Long-Haired Hare
Title card
Directed byCharles M. Jones
Story byMichael Maltese
Produced byEdward Selzer (uncredited)
StarringMel Blanc
Nicolai Shutorov (uncredited)
Music byCarl Stalling
Animation byPhil Monroe
Ben Washam
Lloyd Vaughan
Ken Harris
Richard Thompson (uncredited)[1]
Layouts byRobert Gribbroek
Backgrounds byPeter Alvarado
Color processTechnicolor
Production
company
Distributed byWarner Bros. Pictures
The Vitaphone Corporation
Release date
  • June 25, 1949 (1949-06-25)
Running time
7:36
LanguageEnglish

Long-Haired Hare is a 1949 American animated short film directed by Chuck Jones and written by Michael Maltese.[2] It was produced by Warner Bros. Cartoons and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures as part of the Looney Tunes series, and was the 60th short to feature Bugs Bunny.[3] In addition to including the homophones "hair" and "hare", the title is also a pun on "longhairs", a characterization of classical music lovers.[4] Nicolai Shutorov provides the singing voice of Giovanni Jones.

Plot

On a hillside, Bugs is singing "A Rainy Night in Rio" as he plays a banjo. His singing distracts opera singer Giovanni Jones, who is trying to rehearse "Largo al Factotum" in a nearby Frank Lloyd Wright-style house. Jones absent-mindedly starts singing along with Bugs, then angrily walks over to his rabbit hole and destroys the banjo. On two later occasions Bugs again distracts Jones and sends him into a rage—first when he sings "My Gal is a High-Born Lady" with a harp, which results in Jones trapping Bugs's neck by closing both sides of the harp like a vise, and then by performing "When Yuba Plays the Rhumba on the Tuba" on a sousaphone, after which Jones bumps Bugs's head repeatedly against a tree branch after tying his ears around it, hoping this will finally get Bugs to stop ruining his rehearsal. In the aftermath, Bugs vows revenge, saying to the viewers, "Of course you know, this means war!".

On the night of Jones's concert, Bugs disrupts his performance with a series of pranks: vibrating the concert stage, spraying alum in his throat to make his head shrink, and posing as a bobby soxer to hand him a stick of dynamite disguised as an autograph pen. As Jones begins his final set, Bugs commandeers the orchestra disguised as Leopold Stokowski. He administers a series of vocal tests, which Jones passes. After brief applause from the audience, Bugs scowls at Jones, then directs him to sing a prolonged high G note. Jones complies, singing until he writhes in pain and his face turns several different colors, eventually causing the stage shell to collapse in on him. Satisfied, Bugs stops conducting long enough for Jones to stagger to his feet and take a bow. As Bugs looks up he notices a large piece of concrete balanced on a beam directly above Jones, and directs him to resume the high note until the concrete falls. He then triumphantly strums "Good Evening, Friends" on a banjo.[4]

Voice cast

Music

The film's musical score includes original music by Carl Stalling, but a significant proportion of the score is pre-existing music, including several operatic pieces. The soundtrack includes "Largo al factotum" from Act I of Gioachino Rossini's The Barber of Seville; Arthur Schwartz's "A Rainy Night in Rio"; Barney Fagan's "My Gal is a High-Born Lady"; Herman Hupfeld's song "When Yuba Plays the Rumba on the Tuba" – played by Bugs on a sousaphone; the sextet "Chi mi frena in tal momento" from Act II of Gaetano Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor; the 2nd theme from the Prelude to Act III of Richard Wagner's Lohengrin; the overture from Franz von Suppé's operetta Die schöne Galathee (The Beautiful Galatea); and the melody to "It's Magic." This last piece is also used in the cartoon Transylvania 6-5000. "My Gal is a High-Born Lady" is given alternate lyrics, as Barney Fagan's original 1896 song had a racially stereotyped subject and lyrics. The author of the re-written lyrics used in the cartoon is most likely Stalling or Michael Maltese. The Donizetti piece, originally a sextet that comprises part of the opera's Act II finale, seems to have been a favorite of Stalling, and is also used in Book Revue and Back Alley Oproar.

