Western Animation: Tortoise Wins By A Hare
Tortoise Wins By A Hare
is a 1943 Bugs Bunny
short, part of the Merrie Melodies
series, and directed by Bob Clampett
The short is a direct follow-up to "Tortoise Beats Hare", and the second of the "Bugs Bunny vs. Cecil Turtle" trilogy. It begins with Bugs watching footage from "Tortoise Beats Hare" and going berserk from his loss and the accompanying wounded ego.
In an effort to thwart him, Bugs disguises himself and discovers after a talk with Cecil that the turtle's natural streamlined shell allows Cecil greater speed. Bugs immediately constructs himself a metal shell, and challenges Cecil to a second race.
Trouble brews, however, when the local rabbit mob targets the "turtle", with Cecil disguising himself in a rabbit suit.
It can be found on Vol. 1 of the Looney Tunes Golden Collection and Volume 2 of the Platinum Collection.
- Ass in a Lion Skin: Both Bugs and Cecil do this, although Cecil tricked Bugs into doing the latter.
- Comically Missing the Point: Cecil telling Bugs that his secret is a streamlined shell is clearly made up to trick Bugs, but Bugs is way too obsessed with finding any way to beat him to realize it.
- Continuity Nod: The opening directly references the events of "Tortoise Beats Hare" by having Bugs watch the actual cartoon on a home movie projector. This is very rare for Looney Tunes, a franchise that thrives on Negative Continuity. Curiously, it overlooks the fact that Cecil blatantly cheated to win the previous race, making it seem like he won fairly—even Bugs has seemed to forgotten this, since he goes to Cecil in disguise to grill him for his secrets, but that may have been just sacrificing a few details to preserve the humor of the short.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass / Worthy Opponent: Cecil is easily the smartest foe Bugs has ever faced, being just as wily as he is, and knows how to exploit Bugs arrogance and bruised ego to bring about Bugs own defeat while remaining very laid back and levelheaded himself, as well as take advantage of the stupidity of the local rabbit mob. Near the end, we also see that he's a lot faster than he lets on.
- Deranged Animation: Some of Rod Scribner's animation of Bugs watching "Tortoise Beats Hare" in frustration.
- Downer Ending: Bugs suffers a humiliating defeat by Cecil again, and the rabbit mafia kills themselves when they find out their target was Bugs.
- Driven to Suicide: The mobsters when they discover Bugs isn't the toitle. It's almost always cut from TV airings, but is uncut on the first Golden Collection.
- Early Installment Weirdness: This was one of the first Bugs Bunny cartoons produced by Warner Brothers (the character had debuted in 1940). Besides the fact that his look isn't quite the same as the character was drawn after World War II, latter-day viewers who are used to Bugs being the hero, the trickster, and the guy who always outwits his opponents might be puzzled to see him here as the antagonist and butt of jokes. (In other words, the kind of role Daffy Duck would play a lot in later years.) It's been said though that even at this early point in Bugs' career, the writers were struggling with how not to let Bugs become a Boring Invincible Hero, thus deciding to have Bugs lose every now and again. In fact the later creation of Yosemite Sam was in part an effort to give Bugs a more threatening villain to go up against.
- Evil vs. Evil: Both Bugs and Cecil are willing to play dirty.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Cecil tricks Bugs into doing this by revealing to Bugs the "secret" of his speed (his streamlined shell) so Bugs unintentionally dresses himself up like a turtle to win the race, which draws the attention of the local rabbit mob, who are too stupid to tell the difference and gives him one heck of a beatdown.
- Hope Spot: Bugs when he sees he's just about to cross the finish line, only for the rabbit mobsters to stop him in his tracks.
- Humiliation Conga: Bugs gets this through the entire cartoon—first being reminded of how he lost the previous race, Cecil seeing through his disguise and insulting his intelligence, being tricked by Cecil into unintentionally dressing himself up like a turtle so the Rabbit mafia targets him (including beating him, firing tommy guns and even artillery shells at him) he gets his chain yanked just before crossing the finish line, and the mob hurries along Cecil (who is dressed up a lumpy rabbit suit) to the finish line, so Bugs loses again.
- Karma Houdini: Cecil gets off scot free again after indirectly tricking Bugs, while exploiting the mobs stupidity by dressing up as a rabbit in order to win the race. Granted, compared to his other two appearances, where he blatantly cheats, he merely lets Bugs' ego set himself up for failure here.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: The rabbit mafia is so deterimed for the "rabbit" (Cecil) to win the race, they go out of their way to try and kill the "toitle" (Bugs) by physically beating him, firing machine guns and even firing artillery shells at him!
- Offscreen Teleportation: Bugs hides behind a tree while Cecil runs some distance away in the background. The moment he goes off screen, however, his head peeks into the foreground to say "Time's a wastin', Speedy."
- One-Dimensional Thinking: The mob exploits this by hastily painting a road stripe into a brick wall, which veers Bugs off the road into a head-on collision, and the mob uses this chance to stall him for time.
- Oh, Crap: Cecil when he sees Bugs hot on his trail, prompting him to pick up the pace enough to briefly stay ahead of Bugs.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Bugs pulls his typical bout of this in an attempt to get information from Cecil. In a surprisingly astute move, Cecil sees right through Bugs' disguise. Of course, he was counting on Bugs to disguise himself.
- Public Domain Soundtrack: "Under the Spreading Chessnut Tree", a staple song for blacksmiths, plays when Bugs is working on his metal shell.
- Role Reversal: Meta-example, in that Cecil is clearly in the upper hand position of outsmarting his foe, something that Bugs is usually known for in his cartoons.
- Shout-Out: Bugs' line, "That ain't the way I heered it, Johnny!" is cribbed from the old Fibber McGee and Molly radio show.
- Smug Snake: Cecil has shades of this, although his insults are very passive aggressive and laid back.
- Sore Loser: Bugs, of course.
- Stock Footage: Footage from "Tortoise Beats Hare" is used in the opening, but it's for the sake of the story, and (probably) not a mere cost-cutting move.
- Sudden Anatomy: In the close-up of Cecil's shell blueprint, we see that he has fingernails!
- Suicide as Comedy: "Hitler Commits Suicide." Also, the ending. See Driven to Suicide.
- Turtle Power: Who else but Cecil?
- Villainous Breakdown: Bugs at the end.
- Villain Protagonist: Bugs is at the high point of his bouts of this trope during this short. He is positively bombastic, nasty, egotistical and foul tempered due to his bruised ego and hotheadedness, a stark contrast from the more well known cool, collected Bugs. However justified, as his foe is just as wily as he is, and isn't afraid to cheat either or play off Bugs' flaws.
- Wartime Cartoon: One of the headlines on a newspaper in the short is "Hitler Commits Suicide," predicting Der Führer's suicide two years after this short was released.
- Worst News Judgment Ever: A rabbit vs. turtle race gets billed over Adolf Hitler committing suicide?! Then again, it makes for a great Take That against Hitler.
- Yank the Dog's Chain: Bugs almost crosses the finish line, but the mob stops him and then rushes Cecil ahead to it.