Friday, July 25, 2008

Yosemite Sam Goes to Hell, Part 4

It's sad when one of the greatest animation directors of all time (I'd venture to say THE greatest) comes up with a real stinkeroo of a cartoon. But that's what happened when Chuck Jones directed "From Hare to Eternity" in 1997. Jones' new series of Warner Bros. cartoons, produced by "Chuck Jones Film Productions", were never given their due, thanks to Warner distributing them in limited theatrical release with some of the worst movies ever produced. Some of them went straight to video, like this one. "Chariots of Fur", the first of the CJFP shorts , is a certifiable masterpiece, but "From Hare To Eternity" is like watching paint dry. It's like watching the ghosts of Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam trying in vain to get a laugh, and falling flat on their faces. Greg Burson's Bugs Bunny is passable, but not great, and Frank Gorshin's Yosemite Sam sounds nothing like Yosemite Sam at all. On the bright side, the music and animation are beautiful, but the cartoon is frustratingly unfunny. But who was going to tell Chuck Jones his cartoon was lousy? Friz Freleng might have, if he'd been alive to see it.

12 comments:

Speedy Boris said...

This is my first time seeing this. Is it just me, or does the animation style not look like Chuck Jones at all? At least we know how a Yosemite Sam cartoon by Jones would turn out... perhaps it was better left to Freleng, and this is coming from a Jones fan.

And not to trample on Gorshin's grave, but I'll never understand why WB used him for a few shorts in the mid '90s. I hated his Daffy, and his Foghorn and Sam weren't much better.

JBWarner86 said...

It wasn't as stiflingly bad as I remember it being, although the H.M.S. Pinafore and "One Froggy Evening" references seem kinda gratuitous. You're right about the animation being really good, even if not all of the gags connect. And Frank Gorshin's Sam is pretty lame, but Greg Burson's Bugs is, as usual, very impressive.

The Jerk said...

yeah, yosemite sounds more like a cross between Chuck Jones and Rowlf the dog.

ramapith said...

Yow. I *like* Gilbert and Sullivan schtick, but thought it was misplaced here... anyway, at the painfully slow speed it was executed.
Good thing Jones never made a real Sam cartoon earlier; as per usual, he gives him Elmer's proportions, with a body that's just too big compared to his head.
It's generally unworthy of my time to consider Bugs' sexual preferences, but here he simply comes across as stereotypically gay, which is just wrong.

Mike Russo said...

Burson has a pretty good singing voice for Bugs, and the animation isn't bad at all, but the rest of the cartoon is just horrible.

We get it Chuck. You made "One Froggy Evening". No need to beat us over the head with it.

Nic Kramer said...

Shame that it didn't work out. At least the animation was good.

Thad said...

The animation of Sam running to smooch Bugs/'Buttercup' has beautiful use of drag and follow-through, but fundamentally, it's wrong. Sam is a stiff, short character whose body would never allow such grace. Compare it to Virgil Ross's Sam run in High Diving Hare to see it done right.

Frank Gorshin was an amazing talent, but he's wasted here. The scenics are really horrible too. Like something lifted out of Taz-Mania.

This cartoon is made of fail.

madcap'd said...

I don't think it's so bad. My main complaints are Yosemite Sam's voice and the fact that Bugs doesn't appear until 3:00 minutes in. (What's that about?)

Martin Juneau said...

I know this cartoon since 8 years but just watching the original version for the first time confused me the voice acting talents of the characters. The're just lame and unfunny at all and i think the best part is the animations, usually very good but it's just a waste in the original version than the dubbed. (The french coyp i had is excellent, one of the rare moments i can say "It's better dubbed than in the original!")

jbwarner86 said...

"...and the fact that Bugs doesn't appear until 3:00 minutes in. (What's that about?)"

Well, this cartoon was meant as Chuck Jones' tribute to Friz Freleng, and Sam was the character that Friz was closest to, which I guess is why he's the main focus of much of the film. It seems that this is really supposed to be a Yosemite Sam cartoon first and a Bugs Bunny cartoon second.

J.E.Daniels said...

I have this VHS! I was excited that Warners was actually releasing the Chuck Jones Production shorts to home video, but a lot of them(plus this one) weren't very good.
I read somewhere that CJ Productions was actually developed to train young, new talent in animation. A lot of great stuff in these shorts, but the voice actors and gags tend to fall short.
Chariots of Fur, Robocat and Pudgy Parakeet were the best produced at Chuck's studio in my opinion.

Glowworm said...

I've never seen this cartoon before-and now I can see why. Ever since Mel Blac passed away no one could ever get Yosemite's voice quite right. Maurice Lamarche does a rather decent Sam-but it still isn't great and that's saying a lot. The animation is beautiful and Greg Burson does a very good Bugs-but Frank Gorshin fails at being Sam-he does indeed sound like Jim Henson's Rolf.

The only gag that *sort of* works is the beginning with the hillarious chorus arguing with Sam about being seasick. I also loved the "Buttercup" animation. Other than that-it doesn't work very well and I could see the ending a mile away!

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