Saturday, October 24, 2015
Travolti da un insolito destino sul Fiume di Espediente
It seems to be Bugs Bunny trapped in a bit of a shaggy dog story. I almost wish there were a special commentary about this one, but there's not. Apparently it's not all that special, but I do recall seeing the three-part gag somewhere, some Looney Tunes documentary or something. You'll probably know it too when you see it.
Now, gravity is man's oldest, most silent nemesis, as you all know. Thank God for these animated cartoons to give us a chance to fight back... but water? Well, water gets toyed with almost as much as gravity does in these here cartoons, and arguably more so. It seems to be a recurring theme with former farmboy and Looney Tunes animator/director extraordinare Charles M. Jones, and Jones puts water to the ultimate test in his 1943 offering Fin 'n Catty, where ... SPOILER ALERT... an obsessive-compulsive cat overcomes his fear of water, so much so that he ends up living in the goldfish bowl of the goldfish he spends the whole cartoon trying to catch. Must be a Stockholm Syndrome variant or something.
...okay, that's the only example I can think of. Ooh! Just thought of another one, but it's a Friz Freleng cartoon. In Duck Soup to Nuts, Daffy informs Porky Pig... and frankly, all the rest of us... that he can stay underwater "practically indefinitely." Unusual for an actual duck, but understandable. Some go to great, great lengths to get away from Porky. I mean, the Highlander can do it too, but he tries not to make a habit of it, know whut I mean Vern? Porky dons a primitive (cutting-edge for the era) diving suit to go after Daffy and fails. Plan B? Drain the lake, one bucketful of water at a time. Could be why Daffy didn't want Porky painting his lake in Boobs in the Woods... the 1950's WARNER BROTHERS cartoon of that name, that is ... Kinduva sore spot with Daffy.
But I digress again. We start with a heavy rainfall that seems to be covering all of heaven and earth. I just don't get it. I mean, Jones was born in Spokane, Washington, and he moved to sunny California, so what does he care about rain? Oh well. A good plot's a good plot. The wandering eye of the camera,... or the animator's bench... wanders all over the land, and eventually follows a river. The river flows right to Bugs' door, AKA a hole in the ground. Bugs is desperately tired from a long night of partying after the Oscars, and doesn't notice that his entire underground rabbit cave is, like, totes full of water. The water makes Bugs float, making him just a little too free, and the rain river seems to have stopped on Bugs forevermore... okay, here's the lyrical reference. Good thing I just heard that song again this week! (Note: The Movie Hooligan is not responsible for the third party ads that exist on EVERY SINGLE SONG LYRIC WEB PAGE.) Incidentally, there's a nice water cooler gag that you'll probably not want to use at the water cooler, at least not without explaining where the hell it's from and what not.
And so, the water eventually overwhelms even Bugs' mattress, and Bugs and his mattress get washed away... hmm! Where did that exit in Bugs' underground house come from? Major Plot Device! Oh well. Like that Adam Sandler movie's titled, just go with it. But it can be argued that Hair-Raising Hare made a little more sense, at least in terms of getting Bugs to the lair of the evil scientist... that's right. It's Bugs v. Evil Scientist time again, and this ain't your father's cushy Hare Remover, either. The scientist here is a small guy with a big green head, and a voice like Vincent Price. Wonder if he's a fugitive from Area 51 or something? Hmm.
SECOND ACT: Anyway, as luck would have it, the evil scientist needs a brain for his Frankenstein / robot slave... in this case, the latter. Robot slave. The evil scientist happens to catch a glimpse of Bugs floating by in the river, and the evil scientist gets out the old rod and reel and catches Bugs just before Bugs can plummet to his death over the falls. Bugs might have been better off that way, but oh well. Boy! This scientist really is evil. Building a robot that needs a human brain, giant castle at Niagara Falls... check and check. To be fair, hydroelectric power has a low carbon footprint. Yes, it's your garden variety Evil Scientist in need of a brain. That he settles for Bugs' brain instead of a human one sets him apart from the pack.
As usual, Bugs demurs and selfishly chooses self-preservation over a noble contribution to society at large in the name of science. The evil scientist has no choice but to release the Kraken... but this is on land, so he goes for the giant orange monster with tennis shoes. Now, finer minds than mine will know all the screen appearances of this particular beast. (Wikipedia) Why, I think he was in Hair-Raising Hare, for one! There was another one where Bugs went after him with an electric razor. Anyway, as with Hair-Raising Hare, Bugs runs from the monster, but stops just short of falling into a deep pit. A pebble falls in in lieu of Bugs; you know, to demonstrate its depth as a pit. In both Hair-Raising Hare and Water, Water Every Hare, Bugs carefully tiptoes backwards with hands in prayer position. However, in Hair-Raising Hare, he says a quiet prayer and a slightly louder "Amen!" Love that part.
Anyway, the similarities continue as Bugs turns to the monster and does his gay hairdresser voice, and... GAY HAIRDRESSER???!!!!!! Shame on you, Warner Brothers. Shame on you. Needles to say, Bugs gets the better of the monster in this occasion, and on several others afterwards... oh, right. Note to self: get a screen captcha... capture of the various oils in one of the lab rooms. I believe one of them was "Uglifying Acid." LOL. Bugs doesn't use that one, unfortunately, but he does use one to make himself invisible, and another one to shrink the orange monster to the size of a mouse. When this happens, the monster moves into the nearest mouse hole he can find, kicks the current rodently occupant out, and puts a big sign on the door saying "I Quit."
With the monster out of the picture, the evil scientist has to take over. He makes Bugs reappear by pouring "Hare Restorer" on him... something like that. Now, I hate to call this cartoon a bit half-assed in the plot department, but a jar of ether does break, and Bugs and the mad scientist start chasing each other, ballet-style. You know, because they're all strung out on ether. The evil scientist takes a nap on the floor of his palatial estate, and Bugs ends up in the river that we first saw at the start of this thing. You'll never guess where the water takes him; you'll just never guess in a million, billion years.
Good double bill with: oh, I should really stop doing this feature, especially for these Warner Bros. cartoons. One begets the other, really. Oh, they're the cinematic equivalent of Lay's Potato Chips, I tells ya. For example, for similar endings, go with Chuck Jones' The Aristo-Cat. These two have virtually the same ending, except that Bugs wasn't actually having a dream, whereas the cat in The Aristo-Cat was. Stan Freberg would have been pretty young to do The Aristo-Cat but I swear he did most of the voice of the cat. When the cat was really screaming, Mel Blanc stepped in to do those.
-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan