Frigid Hare

Film Review by Dean Duncan May 31, 2015

Albuquerque, of course. The results of Bugs’ dive into that frozen water are extremely gratifying. This film is not especially sensitive toward this Inuit hunter, his culture or his ethnicity. “He went that-a-way, Nanook,” says Bugs, at one point. Calls him an “Eskimo pie-head,” as well.

What do we do? That was funny, as is so often the case with inappropriate humour. But it’s still inappropriate! Or, but it’s still funny!

We should almost certainly side with sensitivity, and courtesy. Let’s think about this for a second though. We discussed René Clair’s 1930s comedy The Ghost Goes West (q.v.), in which everyone is subject to the same excessively, genially satirical attitude. We talked about how that might actually be okay, providing that satire, or more pointedly caricature, isn’t the only item on offer when it comes to portraying a particular group.

Well, back in 1949 the Inuit peoples were certainly not getting a fair or balanced shake of thing. If it wasn’t outright invisibility it was Robert Flaherty’s loving and detailed but problematic portrait in Nanook of the North (also q.v.). Or this. Or nothing. So Frigid Hare needs a special introduction, and we need to be especially aware as we watch it. But we should be aware of the following too.

There’s more to this than just the representation of the Inuit, or of any other sub/culture. The whole cartoon is ridiculous! The entire medium, in fact. What about this geography, with its dumb conflation of Arctic and Antarctic? Of which everyone was quite aware, by the way. The fact is that in a comic cartoon anything goes, as it should. There might be, there ought to be lines that we don’t cross. Put colouring outside of the lines is probably pretty important, once in a while.

Given all of that, maybe we don’t take Bugs’ apparent moral outrage about hunting too terribly seriously either. Gun lobbyists and Bambi activists alike might just relax for a minute, and enjoy themselves.

The Inuit woman is one of his very best cross dressing stunts. Where on earth did that outfit come from? The fish slaps are superb, as is the idea of catching the falling foes with the freeze-as-you-watch water tossed from that bottomless bucket. Great idea, and the shot selection renders the idea so impressively! They may be sloppy about North and South, but the idea of a two year vacation because the Antarctic nights are six months long is really smart.