Apr 3, 2015

Review: The Big Bad Wolf (1934)

After the huge success that Three Little Pigs was in 1933, Disney trotted out some big guns in a direct sequel featuring even more classic fairy tale characters. By combining The Three Little Pigs and Little Red Riding Hood into one short film, it was sure to bring out even more of an audience right? It would appear that the law of diminishing returns hit The Big Bad Wolf relatively hard and it wasn't able to achieve the same level of success as its predecessor. That didn't stop Disney from making even more sequels though.


At a Glance

Genre: animation, short, comedy
Directed by: Burt Gillett
Produced by: Walt Disney
Written by: Ted Sears
Music by: Frank Churchill
Running time: 9 minutes
Production company: Walt Disney Productions
Distributed by: United Artists
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: N/A
Box office: N/A

IMDb entry

Starring: Sara Berner, Billy Bletcher, Pinto Colvig, Dorothy Compton, Mary Moder



Little Red Riding Hood (voice: Sara Berner) is on her way to visit her sick Grandmother (voice: Sara Berner). She has the choice of either cutting through the woods or taking the long way around. Fifer Pig (voice: Dorothy Compton) and Fiddler Pig (voice: Mary Moder) recommend that she take the shortcut since she'll save time. They even volunteer to accompany her despite Practical Pig's (voice: Pinto Colvig) warnings about the Big Bad Wolf (voice: Billy Bletcher) who lurks in the forest.


You got to love how Fifer and Fiddler still haven't learned their lesson. They continue to fool around with their instruments as Practical never endingly works on bricking his brick house. It was pretty clear that they hadn't learned their lesson by the end of Three Little Pigs either when Practical played a joke on them at the end by knocking on his piano and making his pig bros leap under the bed in fright. Obviously we wouldn't have a movie if Fifer and Fiddler were smart because they would've simply advised RRH to skip the woods and arrive alive.

The Big Bad Wolf isn't quite as charming as its predecessor was and I suppose that's because its commitment to pairing animation and music in perfect harmony isn't quite as strong. While music and singing still plays a big part, it's not as big a part of the equation as it was in Three Little Pigs where it seemed like everything lined up just perfectly. The song "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf" is reused, but is also just a tiny bit less satisfying to listen to.

The Big Bad Wolf is still a lot of fun to watch though. While the three pigs themselves were the most entertaining aspect of Three Little Pigs, that honour easily goes to Big Bad Wolf himself for this sequel which makes sense. He's the titular character after all. While he doesn't dress up as anything ridiculously racist, he's entertainingly goofy dressed up as Goldilocks the Fairy Queen and predictably of course as Red Riding Hood's grandmother in his attempts to fool Red Riding Hood. 

While it's not quite as funny or as charming as Three Little Pigs, The Big Bad Wolf is entertaining for children and adults alike. To have reached the instant classic status of the original would've been asking for a bit much anyway. There are a few elements that are recycled here and there, but The Big Bad Wolf is still a very competent follow up.



Related Reviews:

Three Little Pigs (1933)
Three Little Wolves (1936)
The Practical Pig (1939)

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