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Elmer and Bugs finally collide for real this time for the first time ever,
in an excellent short by the late, great Tex Avery that hints of things to
come. Elmer of course is hunting rabbits, Bugs(unnamed when this came out,
although we all know it's him now) is of course defending himself, foiling
Elmer's plans and driving him crazy. This is one of the two's best(why
wasn't this on the Looney Tunes DVD? Oh well, guess I can wait for a Silver
collection). I recommend seeing it to any fan of the "wabbit," or the
hunter. After seeing how little has actually changed between the two, it's
easy to realize that some things really do never change.
BOTTOM LINE: The first, and one of the best, Bugs vs. Elmer shorts.
While Tex didn't do the first Bugs cartoon, he did the first one with many of the characteristics of Bugs that make him Bugs, including the catch-phrase, "What's up, Doc". So it's fitting and proper that, while Chuck Jones did more with the wabbit, Tex Avery did the first Bugs to get a date at the Academy Awards, losing to the wrong feline cartoon. *sigh* Bugs wouldn't win an Oscar for another 18 years, but that's for another comment at another time. Highly recommended.
Here is Tex Avery's magnificent film in which we are first introduced to a
brownish-gray colored hare named Bugs, although we really don't hear his
name spoken in this film. Yet that immortal phrase, "What's Up Doc???" is
here, and Bugs is a sly, bold, incredibly smart woodland creature outfoxing
that "wovable" hunter, Elmer Fudd. No more wacky prototypes. Bugs is at last
fleshed out the way he should be. I appreciate his "Dad" and "Grandpa" very
much. Someone's dream wouldn't have come true without them and our star
might never have been born without them. Nevertheless, the star is Bugs
Bunny!!! And after this film, he was well on his way to becoming what he is
Thank you Tex Avery!!!
It is very hard to review "A Wild Hare" on its own solo merit after the
sixty-plus years that followed and thus turned its central character into
the biggest cartoon character ever. In comparison to the subsequent
that appeared until 1964, this very first official entry is tame but
wonderful model for those that followed.
Let's say this was 1940 and If I saw this cartoon for the first time ever with absolutely no knowledge of Bugs Bunny, I would say that "A Wild Hare" alone is a fine cartoon, in which the hunter becomes the heckled. The prey is a slick "wabbit" character that starts in on him at the very beginning, knocking on the wisping hunter's bald head to get his attention.
It is no wonder that this cartoon is directed by Fred Avery, who only three years ago directed a similar cartoon called "Porky's Duck Hunt," in which Porky's prey evolved into the current Looney Tunes star Daffy Duck. Should we be keeping our eyes on this "wabbit?"
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
An early Bugs Bunny, not the most inventive - the animation is a little
stilted, the usual flights of fantasy are rejected in favour of one hermetic
setting, the Bugs persona is not quite as subversively developed as it would
be. But there is much to enjoy. Elmer Fudd, shotgun ready, sets a trap for
a rabbit by a gaping burrow. In a scene with wonderful Surrealist
overtones, a hand emerges, and gropes for the carrot while the cocked rifle
butt eyes eagerly.
This is followed by a conventional scene of Bugs identity games, that would be used by Ionesco in over a decade for 'The Bald Prima Donna'. Taking mock-pity on an exasperated Fudd, Bugs allows him one shot at him, falls down and dies. Fudd's genuine grief is startling - surely it's natural in a rural environment for a hunter to shoot a rabbit - that it's a relief to see Bugs jump up and mock him, and not just to see him alive.
Bugs continues here his very perceptive critique of Hollywood cliche and ideology, here satirising, among other things, the overextended costume-drama death scene (respectable cinema, remember!), and his histrionics are a lot more convincing than those of CAMILLE. The pastoral, vernal setting also mocks Emersonian Romantic rhetoric; the (literally) earthy Bugs, with his protean deconstruction, is joyfully at odds with long-winded transcendences of the self.
It's a classic set-up. A round-headed, bulbous-nosed hunter creeps
through the woods brandishing his gun, briefly turning to the audience
to inform them "Be vewwy, vewwy quiet, I'm hunting wabbits". Coming
across a rabbit hole, the hunter begins to dig while from an adjacent
hole a grey bunny emerges, casually moseys up to the hunter and, with a
breathtaking confidence that suggests he sees the hunter as no threat
whatsoever, asks "What's up, Doc?" And cinema history is changed
Tex Avery's 'A Wild Hare' not only created a universal superstar in Bugs Bunny but also remains the quintessential Bugs cartoon to this day. Mention the name Bugs Bunny to anyone and 90% of them will immediately picture a rabbit hole in a forest and Elmer Fudd stalking towards it. Not only does 'A Wild Hare' open exactly this way, the first line is Elmer's most famous catchphrase. When Bugs puts in an appearance, his opening line is perhaps the most famous catchphrase of all time. So the scene is set, the template established for a rivalry that will continue for decades. There's enough history in the opening couple of minutes of 'A Wild Hare' to make any serious cartoon fan's heart swell with joy but there's plenty more to recommend it. While it may seem like a comparatively no-frills cartoon for those who grew up watching the many, many variations on this set-up that followed, keep in mind that this was Bugs's debut and these now familiar routines are being tried out for the first time. Bugs has rarely been cooler or looked more handsome than he does in 'A Wild Hare', his nonchalance really striking a chord with audiences and ensuring his place in cartoon history.