Giovanni Jones' singing voice remained uncredited and unknown for many years, but the DVD commentary identifies him as baritone Nicolai G. Shutorov (1914-1948). Long-Haired Hare was the only known film role for Shutorov, who had otherwise worked in Hollywood as a choral singer.[6]

Also noted on the DVD commentary is Bugs Bunny's conducting performance as "Leopold", as a send-up of conductor Leopold Stokowski's energetic style, including his shunning the baton: Bugs makes a point of snapping the baton in half and discarding it. As Bugs enters the concert hall wearing a Stokowski-like hairpiece, the orchestra members begin whispering among themselves, "Leopold! Leopold!" The DVD commentator also notes that Stokowski conducted many performances at the Hollywood Bowl, where the second half of this film is set. Stokowski was, at the time, one of the best known conductors in the world through personal appearances, recordings, and radio, and also took part in several motion pictures including One Hundred Men And A Girl and Carnegie Hall; however, the most famous film in which he participated, Fantasia (1940), was a difficult production for Warner Brothers' rival Walt Disney Productions that did not earn back its cost until 1970.

Analysis

According to Daniel Goldmark, the director of the Center for Popular Music Studies at Case Western Reserve University, the first two minutes of the cartoon establish a struggle between classical music and popular music.[4][7] Giovanni acts as if he is protecting the world of "good" music from the ignorant masses which Bugs represents. The folk melodies sung by Bugs are also featured as infectious and treated as disease by Giovanni, acting as a representative of the musical establishment.[4] Each time that Giovanni finds himself singing to one of Bugs' songs, his first reaction is shock, followed by fury that he is wasting his voice on less refined music.[4] Goldmark finds similarities with The Band Concert (1935), where Donald Duck insists on playing Turkey in the Straw and infuriates Mickey Mouse.[4]

Bugs is established as an anti-aesthete first by his initial choice of musical instrument, the banjo. Secondly, he performs in a backwoods setting, as opposed to Giovanni's modern house. Thirdly, he sings from memory while Giovanni uses sheet music. He is also implied to be an untrained musician, contrasting with the trained Giovanni. A further contrast is implied through the geographic origin of their songs. Bugs sings American popular songs, while Giovanni's repertoire is Western European in origin.[4]

The orchestral musicians featured in the short have little to no personality. Their identity depends only on their instrument. Chuck Jones would follow this idea with similar personality-less depictions in the Rabbit of Seville (1950) and Baton Bunny (1959). This contrasts with orchestra-driven animated shorts by other creators.[4]

By assuming the position of the conductor, Bugs places himself at the top of the musical hierarchy. He forces Giovanni into an improvised vocalization which spans his entire range and an exercise of all his technical skills. He then forces Giovanni to hold a painful, long high G, which brings the Hollywood Bowl crashing down on the singer.[4] Bugs assumes the stereotypical attributes of famous conductors, displaying majesty, arrogance, and tyrannical behavior. He also follows the dress code of the concert hall by wearing white tie and tails, formal wear which is still associated with performers.[4]

Home media

Sources

See also

References

  1. ^ "Animation Breakdown #22". Retrieved 14 December 2020.
  2. ^ Beck, Jerry; Friedwald, Will (1989). Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies: A Complete Illustrated Guide to the Warner Bros. Cartoons. Henry Holt and Co. p. 199. ISBN 0-8050-0894-2.
  3. ^ Lenburg, Jeff (1999). The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons. Checkmark Books. pp. 60–61. ISBN 0-8160-3831-7. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Goldmark (2005), p. 114-125
  5. ^ Scott, Keith (2022). Cartoon Voices from the Golden Age, 1930-70. BearManor Media. p. 74. ISBN 979-8-88771-010-5.
  6. ^ "Entertainment". The Berlin Sentinel. 1945-10-20.
  7. ^ "Daniel Goldmark", faculty profile, College of Arts and Sciences, Case Western Reserve University website, Cleveland, Ohio. Retrieved April 12, 2022.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-08-11. Retrieved 2016-09-12.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
Preceded byBowery Bugs Bugs Bunny Cartoons 1949 Succeeded byKnights Must Fall