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Director: Chuck Jones
Release Date: January 9, 1943
Stars: Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd
Rating: ★★★½
Review:

To Duck or not to Duck © Warner Bros.In ‘To Duck or Not to Duck’ Elmer Fudd shoots Daffy out of the sky. The duck then challenges the ‘sportsman’ for a boxing match, something which takes place immediately for a crowd of ducks. Needless to say, the match is far from fair.

‘To Duck or Not to Duck’ is the first Warner Bros. cartoon to star both Daffy and Elmer. The poor hunter is good fowl for the foul-playing duck and his brethren. When Elmer gets his revenge in the end, we’re almost surprised.

The cartoon knows some good gags, but Jones’s timing is still sloppy, and not every gag hits the screen well. Highlight may be Daffy’s ridiculously haughty humphing at Elmer Fudd’s apology for shooting him.

Note the surprisingly empty backgrounds in this cartoon.

Watch ‘To Duck or not to Duck’ yourself and tell me what you think:

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Director: Bob Clampett
Release Date: September 25, 1943
Stars: Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Elmer Fudd, Daffy Duck?
Rating: ★★★★★ ♕
Review:

A Corny Concerto © Warner Bros.‘A Corny Concerto’ is a two part spoof on Disney’s most ambitious feature, ‘Fantasia’ (1940), using two waltzes by Johann Strauss jr.

The cartoon features a very Fantasia-like opening, with Elmer Fudd as a clear caricature of Deems Taylor. He announces ‘Tales from the Woods’, which tells about Porky Pig and a dog hunting Bugs Bunny. Porky fills the role of Elmer Fudd in this sequence, and it’s the only cartoon in we can watch him hunting Bugs Bunny. This first part is a classic Bugs Bunny routine, complete with death scene, but now timed to music and acted in pantomime. With its overt mix of high culture and silliness this part is a direct ancestor to Chuck Jones’s later ‘What’s Opera, Doc?‘ (1957).

The second part is a story on ‘The Blue Danube’. It opens with flowers dropping on water, just like in the Nutcracker Suite sequence in Fantasia. This part tells about a little black duck, an infant version of Daffy Duck, trying to join a family of swans, and finally saving them from a vulture by destroying him with TNT. As this story is some kind of inverse of ‘The Ugly Duckling‘ (another acclaimed Disney masterpiece), this could be considered to be a parody within a parody.

Apart from Elmer Fudd’s speeches, the cartoon is completely pantomimed, and full of the wild and zany animation so typical of Bob Clampett’s unit. The backgrounds are lush and colorful, and reminiscent of the the Pastoral Symphony sequence in the original Fantasia. Their designs become overtly ridiculous in ‘The Blue Danube’, with Greek columns placed randomly in the water.

The result is a highly original mix of style and nonsense, and a great testimony of what Leon Schlesinger’s studio could do on a limited budget. In all, the cartoon is an undisputed classic, and very enjoyable, even if you don’t know its topic of parody.

Watch ‘A Corny Concerto’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Bugs Bunny cartoon No. 19
To the previous Bugs Bunny cartoon: Wackiki Wabbit
To the next Bugs Bunny cartoon: Falling Hare

This is Porky Pig cartoon No. 101
To the previous Porky Pig cartoon: Porky’s Pig’s Feat
To the next Porky Pig cartoon: Tom Turk and Daffy

Director: Chuck Jones
Release Date: May 9, 1951
Stars: Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd
Rating: ★★★★★
Review:

Rabbit Fire © Warner Bros.‘Rabbit Fire’ is the first of three cartoons in which writer Michael Maltese and director Chuck Jones play Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Elmer Fudd against each other.

The cartoon introduces a new incarnation of Daffy: as the jealous and treacherous miser who never wins. This transformation works, because Daffy the trickster was already present, as can be seen in films like ‘You Ought to be in Pictures‘ (1940) and ‘The Ducksters‘ (1950). As we could expect Daffy’s tricks, so successful against Porky Pig, fail when tried on Bugs Bunny, and Daffy’s repeated failures add to the duck’s frustration.

