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"Something New Has Been Added"
—The second title card
Red Hot Riding Hood is an animated cartoon short subject, directed by Tex Avery and released 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. It is one of Avery's most popular cartoons, inspiring several of his own "sequel" shorts (which really were just shorts with a similar plot and the same characters, though notably Droopy was involved with many of the other shorts Wolfie and Red appear in) as well as influencing other cartoons and feature films for years afterward.
The story begins as a typical cutesy retelling of "Little Red Riding Hood"--that is, until the Big Bad Wolf and even Red and her Grandma become annoyed at the narrator and complain about how stale and overused the premise is, thus demanding a new take on the story. The narrator finally gives in to their demands-cue the second title card quoted above.
The cartoon then takes us to Hollywood, where the Big Bad Wolf is now a womanizer who frequents night clubs, Red is now an incredibly attractive singer and dancer, and her Granny is a hotel/implied brothel owner and an (apparently) oversexed Abhorrent Admirer of Wolfie once she sees him. Hilarity does indeed ensue from there.
The follow-up shorts to "Red Hot Riding Hood" were as follows:
- "Swing Shift Cinderella" (1945) -- Very much like the first short, only of course, based on Cinderella.
- "The Shooting of Dan McGoo" (1945) -- A cartoon version of Edgar Guest's poem "The Shooting of Dan McGrew", which features Droopy.
- "Wild and Woolfy" (1945) -- A Western-themed short, also featuring Droopy.
- "Uncle Tom's Cabaña" (1947) -- An adaptation of Uncle Tom's Cabin which featured Red. Wolfie doesn't appear, here he is replaced by Simon LeGreedy. It's not often shown anywhere in the U.S.
- "Little Rural Riding Hood" (1949) -- Essentially had a City Mouse / Country Mouse plot, with a hillbilly wolf and a sophisticated urban wolf. It occupies the 23rd place on the list of The 50 Greatest Cartoons, though it incorporates Stock Footage of Red singing from "Swing Shift Cinderella."
Red also makes a cameo at the end of the Tex Avery short, "Big Heel-Watha" (1944). Red is a prominent character in the 2010 direct-to-video film Tom and Jerry Meet Sherlock Holmes, while Wolfie and the two wolves from "Little Rural Riding Hood" make cameos.
This short contains examples of:
- Abhorrent Admirer: Granny is just as attracted to Wolfie as he is to Red.
- Also the Wolves in Little Rural Riding Hood are attracted solely to their counterpart's version of Red, not their own.
- All Men Are Perverts
- All Women Are Lustful: At least Granny is.
- Bait and Switch Credits
- Big No: Red rejects Wolfie very loudly this way, and in a man's voice.
- The Chanteuse: Red
- Dirty Old Woman: Granny
- Distressed Damsel: The shorts featuring Droopy tended to turn Red into this, in contrast to those without him, where she was perfectly capable of fending off the Wolf's advances herself.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Whenever Wolfie first sees Red, he jumps out of his chair and stiffens his whole body in mid-air horizontally, kind of like a... you know...
- Dramatic Curtain Toss
- Driven to Suicide: At the end, Wolfie vows never to so much as look at another woman again while at the night club. The curtains are pulled back and he sees Red on stage again. He then shoots himself in the head, and his ghost begins to do wild takes.
- Executive Meddling: Many of the wild takes have been censored, and the original ending was changed because of 'bestiality' and the fact that marriage was being mocked (back in the 1940s, the Hays Code forbade any scenes that poked fun at marriage or cast marriage in a bad light -- in this case, with a shotgun wedding).
- Eye Pop
- Fake-Out Opening
- Follow That Car!!: Wolfie tells a taxi driver to follow Red's car, and he does... without Wolfie inside the taxi.
- Fractured Fairy Tale
- Gainaxing: Previlent on Red's ample bosom.
- Glamorous Wartime Singer: Red was based off of these. In one of her later shorts she does sing a song with a wartime theme.
- Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: After Wolfie jumps through the window to get away from Granny.
- Hello, Nurse!: Wolfie's reaction to Red, and Granny's reaction to him.
- Heroes Want Redheads: Well, at least wolves do.
- Hotter and Sexier: ...and zanier too.
- The Hunter Becomes the Hunted: Grandma and the Wolf
- I Kiss Your Hand: Wolfie does this while trying to sweet talk Red. It isn't effective.
- Interactive Narrator
- Lady in Red: The singer/showgirl/stripper. She's even unofficially named Red, probably as much from her hair as her costume (which is white in several of the shorts).
- Love Makes You Crazy: For The Wolf and Grandma
- Lost Forever: Although the censors demanded the original ending to be changed it was said that the uncut version of the short was made but only send off for the troops at War. Tex collected uncut versions of his cartoons, so it is clearly unknown if it would ever turn up.
- Magic Skirt: Averted after Red's Big No, though her leg blocks the view.
- Medium Awareness: At the beginning Red Riding Hood complains that every cartoon studio in Hollywood has re-enacted "Little Red Riding Hood" the old-fashioned way.
- Ms. Fanservice: Red
- No Guy Wants to Be Chased: Once the tables are turned on Wolfie and Granny is lusting after him, he is terrified and does his best to run away, to no avail.
- Pain Powered Leap: Wolfie sticks Grandma in the butt with a needle and she jumps through the roof of her penthouse. The sticking is usually edited out when shown on television, so you just see Wolfie holding the needle and then it cuts straight to the jump.
- Revised Ending: The short's original ending had Granny 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. Granted, the ending they eventually settled on wasn't exactly kid-friendly either (which is why it has been edited on TV).
- Sexy Backless Outfit: Red
- She's Got Legs: Also Red
- Slapstick Knows No Gender: Grandma gets no special treatment and it's just as funny.
- Something Else Also Rises: The Wolf's reactions to Red. In fact, most of them (like steam erupting from out of the Wolf's collar as he tugs at it) were considered too obscene to be shown by the Hays Office censors (by today's standards, the steam thing isn't that risque).
- Take That: It wouldn't be the last time Tex took a jab at the cute and cuddly animation that was popular in the 1930's.
- The Cat Came Back: When Granny chases after Wolfie, he just can't seem to get away from her.
- Victoria's Secret Compartment: Granny keeps her keys here. Very much a Fan Disservice.
- Visual Pun: "Wolf" is old-timey slang for womanizer, which is what the Big Bad Wolf actually is.
- Wartime Cartoon: The cartoon was originally made to entertain American troops.
- Wild Take: To the point where this short by itself could very well be the Trope Codifier.
- Wolf Whistle: Of course.