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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 4.17%
Average: 8.33%
Pretty Bad: 4.17%
Total Crap: 4.17%

1 review, 18 user ratings

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One Froggy Evening
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by dionwr

"Chuck Jones's most perfect movie"
5 stars

If you've never seen this Chuck Jones piece about a man who discovers a singing (but *NOT* talking) frog, I envy you. You get to see it for the first time, and you should go do so as soon as you can. And, if you haven't seen it, STOP READING THIS REVIEW ---NOW---!!!!

Chuck Jones made so many masterpieces it's an embaressment of riches, but if you could save only one of his cartoons, this is the one I'd grab.

It's so good, they had to throw good stuff away. I saw Jones at a convention in Houston in 1976, and he brought the fabled outtake from "One Froggy Evening" with him. Originally, we were to see the protagonist in the park again, after getting out of the loony bin. The man looks even more disheveled, and now it's snowing on him--and the frog is singing "Ri-di, pagliaccio!" from the opera, "Pagliacci." For those of you who might not know, it translates as "Laugh, clown!"

It was everyone's favorite song for the frog at the animation unit. The clip couldn't have been longer than 20 seconds. And it couldn't have been funnier. But it interfered with the pacing of the piece, so they cut it out.

Think of the fine-tuning that went into that. I wish Spielberg had that ruthlessness. (Particularly after just seeing "Catch Me If You Can")

The end result is a perfect folk tale, told in seven-and-a-half minutes, of a man who throws away his life in pursuit of the imagined fortune that he's sure the singing frog can bring him. But, of course, no one else will ever see the frog sing. Check out the timing in the visit to the theatrical producer, who steps out of the door literally half a second after the frog has completed a song.

It's remarkably spare--there's not one word of dialog used to advance the story. Caricature and gesture convey everything, and the focus is kept strictly centered on the man and the frog. We get some reactions from the theatrical producer near the beginning, and a moment with the cop, but other than that, it's just the man and the frog.

And it ends with the perfect topper, after the man puts the frog into the cornerstone of a building that's going up, the same place he found it at the beginning of the film. We cut to the future, where another man is demolishing that same building, and he discovers the frog, and the dollar signs dance around his head, and off he goes, the whole thing starting all over.

The frog got given a name, Michigan J. Frog--which was never used in the film, by the way--and is now very well-known, as Warner Brothers decided he'd make the perfect mascot for their television channel. But they had to get permission from Chuck Jones, and Jones agreed--providing the frog would only sing, never talk.

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originally posted: 01/02/03 09:36:51
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User Comments

2/14/15 jason gracio lolllllllll 1 stars
9/13/07 MaleKim The greatest morality tale of the 20th Century. 5 stars
4/28/06 Quigley one of Chuck Jones' greatest. it still can't beat Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner though 5 stars
11/19/04 Whoop Whoop Can't really compare it to the classics of cinema. 2 stars
8/22/04 Daniel A. This i sone of Chuck Jones' best cartoons: no dialogue: just sound effects & frog singing 5 stars
8/16/04 Flavio Its simply amazing! PLEASE go now and rent it, you'll woder shy you haven't dobe it before 5 stars
7/16/04 waltrneff Fantastic! If you haven't seen it GO FIND IT Froggy you're the bestWhy isn't this on DVD!!! 5 stars
7/16/04 Zeinab Malik The best cartoon ever made - it kills me that pretty much no one I know has ever seen it! 5 stars
6/02/04 Maegs A fun movie, but not amazing 3 stars
6/01/04 Hilarium It's a good cartoon, but that's only really worth this rating. 3 stars
5/30/04 DM I remember it very well and I haven't seen it since I was nine 5 stars
5/03/04 gray in memory of chuck 5 stars
4/01/04 sansho Simply delightful 5 stars
11/09/03 chuck if this were any better it would be a crime 5 stars
10/15/03 Sal --Saw it years ago and have never forgotten it. 5 stars
1/03/03 Mr Math Great fun. 4 stars
12/31/02 Charles Tatum Classic animated short, flawless 5 stars
12/30/02 Jon "Thumb the Toad" Lyrik Hello my honey, hello my baby, hello my ragtime gal! 5 stars
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Directed by
  Chuck Jones

Written by
  Michael Maltese

  Bill Roberts

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