Looney Tunes (Bugs Bunny) series
Title card of Long-Haired Hare.
|Directed by||Charles M. Jones|
|Story by||Michael Maltese|
|Music by||Carl Stalling|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
|Release date(s)||June 25, 1949 (USA premiere)|
|Running time||7 minutes 36 seconds|
Long-Haired Hare is a 1948 Warner Brothers Looney Tunes theatrical cartoon short released in 1949, directed by Chuck Jones and written by Michael Maltese. In addition to including the homophones "hair" and "hare", the title is also a pun on "longhairs", a characterization of classical music. Nicolai Shutorov provides the singing voice of Giovanni Jones.
Long-Haired Hare is one of the few cartoons which show Bugs without his trademark gloves (another example being Elmer's Pet Rabbit where Bugs removes his glove to slap Elmer on the face), at least on his left hand.
Bugs is happily minding his own business, playing a banjo and singing "A Rainy Night in Rio." Nearby, an opera singer named Giovanni Jones (whose house is a modern unit with Frank Lloyd Wright architectural influence) -- perhaps a play on director Charles M. Jones's name -- rehearses for a performance, but as he proceeds into his aria, he absent-mindedly finds himself singing along with Bugs instead, thereby distracted by Bugs. However, instead of politely asking Bugs to stop playing during his rehearsal, the irate Jones confronts Bugs and, without a word, breaks the banjo strings and the banjo itself in half, crushing the neck and then slamming the body over Bugs' head ("Music-hater," Bugs guesses, and moves on).
Later, as Jones is trying to sing again, he hears Bugs singing while playing a harp. Jones tries to ignore Bugs, but ends up singing and dancing along to Bugs' song again. Angered once again, Jones returns, ignoring Bugs's greeting of "What's up, Doc?", grabs Bugs by the neck, puts Bugs' in the harp, and crushes his neck the harp like a vise. Bugs then guesses that Jones is a "rabbit-hater," and takes this attack in equal stride.
Later, as Jones picks some new sheet music and sprays spritzer in his throat, he tries to sing again, but the sound of a tuba comes out of his mouth. The noise is coming from Bugs playing a tuba, since he can't sing while playing it (which one would think would solve the problem), but, however, the tuba still bothers Jones, and though Bugs ducks into his rabbit hole as Jones returns, Jones reaches down into the tuba, pulls him out, ties him by his ears to a tree branch, and yanks him down so that he bounces up and down beneath the branch, striking his head repeatedly, proceeding to simply walk away. Unfortunately for Jones, he has finally pushed Bugs too far; angered, Bugs faces the audience and declares his time-honored, Groucho Marx-inspired warning: "Of course you know, this means war!"
Bugs exacts his revenge against Jones though a series of public humiliations during a concert in which Jones is the main attraction. First, Bugs flicks the roof of the "acoustically poifect" concert hall (presumably the Hollywood Bowl, due to its shape) to disrupt the singer's vocals. Then he hammers it so that Jones moves across the stage and falls into a tuba, where he is trapped, screaming, "Help! Help!". Bugs manages to pull him out and takes him backstage. Second, Bugs sprays Jones' throat with "liquid alum" which shrinks his head as well his voice, exaggerating the astringent properties of the substance for comedic effect.
Next, Bugs dresses up as an adoring teenage bobby soxer and asks Jones for an autograph, only the pen is a stick of dynamite. After the explosion, a dazed Jones steps out to the stage with a face covered in soot and evening wear torn to shreds.
During the concert's final act, Bugs poses as the highly respected "Leopold" (Leopold Stokowski) (causing the members of the orchestra, the conductor, and Jones to exclaim "Leopold") to take over the conducting duties. First Bugs makes Jones sing short high notes and a very low note.
For the big finish, Bugs conducts Jones into holding a singular high G note until Jones can hardly endure the strain (at one point, Bugs leaves his glove hovering in the air and steps outside to order a pair of ear muffs, which are delivered before Bugs returns to the stage). Giovanni's face turns different colors as his formal wear unravels under the pressure: white formal bow tie unties itself, collar detaches and snaps open side to side, white vestee buttons burst off and vestee falls to the ground, dickey releases and rolls spinning 'round and 'round into his face, suspender buttons give causing his huge formal slacks to fall around his ankles, revealing a large pair of flowered boxer shorts.
In a matter of seconds Bugs has transformed Giovanni Jones from a well respected classical Opera singer to a publicly humiliated goon. Bugs returns to find Jones has obeyed the glove and is still singing the high note. He writhes on the floor banging his fists, looking a little worse for the wear. Eventually the concert roof shatters, due to Jones' high singing, and comes crumbling down on top of the unfortunate singer.
For the encore, Jones exhaustedly climbs out of the rubble, looking even more worse for the wear. Seeing one last piece of the Hollywood Bowl balanced on a steel beam above Jones, Bugs again cues Jones (who apparently didn't learn a thing from this experience) to close out his performance with one more very high note so that the piece falls and (off camera) clobbers him, finishing him once and for all (whether or not it actually "kills" him is left open for interpretation). Satisfied with his victory, Bugs removes his wig and closes out the performance by strumming the old vaudeville-era four-note tune, "Good Evening Friends", on his repaired banjo.
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 following pieces are used in the film:
Giovanni Jones' singing voice remained uncredited and unknown for many years. It was since revealed to have been provided by opera singer Nicolai Shutorov. This is noted in the commentary voice-over provided on the DVD.
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. Leopold Stokowski was, of course, well-known in classical music circles, but it was his conducting performance in Walt Disney's Fantasia that made him a household name.
Knights Must Fall