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File:Fritz 9827.jpg


 [in a Synagogue; referring to the Rabbis]

Ralph the Pig: They all got long hair. They all got long clothes. Must be a hippie church!

Ralph Bakshi's 1972 feature film adaptation of Robert Crumb's comic strip Fritz The Cat. Famous for being the first X-rated animation in the United States, it is an amalgamation of many plotlines from the comic into a feature film. It was more overt in its political and social commentary than the comics, which were largely light entertainment.

The movie follows Fritz as he roams New York (and later takes a roadtrip to San Francisco) in The Sixties, ostensibly looking for a cause to join in. Over the course of the movie he spends time hanging out with stoners, talking to black people (represented by crows) in Harlem where he meets Duke, very briefly meeting with some Rabbis, going on a road trip with his girlfriend Winston, and ultimately meeting with extremists who blow up a power plant. Unsurprisingly, he spends most of the movie running from the police (represented as, of course, pigs). Of course, his goal of finding himself always seems to take a back seat to more immediate gratification in the form of carnal pleasures or good ol' fashion weed.

Though he had directed several TV shows previously, this was Bakshi's directorial debut for a full-length film. After coming across a Fritz comic in a Manhattan book store, Bakshi went straight to author R. Crumb to ask for the rights to turn the comic into a movie. Although Crumb gave Bakshi a sketchbook of his to help him learn to draw Fritz, he was highly doubtful of the film's potential for success, and never agreed to sign over the rights to green-light the film. Producer Steve Krantz, however, struck a deal with Crumb's wife, allowing the film to begin production; Crumb was paid $50,000 for the film rights.

The movie harshly criticizes the hippie lifestyle and leftist views in general. When the movie finally premiered Robert Crumb expressed dismay over Bakshi's political choices in the film, calling the final part of the film "fascist." Crumb also found the rampant sexual themes of the movie to be offputting - saying of Bakshi, "It's like real repressed horniness; he's kind of letting it out compulsively." Which is a little bit odd, given that such things are ubiquitous in Crumb's work. Just read any of it.

Because of this film's politics, Crumb killed off the character in the comic "Fritz the Cat, Superstar". Later, Steve Krantz produced a sequel, The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat, released in 1974, which largely consists of scenarios in which Fritz repeatedly dies.


Tropes:

  • Accidental Murder: In a surprisingly sudden and sad turn of events, Duke is shot by a stray bullet while attempting to keep Fritz safe from the gunfire. However, he appears as a ghost playing pool in the sequel.
  • A Man Is Not a Virgin: Fritz tries and often succeeds at having sex with every female character in the film.
  • All Jews Are Ashkenazi: Subverted at the beginning, when one of the girls in the park mentions she is Jewish and doesn't look at all stereotypical, but played very straight in the Synagogue where all the Rabbis even look identical.
  • All Men Are Perverts
  • All Women Are Lustful
  • Ambiguously Jewish: Winston Schwartz.
  • Author Appeal
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy: Averted. When one of the pig cops is thrown through a church window (somehow lacking his pants and undergarments) you can clearly see his junk.
    • Until he takes his shirt and coat off, Fritz is usually drawn with this.
  • Barefoot Cartoon Animals
  • Camp Gay: The first crow to appear in the film.
  • Carnivore Confusion: Winston and Fritz eat beef at a Howard Johnson's.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: Both films contain one, though the second film uses it to show one of the ways Fritz dies.
  • Everybody Has Lots of Sex
  • Fantastic Racism: Somewhat. Crows stand in for black people in the movie, however the terms "crow" and "black/negro/colored" are used completely interchangeably.
  • Follow the Leader: The film did so well, it made other studios to make cartoons for adults at the time. Even though most of them tried to copy Fritz.
  • Furry Denial: Ralph Bakshi's reasoning for why the anthropomorphic characters in this film never act like animals is that it would ruin what he was trying to create, which was a more realistic and mature form of animation. This is specifically the reason why the scene where Duke the Crow saves Fritz was changed from R. Crumb's comic; Crumb had Duke flying Fritz away from a car crash, whereas he grabs a railing in the film. Bakshi admits that he wasn't entirely satisfied with the solution, but it kept him from using any "animal" behavior to further the plot.
  • Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Pretty much everyone.
  • Interspecies Romance: Fritz's girlfriend, Winston Schwartz, is a dog.
  • Intellectual Animal
  • Mature Animal Story
  • One Steve Limit: Averted with two entirely different female companions of Fritz both named Winston. The first is a fox who engages in the orgies at the beginning and the end. The other, a dog named Winston Schwartz, goes on a road trip on Fritz but breaks up with him out of annoyance.
  • Playing Against Type: Fritz is voiced by Skip Hinnant, who at the same time was a cast member of The Electric Company.
  • Police Are Useless: Oh so much.

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