However, with this transformation, Daffy would lose his lunacy altogether, and it was this new frustrated, misguided, loser type of Daffy that would prevail to the present day, combined with Daffy-the-misguided-hero, championed in other Chuck Jones cartoons, like ‘Drip-along Daffy‘ (1951) and ‘Duck Dodgers in the 24 ½ Century‘(1953).

In ‘Rabbit Fire’ the contrast between Bugs and Daffy is played out very well: Bugs is the initial victim, but he remains über-cool and in total control, while Daffy is the treacherous actor, trying to harm Bugs, but biting the dust every time. In fact, this character trait makes Daffy rather similar to an earlier incarnation of that other famous duck, Donald, who, by the early 1950s had more or less evolved into the straight guy.

The team’s streak of genius is that Daffy never turns into rage, but remains cool, as well. When confronted with a string of defeats, he just walks up to Bugs and utters: ‘you’re despicable!’. Elmer Fudd, meanwhile, remains the confused instrument of the feud between the two animals.

‘Rabbit Fire’ is a dialogue-rich cartoon, but the dialogue never wears down the action. In fact, two of the film’s highlights involve a lot of talking: the gun-pointing scene, and a scene in which Bugs and Daffy read aloud several recipes (strangely enough Daffy pulls out a book on rabbit recipes out of Bugs’s rabbit hole…). Other highlights are a gag involving an elephant gun, and the short’s finale, in which it’s suddenly Elmer Season.

The success of ‘Rabbit Fire’ was repeated in ‘Rabbit Seasoning’ (1952) and ‘Duck! Rabbit! Duck! (1953). After this classic trio the studio paired Bugs and Daffy, and even Elmer in a bunch of other cartoons, and the antagonism between rabbit and duck remains intact to the present day, as can be seen in the feature film ”Looney Tunes: Back in Action’ (2003).

Watch ‘Rabbit Fire’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Bugs Bunny cartoon No. 82
To the previous Bugs Bunny cartoon: Fair-Hared Hare
To the next Bugs Bunny cartoon: French Rarebit

Director: Chuck Jones
Release Date: December 16, 1950
Stars: Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd
Rating: ★★★★★ ♕
Review:

Rabbit of Seville © Warner Bros.‘Rabbit of Seville’ is the second of three superb Chuck Jones Bugs Bunny cartoons on opera, bridging ‘Long-Haired Hare‘ (1949) and ‘What’s Opera, Doc?‘ (1957).

The cartoon starts with an open air opera theater setting with the Elmer-Bugs chase quickly entering the scene. When Elmer hits the stage, Bugs quickly opens the curtains, prompting the orchestra to play ‘The Barber from Seville’ by Gioachino Rossini. This leads to a wonderful aria by Bugs, and even Elmer joins in.

But the best part of the film is the silent comedy that follows on the music of the opera’s overture. During this sequence Bugs Bunny’s expressions are priceless, and the action is beautifully staged to the music, leading to a great finale in which Elmer and Bugs get married.

Throughout the picture Jones’s timing and staging are perfect. It improves on both Charlie Chaplin’s barber scene in ‘The Great Dictator’ (1940) and on the vaguely similar Woody Woodpecker cartoon ‘Barber of Seville‘ (1944). The result is no less than a masterpiece.

Surprisingly, this cartoon about  ‘The Barber of Seville’ does not feature the famous ‘Largo el factotum’ aria from that opera. This is remarkable, for this aria was a staple in cartoons, and used extensively in e.g. ‘Barber of Seville’, the Tex Avery cartoon ‘Magical Maestro’ and Chuck Jones own Tom & Jerry cartoon ‘The Cat Above, The Mouse Below‘ (1964).

