

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