Bugs Bunny Rides Again

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Bugs Bunny Rides Again
Merrie Melodies (Bugs Bunny) series
Bugs Bunny Rides Again02.JPG
Bugs Bunny is about to give Yosemite Sam the "shaft" in more ways than one.
Directed by Friz Freleng
Produced by Edward Selzer
Story by Tedd Pierce
Michael Maltese
Voices by Mel Blanc
Music by Carl Stalling
Animation by Gerry Chiniquy
Manuel Perez
Ken Champin
Virgil Ross
Layouts by Hawley Pratt
Backgrounds by Paul Julian
Studio Warner Bros. Cartoons
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
The Vitaphone Corporation
Release date(s) June 12, 1948 (1948-06-12)
Color process Technicolor
Running time 7 minutes 11 seconds
Language English

Bugs Bunny Rides Again is a 1948 Warner Bros. Merrie Melodies short, released in 1948, directed by Friz Freleng, and written by Tedd Pierce and Michael Maltese.[1] The short is both part of the Western and a parody of the genre's conventions.[2]

Voice characterizations are performed by Mel Blanc. The cartoon features Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam. It is the second cartoon to pair them, after their first encounter in 1945's Hare Trigger. The title is a typical Western reference, as in "The Lone Ranger rides again", and also suggests a reference to the 1940 Jack Benny comedy, Buck Benny Rides Again. In the scene where Yosemite Sam states "...the roughest, toughest he-man hombre that's ever crossed the Rio Grande, and I don't mean Mahatma Gandhi" is changed to where he says "And I ain't no namby pamby" instead of "Mahatma Ghandi" in the reissue prints.[3]

Plot[edit]

A hail of bullets flies down one street until a traffic light turns red and the bullets hover in mid-air while a second hail of bullets shoot by on the perpendicular street.

All of the patrons are afraid of Yosemite Sam, yelling his name in terror while the underscore plays Der Erlkönig (as is often the case for villains in Looney Tunes). No one dares to challenge Sam except Bugs Bunny, where Sam says that the town isn't big for both of them. After Bugs and Sam draws out increasingly bigger guns, Bugs shoots Sam's nose with a pea shooter, and tricks him to fall into a mine shaft. When Sam returns to the surface, Bugs dares him to cross lines drawn with his foot, to which he does so until Sam falls off the cliff.

Sam chases Bugs on horseback, until Bugs convinces Sam to play cards with him instead, to determine who leaves town. After Bugs wins the game, he tries to get Sam to take the train out of town. The two of them arrive at the strain station and discover that the passenger car is the Miami Special, full of swimsuit-clad women. Accompanied with a rendition of Oh You Beautiful Doll fit for a striptease number, the plot twist completely changes the tone.[2][4] Bugs fights with Sam to board the train, and prevails as usual.

Critical reception[edit]

In a commentary by Greg Ford, he praised Freleng's music in the short, particularly during the horse chase, where he comments "[This] proves how well Friz Freleng works with music". Ford noted the music speeding up as the horse chase speeds up.[5] In the book Animated Short Films: A Critical Index to Theatrical Cartoons, Piotr Borowiec describes it as "Probably the funniest cartoon starring Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam". Borowiec cites the bullets stopping for traffic lights, Bugs using a pea shooter on Sam and the train with numerous women in swimsuits aboard.[6]

Music[edit]

As a director, Friz Freleng favored using "one gag after the next", instead of clearly defined segments of exposition, climax, and conclusion to the narrative. In consequence, Carl Stalling did not come up for a single, unified scores for each of Freleng's films, but rather with short musical cues accompanying and fitting each scene or gag. A total of 18 such cues appear in this short.[4]

The title music is a short sample of the William Tell Overture (1829) by Gioachino Rossini.[4] The establishing shot for the unnamed western town of the film is accompanied with a sample of Cheyenne (1906) by Egbert Van Alstyne and Harry Williams.[4] The establishing shot for the saloon and its customers is accompanied with a sample of Navajo (1903), also by Van Alstyne and Williams.[4] The entry of Yosemite Sam is accompanied by a sample of Der Erlkönig (1821) by Franz Schubert.[4] When Bugs Bunny emerges as the only one willing to stand against Sam, the music is a sample of Yosemite Sam, a song created by Stalling himself.[4] When Sam and Bugs start their duel, the music is a sample of Inflamatus, a section of the Stabat Mater (1841) by Rossini.[4] When Sam states that the town is not big enough for the two of them, the music is a sample of Sonata Pathétique (1799) by Ludwig van Beethoven.[4] The dancing scene is set to the tune of Bugs Bunny Rides Again, and the fall of Sam down the mine shaft to the tune of Wise Guy. Both were compositions by Stalling himself.[4] When Sam rages following his fall, the music is a sample of the Götterdämmerung (1876) by Richard Wagner.[4] When the two rival exit the town, the music is a sample of Fighting Words by Stalling, while the horse chase is set to another sample of the William Tell Overture. When the two rivals agree to play cards, the music is The Loser by Stalling.[4] Part of the card playing is set to a sample of My Little Buckaroo by M.K. Jerome and Jack Scholl.[4] The victory of Bugs and the rash towards the train station is set to another sample of Cheyenne. The scene with the bathing beauties is set to the tune of Oh, You Beautiful Doll (1911) by Nat Ayer and Seymour Brown.[4] When Bugs subdues sam, the music is Miami Special by Stalling. Finally, the train leaves to the tune of Aloha ʻOe (1878) by Liliuokalani.[4]

In part, Stalling relied on the musical codes of the Western genre. Cheyenne, My Little Buckaroo, Navajo, and the William Tell Overture were already strongly associated with the genre and familiar to audiences. Their tunes already evoked images of the Old West, cowboys, and cattle through this association.[4] Der Erlkönig, the Inflamatus, and the Sonata Pathétique had no such association, but all fit the function of generic dramatic or agitated music used in genre films.[4] In contrast, the titular tune of Bugs Bunny Rides Again has nothing to do with westerns. It is styled after the music of vaudeville shows.[4] The dance style used is "soft-shoe" tap dancing, a "leisurely cadence in soft-soled shoes" which was popularized through use in vaudeville shows.[7]

Previous film references[edit]

  • The animation of Bugs rolling his cigarette before excepting Sam's invitation to face off was re-used from "Hare Trigger."
  • The animation by Gerry Chiniquy of Bugs's soft shoe seems to be partially reused from "Stage Door Cartoon."

Availability[edit]

See also[edit]

Sources[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Bugs Bunny Rides Again". www.bcdb.com, August 31, 2013
  2. ^ a b Wells (2002), p. 45-47
  3. ^ Beck, Jerry; Friedwald, Will (1989). Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies: A Complete Illustrated Guide to the Warner Bros. Cartoons. p. 186. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Goldmark (2005), p. 39-42
  5. ^ Greg Ford (filmmaker). Bugs Bunny Rides Again (commentary) (DVD). Looney Tunes Golden Collection Volume 2 (disc 1). 
  6. ^ Borowiec, Piotr (1998). Animated Short Films: A Critical Index to Theatrical Cartoons. p. 36. 
  7. ^ Lewis (2013), p. 106

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Buccaneer Bunny
Bugs Bunny Cartoons
1948
Succeeded by
Haredevil Hare
Preceded by
Along Came Daffy
Yosemite Sam cartoons
1948
Succeeded by
High Diving Hare