Watch ‘Rabbit of Seville’ yourself and tell me what you think:

‘Rabbit of Seville’ is available on the DVD set ‘Looney Tunes Golden Collection, Vol. 1’

This is Bugs Bunny cartoon No. 77
To the previous Bugs Bunny cartoon: Bushy Hare
To the next Bugs Bunny cartoon: Hare We Go

Director: Robert McKimson
Release Date: June 17, 1950
Stars: Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd
Rating: ★★★★★ ♕
Review:

What's Up, Doc © Warner Bros.‘What’s Up, Doc?’ starts very much like Friz Freleng’s ‘A Hare Grows in Manhattan‘ from 1947: Bugs Bunny is a Hollywood star, interviewed by the press.

However, Writer Warren Foster and director McKimson’s take is much funnier than Freleng’s: instead of turning to an ordinary chase sequence, the duo retains the idea of Bugs being a real actor throughout the picture. The cartoon shows his erratic career in the vaudeville scene.

The most absurd take is when Bugs Bunny is down in the dumps. We seem him hanging out in the park with actors, who, by 1950, belonged pretty much to the has-beens: Al Jolson, Jack Benny, Eddie Cantor and Bing Crosby. At this point, it is Elmer, “the famous vaudeville star”, who turns Bugs into a star. We watch the duo performing in what must be the most terrible vaudeville act ever put on screen. But when Bugs utters “what’s up, doc” the duo hits the jackpot.

This loony, self-satirizing from-rags-to-riches story is entertaining throughout, and leads to a great finale. It may well have inspired the equally tongue-in-cheek opening sequence of ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ (1952), which shows some similarities to McKimson’s short.

‘What’s Up, Doc?’ is without doubt one of McKimson’s best cartoons. Sadly, the film more or less marks the end of McKimson’s most inspired era, for during the 1950s the quality of his cartoons steadily declined, becoming more and more routine, and less and less funny.

Watch ‘What’s Up, Doc?’ yourself and tell me what you think:

‘What’s Up, Doc?’ is available on the DVD set ‘Looney Tunes Golden Collection, Vol. 1’

This is Bugs Bunny cartoon No. 72
To the previous Bugs Bunny cartoon: Big House Bunny
To the next Bugs Bunny cartoon: 8 Ball Bunny

Director: Chuck Jones
Airing Date: February 23, 1978
Stars: Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam
Rating: ★
Review:

Bugs Bunny in King Arthur's Court © Warner BrothersThe Looney Tunes Television Specials were a series of 25 minute long television programs running from 1976 to 1989 and revisiting the classic Warner Brothers characters in all new material. They were produced by either Chuck Jones’ studio or De Patie-Freleng.

‘Bugs Bunny in King Arthur’s Court’ is the fourth within the series, and produced and directed by Chuck Jones. The story is loosely based on Mark Twain’s ‘A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court’ from 1889, as Jones readily admits in the opening titles. It features Bugs Bunny as himself, Elmer Fudd as a knight, Daffy Duck as a very unlikely King Arthur, Yosemite Sam as Merlin, and Porky Pig as an anonymous soldier.

Although Jones’s mastery shines through at times, the episode is a sad caricature of the old cartoons. Just nothing seems right. The designs are weak, especially that of Yosemite Sam (not a Jones character), who is too small compared to the others. Moreover, the timing is remarkably slow, and there’s way too much dialogue, slowing down the animation. The gags are further hampered by Dean Elliott’s terrible, partly electronic music. Even Mel Blanc’s voices are poor: his imitation of Arthur Q. Bryan’s voice of Elmer Fudd is nothing like the real thing, and Porky Pig simply stutters too much.

The episode’s trite story is expanded over 24 minutes, while, considering its flaws, it would already have been difficult to remain interesting within seven minutes. The result is a 24 minute long bore. The 1970s were the middle ages of animation, indeed…

Watch ‘Bugs Bunny in King Arthur’s Court’ yourself and tell me what you think:

http://www.funniermoments.com/watch.php?vid=05851c679

Director: Friz Freleng
Release date: November 26, 1955
Stars: Sylvester, Elmer Fudd, Tweety (cameo)
Rating: ★★★
Review:

Heir-Conditioned © Warner Brothers‘Heir-Conditioned’ was the second of three propaganda cartoons funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation (the other two being ‘By Word of Mouse‘ from the previous year, and ‘Yankee Dood It‘ from the next year).

