Haredevil Hare

Film Review by Dean Duncan May 31, 2015

Two headlines: scientists make launch announcement; heroic rabbit volunteers. In two quick shots they’ve inscribed the topical and established the satirical—very sure-handed! Cutting to Bugs and his less than enthusiastic attitude deepens all that, in addition to (re)establishing character, and giving a bit of a puncture to the whole lofty, hubristic enterprise.

The uber-rocket is beautifully designed; the crew may be making fun, but there’s a Heinlein-like ardour, even accuracy to these things. The carrots are silly, and funny. They’re loading the hold with them. Now he’ll go! Same with the tiny firecracker launch.

There’s a great G-Force gag. The disappearing earth shot is actually kind of chilling, and quite gravely beautiful. We hear Wagner’s Siegfried music, just for a second. Michael Barrier talks of the WB’s simple, effective backgrounds which, unlike Disney, don’t fight the characters.

Now we are introduced for the first time to the future Marvin the Martian. (He doesn’t actually get a name, this time around.) Bugs/Marvin makes this an arms race narrative, obviously. The Yes I will/no you won’t trick appears here, for the first time, I think. That trumpet noise is funny. One of my kids remembers it from Dough for the Do-Do. These films are powerful, both in total and for all the little things that they do!

Have you ever noticed? The Martians dress like Romans. Haredevil Hare has the same ending as Duck Dodgers in the 24 1/2 Century. It’s an arms race narrative, but not in any historical or particularly, complicatedly ideological sense. They spare us the footnotes, and go straight to outrage. Summer 1948—remarkable stuff.

P.S. You might want to look at this next to Destination Moon (q.v.), which came out not long afterward.