The Rabbit of Seville

Chris Higgins
Vimeo / TravisD
Vimeo / TravisD / Vimeo / TravisD

It's Sunday, it's springtime — why not enjoy a classic cartoon with me?

The Rabbit of Seville was released in December of 1950, and went on to become one of the best-loved cartoons of all time (it was voted twelfth of the top 50 in a 1994 poll). Director Chuck Jones and writer Michael Maltese draw on Rossini's opera The Barber of Seville for inspiration, playing six minutes of Rossini's opera while Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd do battle onstage at the Hollywood Bowl, occasionally even singing along. It's a classic Bugs-and-Elmer routine, complete with Bugs dressing up as a lady (how did that ever work?!), lots of cartoon violence, and jokes galore.

While you watch, note the number of fingers Bugs Bunny has. He's traditionally drawn with three fingers and a thumb on each hand, but in one shot at 6:17 (where he's "playing piano" on Elmer's head), Bugs suddenly has full human hands.

This wasn't the only time Chuck Jones worked with opera in a Bugs Bunny cartoon. Read D.B. Grady's Chuck Jones retrobituary for a snippet on Jones's use of Wagner in the classic What's Opera, Doc?