In this cartoon Sylvester has inherited a fortune, and all the alley cats try to persuade him to spend it. But Elmer, who’s Sylvester’s financial adviser, persuades Sylvester, and all the listening cats, to invest the money, in a lecture celebrating the capitalistic system, now focusing on the importance of investment. Sylvester remains pretty much the straight man in this cartoon, with most of the comic relief coming from the alley cats.

Watch ‘Heir-Conditioned’ yourself and tell me what you think:

Director: Chuck Jones
Release Date: July 6, 1957
Stars: Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd
Rating:   ★★★★★ ♕
Review:

What's Opera, doc © Warner BrothersOne of the most celebrated animated cartoons of all time, ‘What’s Opera, Doc’ places the typical Elmer Fudd-Bugs Bunny chase routine into the world of Wagnerian opera.

The cartoon’s masterstroke is that it uses all the cliches of the chase, which go all the way back to the first Bugs Bunny Cartoon ‘A Wild Hare’ (1941), but that they are carried out in the most serious, Wagnerian fashion. The result is ridiculously pompous, mocking Wagnerian opera, as well as playing homage to it. Milt Franklyn’s score quotes music from five Wagner operas: ‘Der fliegende Holländer’, ‘Die Walküre’, ‘Siegfried’, ‘Rienzi’ and ‘Tannhäuser’.

The cartoon’s operatic character is emphasized not only by operatic singing, but also by featuring Wagnerian magic (a magic helmet), a ballet (a staple of French opera, but only employed by Richard Wagner in his very first operas), and a sad ending, a cliche of 19th century opera in general. Michael Maltese provided new lyrics to Wagner’s pilgrim chorus from ‘Tannhäuser’ and made it into a rather Hollywood musical-like love duet between Elmer and Bugs.

The animation is outstanding throughout, especially in the ballet and love duet between Bugs and Elmer. Indeed, for the ballet sequence the animators studied Tatania Riabouchinska and David Lichine from The Original Ballet Russe, and there’s a genuine seriousness about this scene. Yet, the main attraction of the cartoon lies in Maurice Noble’s extreme background layouts and bold color designs. Especially when Elmer gets furious, there is a startling emotional use of colors that has not been seen on the animated screen since ‘Bambi‘ (1942).

The opening sequence, with Elmer casting a mighty shadow is a straight homage to ‘The Night on Bold Mountain’ sequence from ‘Fantasia’ (1940), while the shots of Bugs being dressed as Brünnhilde and riding an oversized horse are retaken from ‘Herr meets Hare’ from 1945 (which, like ‘What’s Opera, doc?” was also penned by Michael Maltese). In this sense the cartoon is as much a homage to animation history as it is to opera.

‘What’s Opera, doc?’ is a brilliant cartoon of pure grandeur and one of Chuck Jones’s all time masterpieces. What’s most striking is that it was made during the normal grind of a commercial animated cartoon studio. The film took much longer than normal to make, which Jones and his unit could only manage to do by cheating on their schedule, stealing time from a much more ordinary short, the Road Runner cartoon ‘Zoom and Bored’ (1957).

Watch ‘What’s Opera, Doc?’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Bugs Bunny cartoon No. 131
To the previous Bugs Bunny cartoon: Piker’s Peak
To the next Bugs Bunny cartoon: Bugsy and Mugsy

Director: Friz Freleng
Release Date: March 28, 1942
Stars: Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd
Rating: ★★★★
Review:

The Wabbit Who Came to Supper © Warner BrothersElmer Fudd will inherit three million dollars from Uncle Louie, if he doesn’t hurt any animal, especially rabbits. Bugs, of course, takes advantage of the situation.

