The Old Grey Hare (1944)

  |  Animation, Short, Comedy

The Old Grey Hare (1944) Poster

Elmer Fudd is taken far into the future (past 1990) and Bugs thinks back to when they first met as little babies.

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8 August 2000 | the red duchess
| Time regained.
Amazing, Proustian Bugs Bunny, shot through with a twisted pathos. The film opens with the melancholy sight of a bawling Elmer Fudd, exasperated, as many men become, at the repetitive futility of his life. His needs are simple, he just wants to kill one rabbit; get that, if I may carelessly mix my metaphors, bugbear out of the way, and he can get on with his life. This is the eternal dilemma of the human race, the hopeless pursuit of that one object, which, if fulfilled, would bring ultimate content. It is an anxiety that is properly metaphysical, and, sure enough, God intrudes to comfort a despairing Elmer.

God takes him to the future. The brilliant thing about this future is that it is this year, 2000. We can literally connect with an ancient cartoon! So the millenarians are right - Bugs will finally get his reckoning. Once the object of desire has been achieved, the world can only end - what else is there? Latterday Elmer is a wrinkly crone, wheezing and whinging rather sympathetically, as he fondles the Buck Rogers zapper that will finally do in his prey.

Bugs himself, of course, has aged too, and a Bugs without mental and physical agility is no Bugs at all. He can't even say 'What's up doc?' He tries the old moves, but is full of arthritic creaks and is easily nabbed. The law of all Looney Toons, from Roadrunner to Tweetie, is irrevocably destroyed, the elusive prey is felled, the forces of might are right.

The lachrymose outcome of this scenario floods the screen, as Elmer and Bugs tragically realise that they are both of the same entity, maybe even the same person - one can't live without the other. In a lovely sequence, Bugs harks back to their youth which initiated the endless circle of chasing and taunting, never quite reaching consummation.

This is a lovely short with an explosive, subversive twist. If director Clampett never reaches the artsitic wonder of Chuck Jones' 'Hair Raising Hare', he has excellent pacing, and his futurising the old Western landscapes is a hoot.

Critic Reviews


Release Date:

28 October 1944



Country of Origin


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