While there were a handful of cartoons that predate 'A Wild Hare' starring prototype Bugs Bunnys, Avery's cartoon is undoubtedly the first time he was the character we all know and love and, therefore, clearly his official debut. Avery's expert timing, Mel Blanc and Arthur Q. Bryan's instant chemistry as Bugs and Elmer and a solid script by Rich Hogan all contribute to creating an Academy Award nominated classic and the smell of history that now lingers around 'A Wild Hare' makes it positively electric. 'A Wild Hare' is an experience to treasure which, for me, will never lose its heart-stopping air of excitement.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This Warner Brothers cartoon in the Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies series introduced one of the most famous and popular cartoon characters in history, Bugs Bunny, named after animation director Bugs Hardaway. He may look and sound slightly different to what he looks like in the later cartoons, but he is still endearing enough. The story sees dim-witted (and red-nosed?) hunter Elmer Fudd "wooking for wabbits", and he finds Bugs, the clever, smooth-talking one. His first ever words on screen are "What's up, Doc?" while chewing a carrot, this of course became very common in his cartoons. Using his double-talk and misdirection he keeps getting the better of Elmer, up to the point where a skunk is used, and Bugs lets him have his shot. So it looks like Bugs has been shot and killed by Elmer, and Bugs gets up and kicks the hunter's back side, making him walk away blubbering, and the film ends with the rabbit whistling his carrot down his hole. It was nominated the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film. Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies were number 20, and Bugs Bunny number 10 on The 100 Greatest Cartoons. Very good!
Compared to the first (two) appearances of the developing Bugs, this is
very funny, has characters with incredibly developed plots and indeed
is better quality. I find because the humour of "Porky's Hare Hunt" and
"Prest-O Change-O" are very old-fashioned and not very understandable
for today's humour (although I still found "Porky's Hare Hunt" quite
funny). This episode feels much more like it was made recently, even
though it was made only two or three years after the developing Bug's
first appearances. In this, apart from his deeper voice, he feels much
more like the Bugs Bunny we know today.
I also like this episode for the very sweet first Elmer featured, Bugs Bunny is very entertaining and there is nice animation included. I have to say in this, Bugs Bunny reminded me a lot of Br'er Rabbit, which was comforting (HE didn't make his first appearance for nearly ten years after!!).
The plot is very much like the average episode with Elmer and Bugs. Elmer is hunting for "wabbits" and he finds Bugs. Many of the gags have been repeated many times in more recent episodes, but are still funny none the less. There are some other gags added which are funny.
I recommend this episode to enthusiasts of early Looney Tunes (but still like gags which are repeated in modern Looney Tunes episodes) and who like Bugs Bunny. Enjoy "A Wild Hare"!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A bumbling hunter by the name of Elmer Fudd was venturing into the woods to hunt a rabbit. Suddenly, he stumbles upon "wabbit twacks". He follows them to a rabbit hole, the out pops the rabbit: Bugs Bunny, the world's most mischevious rabbit who always get's the better of his enemies. First he and Elmer have a battle of wits then Elmer sets up an old fashion rabbit trap but ends up catching a skunk. Nothing seemed to work in catching Bugs, not even a carrot. Elmer finally get's Bugs at the end of his gun and is about to fire when Bugs requests they move away from a tree with little baby birds in it, so they relocate, Elmer pulls the trigger and Bugs goes through a dramatic death performance then dies. Elmer is devastated at what he did. Bugs awakened then, stuck a cigar in Elmer's mouth, kissed him then skipped away. Elmer then stormed out of the forest, enraged. Bugs decided the poor guy was screwy then marched back into his hole, and that started the whole legacy.
The very first Elmer Fudd/Bugs Bunny cartoon. I guess I should say second because before this was "Elmer's Candid Camera" in which photographer Elmer Fudd is harrassed by a screwy unnamed rabbit. It was Bugs Bunny but he wasn't named until A Wild Hare. Although Bugs Bunny is the most popular Looney Tunes character to date, he was not the first. Daffy Duck and Porky Pig were. They were in cartoons back in the '30s together; Mel Blanc voices Bugs Bunny and Arthur Q. Bryan, uncredited, is Elmer Fudd. So you Looney Tunes fans, and all you Bugs Bunny fans, I recommend A Wild Hare. See the very first popular encounter between the sly-devil hare and his bumbling predator, Elmer Fudd. And if you like Fudd, I also recommend Wabbit Trouble in which Elmer goes into the mountains to look for "peace and wewaxation" and of course Bugs spoils his plans. That one is funny! But anyway, Doc, I recommend A Wild Hare!
A Wild Hare (1940)
*** 1/2 (out of 4)
This is where it all started as the dimwitted Elmer Fudd travels to the woods hunting rabbit and comes across Bugs Bunny who is just too smart. A WILD HARE was actually the third film that Bugs appeared in but this here is the official first as the rabbit we all love. It's funny watching this first short because what's here is what we'd see for the next several decades as Bugs was just so appealing and he was often put up against rather dumb characters. There are several very funny moments here but the highlight has to be poor Elmer not realizing that while his digging for the rabbit that he's actually sitting there talking to him. Another highlight is the scene where Bugs pretends to die just so he can pull one more prank.
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