‘The Wabbit Who Came to Supper’ was Friz Freleng’s second Bugs Bunny cartoon, only, but he understood the brassy character completely. The highlight of the cartoon is the scene in which in the middle of a chase a clock chimes and Bugs bursts into a convincing New Year routine… in July. This scene not only shows the fresh character’s overpowering personality, it also shows Bugs Bunny’s ability to produce necessary attributes out of nowhere, this time confetti and streamers.

Bugs’ design, however, is rather unappealing and uncertain in this cartoon. And Elmer Fudd, too, has the less appealing alternate fatty design, which Robert Clampett had introduced in ‘Wabbit Twouble’ (1941). Luckily, this design was short-lived and lasted only four cartoons.

Two years later Hanna and Barbera would use the same plot idea in the Tom and Jerry cartoon ‘Million Dollar Cat’ (1944) with even better results.

Watch ‘The Wabbit Who Came to Supper’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Bugs Bunny cartoon No. 8
To the previous Bugs Bunny cartoon: Wabbit Twouble
To the next Bugs Bunny cartoon: The Wacky Wabbit

 

Director: Chuck Jones
Release Date: March 2, 1940
Stars: proto-Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd
Rating: ★★
Review:

Elmer's Candid Camera © Warner BrothersIn this slow and only moderately funny cartoon Elmer tries to photograph nature, but he’s hindered by a predecessor of Bugs Bunny.

This goofy rabbit is not quite Bugs, even though he behaves very calmly and does a Bugs-style death act. His looks and sounds are those of the crazy rabbit in ‘Prest-O Change-O’ (1939) and he still has the Woody Woodpecker-style laugh introduced in ‘Porky’s Hare Hunt’ (1938). Jones has toned this loony fellow down, but it was to Tex Avery to introduce a really cool rabbit in ‘A Wild Hare’ (1941).

No, the importance of ‘Elmer’s Candid Camera’ lies in the fact that it marks Elmer’s debut. Although he’s still wearing an Egghead suit (the character from which he evolved), he lacks Egghead’s goofiness, and he has received his distinctive voice provided by Arthur Q. Bryan. Moreover, he utters his famous line “wabbit twacks” for the first time here.

Unfortunately, ‘Elmer’s Candid Camera’ is more historically interesting than entertaining, and outside its historical importance, the cartoon is quite forgettable.

Watch ‘Elmer’s Candid Camera’ yourself and tell me what you think:

http://ulozto.net/live/xzv5WBh/bugs-bunny-elmers-candid-camera-1940-avi

This is the last of four cartoons featuring a Bugs Bunny forerunner
To the first Bugs Bunny cartoon: A Wild Hare
To the previous proto-Bugs Bunny cartoon: Hare-um Scare-um

 

 

Director: Friz Freleng
Release Date:
 January 15, 1949
Stars:
 Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd
Rating:
 ★★★★
Review:

Hare Do © Warner BrothersThis Bugs Bunny short starts with Elmer Fudd hunting our hero with a “wabbit detector”.

Like Freleng’s quite similar ‘Stage Door Cartoon‘ (1944), the action soon shifts into a theater, with wonderful comedy with Bugs’s and Elmer’s repeatedly passing past sitting people, continuously using the phrases ‘pardon me’ and ‘excuse me’ as a major highlight. Other great gags are Bugs’s playing with the intermission switch (which immediately causes the public to rush outside to smoke) and the finale, in which Bugs manages to get a blinded Elmer into a lion’s beak.

Despite the wonderful comedy, the film nevertheless fails to reach the heights of ‘Stage Door Cartoon’, falling short, due to some bad designs of Elmer and to a sense of routine.

Watch ‘Hare Do’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Bugs Bunny cartoon No. 56
To the previous Bugs Bunny cartoon: My Bunny Lies over the Sea
To the next Bugs Bunny cartoon: Mississippi Hare

Director: Chuck Jones
Release Date:
March 4, 1950
Stars:
 Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, Henery Hawk, Mama Bear, Porky Pig, Sylvester
Rating:
 ★★★★★ ♕
Review:

The Scarlet Pumpernickel © Warner Brothers‘The Scarlet Pumpernickel’ starts with Daffy Duck being tired of comedy.

