Red Hot Riding Hood

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Red Hot Riding Hood
Red Hot Riding Hood WP.jpg
Theatrical poster to Red Hot Riding Hood (1943)
Directed byTex Avery
Produced byFred Quimby
Voices byFrank Graham (Narrator, Wolf, Showroom Announcer)
Elvia Allman (Grandma)
Sara Berner (Red Hot Riding Hood)
Connie Russell (Red Hot Riding Hood, singing voice)
Music byScott Bradley
Animation byPreston Blair (unc.)
Ray Abrams (unc.)
Ed Love (unc.)
Irven Spence (unc.)
Layouts byClaude Smith
StudioMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date(s)May 8, 1943
Color processTechnicolor
Running time7 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Preceded byN/A
Followed bySwing Shift Cinderella
 
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Red Hot Riding Hood
Red Hot Riding Hood WP.jpg
Theatrical poster to Red Hot Riding Hood (1943)
Directed byTex Avery
Produced byFred Quimby
Voices byFrank Graham (Narrator, Wolf, Showroom Announcer)
Elvia Allman (Grandma)
Sara Berner (Red Hot Riding Hood)
Connie Russell (Red Hot Riding Hood, singing voice)
Music byScott Bradley
Animation byPreston Blair (unc.)
Ray Abrams (unc.)
Ed Love (unc.)
Irven Spence (unc.)
Layouts byClaude Smith
StudioMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date(s)May 8, 1943
Color processTechnicolor
Running time7 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Preceded byN/A
Followed bySwing Shift Cinderella

Red Hot Riding Hood is an animated cartoon short subject, directed by Tex Avery and released with the movie Dr. Gillespie's Criminal Case on May 8, 1943 by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. In 1994 it was voted #7 of The 50 Greatest Cartoons of all time by members of the animation field, making it the highest ranked MGM cartoon on the list. It is one of Avery's most popular cartoons, inspiring several of his own "sequel" shorts as well as influencing other cartoons and feature films for years afterward.

Plot[edit]

Title card to Red Hot Riding Hood

The story begins with the standard version of Little Red Riding Hood (with the wolf from Dumb-Hounded, the cartoon which saw the debut of Avery's Droopy). The characters rebel at this stale and derivative staging of the story and demand a fresh approach. The annoyed narrator accedes to their demands and starts the story again in a dramatically different arrangement.

The story begins again, now told in a contemporary urban setting. The narrator explains that Little Red Riding Hood is now an attractive performer in a Hollywood nightclub under the stage name "Red Hot Riding Hood," and the Big Bad Wolf, now a Hollywood swinger, follows Red to the club where she's performing. Red performs onstage (a rendition of the 1941 classic hit song "Daddy" by Bobby Troup) and the wolf goes mad with desire. He brings her to his table and tries wooing her, but she wants nothing to do with him. Red escapes the Wolf, saying she's going to her Grandma's place, but when the Wolf arrives, Red's nowhere to be found (she isn't seen again until the end of the cartoon). Red's grandma is an oversexed man-chaser who falls head over heels for the Wolf. Upon seeing him, she whistles and says, "At last a wolf! Yahoo!"

The Wolf tries to escape, but Grandma blocks the exit and asks him, "What's your hurry, hairy?" She locks the door, drops the key down the front of her evening gown, and poses provocatively for him. Soon after, Grandma puts on a bright red shade of lipstick and tries to kiss the Wolf several times during his stay. He tries to escape, but the lovelorn granny chases after him. Every door the Wolf opens, Grandma's there waiting with puckered lips. He finally makes his escape by jumping out a window, severely injuring himself in the process. But since this is a Tex Avery cartoon, the Wolf immediately recovers and makes his way back to the nightclub. At the club, the Wolf says, "I'm fed up! I'm through with women. Why I'll kill myself before I'd even look at another babe." Immediately after saying this, Red takes the stage and begins another performance. The Wolf pulls out two guns and commits suicide, but his ghost rises from his dead body and howls and whistles at her like he did earlier.

Characters[edit]

The character of Red Hot Riding Hood closely resembled one of the top pin-up girls at the time, Lana Turner. She is considered an amalgamation of the then popular Hollywood stars. Her singing voice in this particular short was reminiscent of Lena Horne's, while her speaking voice emulated that of Katharine Hepburn.

The two supporting characters are Red Hot's sisters in the entry of the nightclub foyer, where the Wolf walks in. It is the shortest, who says, "Cigarettes, cigarettes!" And the other is the tallest, who says, "King-sized, king-sized!"

Censorship[edit]

Wolfie being "lustful".

The most famous element is the musical scene where Red performs and "Wolfie", as she calls him, reacts in highly lustful wild takes. Those reactions were considered so energetic that the censors at the time demanded cuts in this scene and others.

The film's original conclusion had Grandma marrying the wolf at a shotgun wedding (with a caricature of Tex Avery as the Justice of the Peace who marries them), and having the unhappy couple and their half-human half-wolf children attend Red's show[citation needed]. This ending, deleted for reasons of implied bestiality and how it made light of marriage (something that was considered taboo back in the days of the Hays Office Code), was replaced with one (that, ironically, has also been edited, but only on television) where The Wolf is back at the nightclub and tells the audience that he's through with chasing women and if he ever even looks at a woman again, he's going to kill himself. When Red soon appears onstage to perform again, the Wolf takes out two pistols and blasts himself in the head. The Wolf then drops dead, but his ghost appears and begins to howl and whistle at Red same as before.

Prints with the original ending (where the Wolf is forced to marry the lusty Grandma) and the Wolf's racier reactions to Red are rumored to have been shown to military audiences overseas during World War II, though it is not known if this print still exists.

Follow-ups[edit]

Homages[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Corliss, Richard (August 8, 1994). "CINEMA: Like the Mask?". Time. 
  2. ^ "Q & A with Gary Wolf". jimdavies.org. 
  3. ^ Schmidt, Sonja (December 24, 2010). "Sonja Schmidt: Goodbye Liberal Feminism". PJTV. 

External links[edit]