Roman Legion Hare
Director Friz Freleng
Music director Milt Franklyn
Genre Animation, Family, Short
Film series Looney Tunes
Producer Edward Selzer
|Cast Mel Blanc|
Writer Warren Foster (story)
Release date November 12, 1955
Similar movies Looney Tunes movies, Related Friz Freleng movies
Roman Legion-Hare is a Looney Tunes animated short released in 1955. The title is a play on the words Roman Legionnaire. After being ordered by Emperor Nero to find a victim to be tossed to the lions, Yosemite Sam tries to capture Bugs Bunny.
The setting is Rome, 54 A. D.; the camera pans past a billboard announcing "Another Appian Freeway for Your Safety (Slow Chariots Keep Right)" before settling on an exterior view of the Coliseum. As spectators file into the Coliseum, their shadows fall on a poster describing the day's sporting event:"Detroit Lions in Season Opener — Undefeated Lions out for First Taste of Victory"
The sign is a reference to the NFL team with the same name, which was a league powerhouse at the time. The NFL Lions had appeared in the league championship game in the three seasons prior to the short being released, winning the title in 1952 and 1953.
A radio-style sportscaster describes the scene for his audience and the entrance of Emperor Nero into the arena (in a chariot with tail fins from a 1950s Cadillac). Nero is represented as a caricature of actor Charles Laughton who had played the character in The Sign of the Cross in 1932.
The announcer reports that Nero has "consented to throw out the first victim". When it turns out they are all out of victims, Nero commands Captain of the Praetorian Guard Sam to take his legion out to get one right away (informing Sam that if he fails to provide a victim for the lions, Sam will be the victim).
Along the way, Sam and the legion (which looks more like a squad) cross paths with Bugs Bunny who is looking at them expecting a parade. Sam sends his troops after Bugs but he trips them with his foot.
Sam then chases after Bugs in a chariot where he once again is a victim of the "giddyap! horse/whoa! horse" routine.
Through the rest of the picture, Sam and Bugs are running through the labyrinth of the Coliseum where the lions seem to be lurking behind every other door. Sam ends up near a lion's cage and hits it on the head as Bugs opens the cage causing the lion to attack Sam. Sam goes through a door and locks it only for the lion to grab the rug underneath him and pull him in to attack him. Yosemite then chases Bugs into a large underground room, full of sleeping lions. Sam unknowingly follows him in and sees Bugs sneaking toward the ladder. Bugs gets out and lowers an alarm clock on a rope through a grate into the room, which wakes the lions who attack Sam as he escapes. He then nears a pit of lions with Bugs at the other side ("How now, brown cow?"). As Sam makes his way across with stilts ("No long-eared galoot can outfox the Captain of the Guards!"), Bugs gives the lions some axes and saws which they use to cut the stilts down and attack Sam as he tries to get back to the other side.
Bugs finally escapes but accidentally gets himself in the middle of the arena. Sam victoriously joins Nero in his box as the lions are released. The lions run by Bugs (who quickly protects himself) and straight to Sam and Nero who take refuge atop a tall column. Bugs puts on a Roman crown and says: "Well, as the Romans say, E Pluribus Uranium". As the enraged lions slowly chop down the column piece by piece, Nero plays "Taps" on his fiddle as he and Sam await their fate, with the cartoon fading to black.
Parts of this film were re-used in the Friz Freleng short film Devil's Feud Cake in 1963.
In The Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries episode "Yelp", each scene is an homage to the short. (e.g. Sylvester sprays a caged dog with water and does it again after Tweety opens the cage)
Roman Legion Hare was released on the Bugs Bunny's Wacky Adventures VHS as part of the Golden Jubilee 24 Carrot Collection video set. The short is also part of the Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume 4 DVD set.
ReferencesRoman Legion-Hare Wikipedia
Roman Legion-Hare LetterboxdRoman Legion-Hare themoviedb.org Roman Legion Hare IMDb