He proposes to one of the Warner Brothers (who remains off-screen) to make an Errol Flynn-like film based on ‘The Scarlet Pumpernickel by Daffy Dumas Duck’, with, of course, himself in the starring role. This leads to an all-star cartoon with roles for Porky Pig, Sylvester, Elmer Fudd (with Mel Blanc’s voice), Henery Hawk and Mama Bear.

The film is both an excellent parody on and a faithful homage to the Errol Flynn adventure films. But more importantly, this short is important in the evolution of Daffy Duck, for it marks the birth of Daffy’s final incarnation. In this film Daffy is more of a frustrated and misguided character than downright loony. This new role is still a bit out of Daffy’s element: at times his eyes and behavior are similar to that of Charlie Dog, especially in the opening scene. Nevertheless, in the following years the frustrated Daffy would completely replace the loony one.

‘The Scarlet Pumpernickel’ is also the first of Jones’s Daffy cartoons in which Daffy serves as a misguided hero, starting a great series of shorts, with highlights as ‘Drip-along Daffy‘ (1951) and ‘Duck Dodgers in the 24 ½ Century‘ (1953).

Watch ‘The Scarlet Pumpernickel’ yourself and tell me what you think:

http://www.220.ro/desene-animate/20-Daffy-Duck-Sylvester-The-Scarlet-Pumpernickel-1950/KJRkZjBcaE/

‘The Scarlet Pumpernickel’ is available on the DVD set ‘Looney Tunes Golden Collection, Vol. 1’

This is Porky Pig cartoon no. 130
To the previous Porky Pig cartoon: Boobs in the Woods
To the next Porky Pig cartoon: An Egg Scramble

 

Director: Friz Freleng
Release Date: 
November 1, 1947
Stars:
 Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd
Rating:
 ★★★★★
Review:

Slick Hare © Warner BrothersIn ‘Slick Hare’ Elmer works as a waiter in a restaurant full of celebrities.

Humphrey Bogart is one of the costumers, and he tells Elmer to bring him a rabbit or else… By chance, Elmer discovers Bugs in his kitchen and what follows is a wild chase involving more celebrities, like The Marx Brothers and Carmen Miranda.

‘Slick Hare’ is a hilarious cartoon. Highlights are a well-timed pie throwing sequence and a a great dance routine by Bugs on an irresistible samba. The cartoon contains some more caricatures of Hollywood stars, like Leopold Stokowski, Frank Sinatra and at the end, Lauren Bacall.

Watch ‘Slick Hare’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Bugs Bunny cartoon No. 45
To the previous Bugs Bunny cartoon: Easter Yeggs
To the next Bugs Bunny cartoon: Gorilla My Dreams

Director: Bob Clampett
Release Date: 
October 5, 1946
Stars:
 Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd
Rating:
 ★★★★★ ♕
Review:

The Big Snooze © Warner BrothersAfter a short chase routine involving a tree trunk on a cliff, Elmer quits.

He tears his contract with Warner apart and decides to enter a career of fishing only ‘and no more wabbits!’. When he rests at the riverside, Bugs enters his serene dream to create a nightmare. This involves e.g. nightmare paint, rendering Elmer in Adam’s costume, making a girl out of him, followed by wolves and a great fall, which typically ends the nightmare. At the end Elmer returns to the scene, reassembling the contract and ready for another routine with the tree.

‘The Big Snooze’ is one of those great cartoons that play with their characters as being real stars (others being the Mickey Mouse cartoon ‘Mickey’s Gala Premier’ (1933), the Donald Duck cartoon ‘The Autograph Hound’ (1939) and ‘You Ought to Be in Pictures’ (1940, starring Porky and Daffy).

