SUMMARY: The Duck Season/Rabbit Season battle begins in the first of Chuck Jones’s beloved Hunting Trilogy.
WHY IT’S HERE:The first entry in Chuck Jones’s celebrated hunting trilogy, ‘Rabbit Fire’ opens with the familiar declaration “Be vewy, vewy quiet, I’m hunting wabbits”. So begins the famous battle between Bugs and Daffy over whether its Rabbit Season or Duck Season. While the following cartoon ‘Rabbit Seasoning’ boasts a better script on paper, ‘Rabbit Fire’ is probably more gut-bustingly hilarious. Jones’s direction is typically impeccable, which proves most crucial in the early scenes in which Bugs tricks Daffy into admitting it’s Duck Season by changing his argumentative “DUCK SEASON” TO “WABBIT SEASON”, thereby coaxing Daffy into also changing and setting himself up for a beak-altering shooting. It’s an old gag given new life by Jones’s fast pacing and Mel Blanc’s hysterical voice characterization (“DUCK SEASON, FIRE!!!”). Blanc excels himself here, especially in a jaw-dropping scene in which he voices Daffy attempting to imitate Bugs and vice versa. It’s a flawless example of why Blanc is such an irreplacable actor
The ultimately anti-hunting subtext of the hunting trilogy is clear in Elmer’s revelatory confession “I’m a vegetarian, I just hunt for the sport of it”. It makes it all the more satisfying, then, when it is Elmer who gets a comeuppance at the climax rather than Daffy. ‘Rabbit Fire’ is a wonderful cartoon that proved so popular it spawned a classic trilogy.