Bugs Bunny wasn’t exactly wild in “A Wild Hare” but his personality is fully-formed in the cartoon and set the pattern for all that followed.
Bugs got awfully chatty in the 1950s—no doubt because writers like Warren Foster and Mike Maltese could come up with clever dialogue—but in this cartoon, Bugs doesn’t speak for a good couple of minutes as director Tex Avery lets subtle movement drive the humour.
A good example is at the opening of the cartoon where Bugs’ fingers behave like humans in swiping Elmer Fudd’s carrot bait and then discover his hunting rifle. The next sequence has no dialogue, either, as the unseen Bugs and Elmer play tug-of-war with the gun. Bugs lets go of the gun. Notice how Elmer almost tumbles over backward, losing his balance. Warners animation had come a long way since Buddy five years earlier.
Elmer realises his gun has been tied up in a bow. The take isn’t as crazy as Avery’s bug-eyed wolf at MGM a couple of years later, but it’s still effective.
You can see the annoyance in Elmer.
He tosses away the gun and it’s on to the next gag.
Virgil Ross, Sid Sutherland and Bob McKimson are among the animators in this great cartoon; Ross was the only one to get screen credit.