It was to be Bob Clampett’s last cartoon at Warner Bros. He was fired before he could finish it, and the short was completed by Art Davis, who succeeded him as a director. The short’s look and feel is still that of the war era, while contemporary cartoons by Chuck Jones and Friz Freleng show the studio was heading into other directions, with milder humor and more sophisticated designs. In contrast, in ‘The Big Snooze’ Clampett’s animation style is extremely flexible, as usual for him, and his backgrounds are as vague as ever.

‘The Big Snooze’ is a hilarious cartoon that marks the end of an era, where the wildest and the zaniest gags were possible. Only Tex Avery at MGM would continue the extreme style. Bob Clampett left Warner Bros. in May 1945 to join the Screen Gems studio. He was succeeded by Art Davis, who would direct some great cartoons until his unit was closed down in 1949.

In the years following Clampett’s leave, his zany style was continued for a while by his master animator Robert McKimson, who had been promoted to director only a few months earlier. However, McKimson soon toned down both animation and humor, and he would never achieve the same level of originality as Bob Clampett did during his Warner Bros. days.

Watch ‘The Big Snooze’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Bugs Bunny cartoon No. 40
To the previous Bugs Bunny cartoon: Racketeer Rabbit
To the next Bugs Bunny cartoon: Rhapsody Rabbit

Director: Robert McKimson
Release Date: 
June 28, 1947
Stars:
 Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd
Rating:
 ★★★★★
Review:

Easter Yeggs © Warner BrothersMcKimson’s second Bugs Bunny cartoon is way funnier than his first one, ‘Acrobatty Bunny‘ (1946).

In ‘Easter Yeggs’, Bugs Bunny encounters a lethargic Easter Bunny who makes Bugs replace him, because he has ‘sore feet’. Bugs ends up delivering Easter eggs in some slum, where he’s troubled by an unbelievably annoying little red-haired kid. In his next attempt he encounters Elmer Fudd, who’s only after Easter bunny stew.

‘Easter Yeggs’ is a hilarious cartoon, and without doubt among both Robert McKimson’s and Bugs Bunny’s all time best. Its highlight may be Bugs’ performance as a magician conducting a misguided trick with Elmer’s watch.

Watch ‘Easter Yeggs’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Bugs Bunny cartoon No. 44
To the previous Bugs Bunny cartoon: A Hare Grows in Manhattan
To the next Bugs Bunny cartoon: Slick Hare

Director: Frank Tashlin
Release Date: 
March 23, 1946
Stars:
 Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd
Rating:
 ★★
Review:

Hare Remover © Warner BrothersIn ‘Hare Remover’ Elmer Fudd is an unlikely evil scientist developing a potion to change animals into monsters.

He tries it on a dog, but it only makes it eat grass. Because he has run out of test animals, he has to find a rabbit to try the potion on. Enter Bugs Bunny. What follows is a plot in which both characters think they’ve turned the other into a monster, which happens to be a totally confused bear.

‘Hare Remover’ was to be Frank Tashlin’s last Warner Brothers cartoon and the second of only two Bugs Bunny cartoons directed by him. Unfortunately, it’s not a grand finale.

Despite some great gags and a clever story, the director seems at loss with the two personalities. Elmer, who has a slightly altered design, having suddenly received buck-teeth, is awkward enough as a scientist. But watching Bugs being aghast that he really has made his foe into a monster, and trying to revive Elmer’s former self by making a chemical drink of his own, is just out of character.

In September 1944 Frank Tashlin would leave Warner Brothers, to direct puppet films for the Joan Sutherland studio. Then he left animation all together to work at feature films, first as a gag writer and screen writer, then as a director, in 1951.

Robert McKimson would succeed Frank Tashlin as a director. When Bob Clampett left Warner Brothers, too, in May 1945, the studio had entered a new era. The wild days were over.

Watch ‘Hare Remover’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Bugs Bunny cartoon No. 36
To the previous Bugs Bunny cartoon:  Baseball Bugs
To the next Bugs Bunny cartoon: Hair-Raising Hare

Director: Friz Freleng
Release Date: 
March 27, 1948
Stars:
 Elmer Fudd, Sylvester
Rating:
 ★★★★★
Review:

Back Alley Oproar © Warner BrothersIn ‘Back Alley Oproar’ a sleepy Elmer Fudd is kept awake by Sylvester’s singing in his back alley.

