Sunday, April 10, 2016

I'm Starting with the Monster in the Mirror

As you can see, I've fallen way behind in my Looney Tunes, so I'll just keep it short and sweet.  Later on, though, when I have enough time, I'll be kicking myself for sure.  But we now live in the age where we question the superfluous.  For example, the part in Hair-Raising Hare where Bugs dances like a ballerina with a lamp shade dress... even I'm thinking, do we really need that?  Or as a live-action example, the part in The Man With Two Brains where Steve Martin starts juggling.  Now, that was necessary, because he needed to remind his fans that he wasn't just a wild and crazy guy who can play the banjo.  Sure, it kind of brings the film to a halt, but so many things in that film do.
But back to Hair-Raising Hare.  Now I can't even remember if this was the first Bugs v. Orange Monster (non-Trump related) I ever saw and taped on video tape, when I first learned how to put one (working the VCR so that it would tape at certain times of the day) and one (schedule of cable channel, and when they used to show Looney Tunes) together.  But so far it's my favourite, aside from the one where Bugs goes after the monster with an electric razor.  I think that was a later one from the 60s or so.  But Hair-Raising Hare has plenty of tics to it that make it a cut above.
Of course, nowadays we have the "go back 10 seconds" button on the DVD player, and if you play a DVD on your computer, you can select anywhere on the timeline any time you want.  Note to self: find a way to record the various rewinds and fast-forwards you make... you know, for future generations to study.  But in the dark ages of the VCR, I would find myself fixating on the damnedest things (non-Cinemax).  For example, I had to re-watch the scene where Bugs gets out his two-sided "Yipe!" sign when he gets his second eye-ful of Peter Lorre's giant orange monster.  I also liked the part where Bugs runs afoul of the Raiders of the Lost Ark-type pit.  Rather than having Bugs fall into it, a tiny pebble acts as the proverbial stand-in for Bugs (...couldn't think of the fancy French word), falling to the opening tune of "Rhapsody in Blue," I dare say!  And, of course, Bugs tiptoeing back from the brink, saying a quiet "Amen!"... priceless.  As for those who still use MasterCard, well... Visa doesn't even have to advertise anymore.  They've won the war.
But I should be a little critical.  The scene where Bugs actually hits the monster with his jerry-rigged jousting suit... bad use of perspective for those two seconds of animation.  They took the cheap way out; if Frank Tashlin were doing it, he might have actually sprung for 3-D-ishness, as in Porky Pig's Feat.  And speaking of superfluous, I'll leave it for others to debate the necessity of the scene where Bugs plays nail salon with the monster.  I guess Blanc and company always liked to stretch themselves, take on the occasional taboo or two.  But the mouse traps on the monster's fingers?  I mean, I know he's the bad guy and all, but... even monsters have feelings too!  Sesame Street taught me that.
Ooh!  Another thing I forgot: the rather direct link to The Wabbit Who Came to Supper.  Both feature Bugs on a staircase... going downstairs in Supper, and upstairs in Hair-Raising... then going the other way along said staircase, and telling his pursuer, "Hey, don't go (down/up) there!  It's dark!!"  Great gag.  A pretty good feature for screenwriters to study.  You've got the veritable Kitchen Sink approach here in terms of the script: several false endings, breaking the Fourth Wall, and ruse after ruse after ruse, as Bugs always does.  I like this one, but it doesn't have as good of an ending as, say, Hare Tonic.  And I think the Stooges beat Bugs to the punch on the "person as lamp" gag... yup, Dutiful but Dumb was 1941, and H-RH was 1946.  I probably shouldn't be so picky, but again, I think it's the best Bugs v. Orange Monster case on the books.

-so sayeth The Movie... thing  Hooligan

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