The Bugs Bunny Film Festival: Fest Of The Best

Two amiable but far from definitive programs of Warner Brothers cartoons, tagged respectively Fest of the Best and Taz Gone Looney and containing 15 cartoons each. It seems criminal to include only one item by Tex Avery (A Wild Hare, 1940), the virtual inventor of Bugs Bunny, and nothing at all by Frank Tashlin, and it’s certainly regrettable to have none of Greg Ford’s recent witty and critical addenda to the canon. One can similarly question the decision to highlight the least interesting creature in the Warners menagerie, the Tasmanian Devil (the animated equivalent of Sylvester Stallone) over Foghorn Leghorn (a character worthy of Preston Sturges) and the Road Runner (Chuck Jones’s greatest conceptual principle), who are accorded only one cartoon apiece. But there are still plenty of classics here, especially Jones’s Duck Amuck, What’s Opera, Doc?, and One Froggy Evening, not to mention the latter’s belated sequel (receiving its Chicago premiere), two Oscar winners, and the first appearances of Bugs Bunny, Tweety Pie, the Road Runner, and even Pete Puma (who never appeared again). If you’re over ten, I’d recommend not seeing the two programs consecutively, and if you have to opt for just one, I’d suggest Fest of the Best, which includes the Avery, ten Chuck Jones items, three by Friz Freleng, and one by Bob Clampett. (JR)

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