Sylvester turns out to be a rather talented alley cat. His performance is quite infectious, and includes the famous Largo al factotum aria from Gioachino Rossini’s ‘Il barbiero di Seviglia’, Franz Liszt’s second Hungarian Rhapsody (which he performs by stamping with heavy boots on the staircase), “You Never Know Where You’re Goin’ Till You Get There” and “Moonlight Bay”.

At last, Elmer tries to blow Sylvester to smithereens, but they are both killed, and on his way to heaven, Elmer is disturbed by Sylvester’s nine lives singing the Sextet from Donizetti’s ‘Lucia di Lammermoor’.

‘Back Alley Oproar’ is one of director Friz Freleng’s cartoons in which he spreads his own love for music. He does so in a very entertaining way.

The cartoon was the first of only four Elmer Fudd-Sylvester pairings. Only Freleng coupled these two characters, although they did co-star in Chuck Jones’ ensemble film ‘The Scarlet Pumpernickel‘ (1950).

Watch an excerpt from ‘Back Alley Oproar’ yourself and tell me what you think:

Director: Friz Freleng
Release Date:
 December 30, 1944
Stars:
 Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd
Rating:
 ★★★★★ 
Review:

Stage Door Cartoon © Warner BrothersIn ‘Stage Door Cartoon’, the forest scene, in which Elmer is “fishing’ for a certain rabbit”, is soon replaced by an urban environment, where Bugs flees into a stage door. From then on, the action takes place in the theater.

The numerous gags involve a great tap dance by Bugs, a spectacular dive by Elmer from a ridiculously high ladder into an “ordinary glass of water” and Elmer watching a Bugs Bunny cartoon. ‘Stage Door Cartoon’ does not make any sense, but it’s full of gags, resulting in one of the funniest of all Bugs Bunny cartoons.

‘Stage Door Cartoon’ also features a Southern Sheriff who looks and sounds like an early version of Yosemite Sam, a Friz Freleng character who would make his debut only four months later.

Watch ‘Stage Door Cartoon’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Bugs Bunny cartoon No. 29
To the previous Bugs Bunny cartoon:  The Old Grey Hare
To the next Bugs Bunny cartoon: Herr Meets Hare

Director: Friz Freleng
Release Date: October 10, 1942
Stars: Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd
Rating:
 ★★½
Review:

The Hare-Brained Hypnotist © Warner Brothers‘The Hare-Brained Hypnotist’ was only the sixth encounter between Elmer Fudd and Bugs Bunny, and only the second by Friz Freleng, but already the routine was ripe for experiment.

In ‘The Hare-Brained Hypnotist’, penned by Michael Maltese, Elmer consults a book on hypnosis to catch Bugs. His hypnosis skill work on a bear, which Elmer makes think it’s a canary. It fails on Bugs however, who in turn manages to hypnotize Elmer, making him think he’s a rabbit. Elmer immediately swaps into a Bugs Bunny routine, leaving Bugs to play the straight guy. But after another hypnosis battle down the rabbit hole, Elmer returns to his former self, fleeing into the distance, while Bugs tells us he’s the B19, referring to the Douglas XB19, a huge experimental bomber plane, which had had its first flight on 27 June 1941.

‘The Hare-Brained Hypnotist’ is not a very funny cartoon. The comedy suffers, because Bugs is forced into the role of the straight guy, a problem the cartoon shares with e.g. ‘Tortoise Beats Hare‘ from 1941. Nevertheless, Elmer’s Bugs Bunnyarisms are quite hilarious, especially in a scene where he makes Bugs eat several carrots at one time.

Watch an excerpt from ‘The Hare-Brained Hypnotist’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Bugs Bunny cartoon No. 13
To the previous Bugs Bunny cartoon: Fresh Hare
To the next Bugs Bunny cartoon: Case of the Missing Hare

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