"The Big Bad Wolf" is an animated short from 1934 made as part of Walt Disney's Silly Symphony series. A "sequel" of sorts to the earlier "Three Little Pigs" (1933), this one includes other characters and is a retelling of the Little Red Riding Hood tale. But with pigs.

As with the other Disney cartoons of the time, it made use of vibrant Technicolor (the series began in 1929 in black and white then switched to color in 1932) and had a strong, wonderfully orchestrated score. The same as other shorts in the series, the music plays throughout, the dialogue is sung, and many of the sound effects are done with percussion, slide whistles, or other musical instruments.

Following the events of the previous short, Fifer Pig and Fiddler Pig1 have moved in with brother Practical and his house of bricks and stones (the mailbox reads "Three Little Pigs")—a house that never quite seems to be done being built. As usual, the other two are not working, but dancing and singing.

Little Red Riding Hood comes up and tells them she is going to visit her Grandma, who is "awful, awful sick." So, this Little Red Nursing Hood is bringing her "cakes and wine." She is in a hurry (Grandma needs her cakes & wine) and the two advise her to take the shortcut through the woods.

Of course, Practical cautions against it because that is where the Wolf is, "shortcuts are not always good," and suggests she take the long road (that is how the sign is marked: "SHORTCUT" and "LONG ROAD"). Fifer and Fiddler call the Wolf "just a sissy" and offer to go along with her for protection (apparently forgetting their courageous defense against the Wolf previously).

Into the woods. There, from beneath a berry bush, the Wolf eyes his prey. Always the master of disguise (see: "Three Little Pigs" and the later "Three Little Wolves"), he dresses up as "Goldilocks, the fairy queen" and "spirit of the woods." He "flies" by means of hooking his suspenders over a tree branch. It seems to work—until the branch breaks. They scatter. So the Wolf tries another tactic.

He sneaks over to Grandma's house, where she is in bed knitting. He chases her around the room until she hides in the wardrobe where he can't get her. Then Red arrives and he expands his plan. Dressing up as Grandma (sure, we all know the basic story, play along), he gets into bed and invites Red in. Of course, it isn't cakes & wine he wants—it's her.

We go through the those classic lines (almost):

"Ooh Grandma. What big eyes you've got."
"All the better to look you over, dearie."
"Ooh Grandma. What a big nose you have."
"All the better to [Jimmy Durante impression] Ha cha cha cha..."
"Ooh Grandma. What a big mouth you've got."
[In his real voice] "You ain't seen the half of it, dearie!"

(Red seems to miss the obvious question: "Ooh Grandma. What coarse stubble you have." It is also never made clear just what the Wolf means by "Ha cha cha cha.")

While the Wolf chases her around the room, her "protection" arrives at their house of bricks. Practical, ever the practical one, goes to his corner of weapons under the "WOLF EXTERMINATORS" sign (a stash that includes poisons, a bomb, and a cannon). He grabs a bear trap, an ax, and...a box of "un-popped popcorn" and heads off to rescue Red.

Meanwhile, the Wolf and his quarry are still running around the same table. She finally escapes into the wardrobe with Grandma. As the Wolf tries to break into the wardrobe, Practical Pig sneaks up and pours the box into his pants (the Wolf fails to notice this), followed by a shovelful of hot coals from the fire. The searing pain makes the Wolf explode through the roof and land in front of the house. Then the popcorn begins popping as he runs off into the woods.

The bear trap remains unused and the ax...well, it would have been useful in one of the original stories where the rescuer is forced to cut open the Wolf in order to free Red and her Grandma. Not in this case, though.

Then, once again, the pig dance and sing. They do that a lot.

Who's afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? He's a great big sissy!

In total, Disney made four shorts featuring the Three Little Pigs:

1The pigs were not named in the shorts (with the exception of Practical, for the later short). However, they were given names.

(Source: the Walt Disney Treasures: Silly Symphonies DVD set)

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