Red Hot Riding Hood (1943)
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 number 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.
Frank Graham as Narrator, Wolf, Showroom Announcer
Kent Rogers as Wolf (some lines)
Daws Butler as Wolf (howling)
Sara Berner as Red Hot Riding Hood and Cigarette Girls
Elvia Allman as Grandma
Connie Russell as Red Hot Riding Hood (singing voice)
Directed by: Tex Avery
Story: Rich Hogan
Animation: Preston Blair, Ray Abrams, Ed Love, Irven Spence
Character Design: Claude Smith
Layout and Backgrounds: John Didrik Johnsen
Camera: Gene Moore
Film Editor: Fred McAlpin
Sound Editor: Fred McAlpin
Music: Scott Bradley
Co-Producer: William Hanna
Produced by: Fred Quimby
The 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. Avery claimed that a censor made him edit out footage of the Wolf getting sexually aroused at the sight of Red performing. However, an army officer at Washington, D.C., then heard about the censored prints and asked Louis B. Mayer for uncut ones. The print was shown to military audiences overseas and went over great with them. Preston Blair on the other hand, who animated Red, did not recall any cuts to the film. He did recall, however, that the military went nuts over it.
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. The chase scene with Grannie and the Wolf ends in the completed film with him jumping out of a window. In the early script, the Wolf crawls back inside and explains that he is about to commit suicide. The chase continues and Red joins the two other characters. The Wolf is tied up and Grannie instructs Red to get a preacher. She then kisses the Wolf. The two get married at a shotgun wedding. The Wolf says "I do" with Red aiming an anti-aircraft gun at his back. The final scene takes place at a nightclub. Grannie and the Wolf attend a performance of Red. Three baby wolves at their table go wild over Red. This ending was indeed animated and stills of the wedding scene are included in the MGM photo library. The images were fully inked and painted.
Blair had his own censorship tale. According to him, the censor was dirty minded and thought the film promoted bestiality between a woman and a wolf. Blair was instructed to animate a new ending, where the wolf's face is torn off as a mask and he is revealed to be a man. He completed the additional footage, though disgusted with the unnecessary censorship. At the end the studio never used this ending and Blair was unaware if the print survived.
This ending, deleted for reasons of implied bestiality and how it made light of marriage (something that was considered taboo by the Hays Office's Production Code), was replaced with one (that 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.
A rumor surfaced at the 1992 Conference of the Society for Animation Studies, that there was another alternate ending. According to this rumor, Wolf married Red and had a baby with her. Blair declared there was no such sequence. Mark Kausler provided a copy of a continuity script that clarified that Wolf married Grandma and not Red.
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