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The movie Fritz the Cat, an adaptation of a popular character created by underground cartoonist Robert Crumb was really successful, both commercially and critically, even though it had quite a lot of things going against it, including a first-time film director, a creator who hated the adaptation, and the fact that it was given an X rating by the MPAA (although it would be rated R today). The film's producer, Steve Krantz, decided to produce a sequel. However, since original director Ralph Bakshi wanted nothing to do with this sequel, directorial duties were given to Robert Taylor, an animator who was working on some of Bakshi's other films.
The results, as you might have gathered, might be mixed. This one doesn't have as much of a coherent storyline as the first, instead taking a kind of Anthology Film approach in which the title character is killed off in various different ways, in what is probably a reference to the comic strip, in which he was given an icepick to the back of the head by a psychotic ex-girlfriend. Whether this actually works or not can be left in the eye of the beholder, but most viewers agree that the music score by Tom Scott & The L.A. Express is pretty badass. Also, it was the first animated movie to compete in the Cannes Film Festival.
- All Just a Dream: It's implied that none of the stories actually happen, since Fritz is stoned throughout the entire movie and seems to be imagining everything that occurs.
- All Men Are Perverts
- All Women Are Lustful
- Back From the Dead: The film reverts the Crumb story "Fritz the Cat, Superstar" by having Fritz have "nine lives", resulting in a film mostly consisting of events where, someway or another, Fritz dies. (Crumb never drew another Fritz story following "Superstar".)
- Bald Black Leader Guy: The president of New Africa.
- Barbie Doll Anatomy: Fritz is drawn with this.
- Barefoot Cartoon Animals
- Canon Dis Continuity: Robert Crumb doesn't even acknowledge the existence of this movie, except in the documentary The Confessions of Robert Crumb.
Ralph Bakshi: "He didn’t bother to discuss the Nine Live of Fritz the Cat. He would have to say, 'well, Ralph did do a better picture than Nine Lives.' So to Robert Crumb, there is no Nine Lives. It doesn’t exist. The only Fritz the Cat he’s mad at is the one I did, because if he discussed Nine Lives, he’d have to say, 'well, you know, for all of my bullshitting about Ralph, Nine Lives is even worse than what he did.'"
- Cats Have Nine Lives: Obviously.
- Disney Acid Sequence: When Fritz and Chita get high.
- Everybody Has Lots of Sex
- Fantastic Racism: Crows stand in for African-Americans.
- Flaming Devil: Fritz ends up in hell. Upon encountering the devil, who seems like a cross between Big Gay Al and Vincent Price, he lets out, "Oh, Jesus Christ, Lucifer is a faggot!"
- Flipping the Bird: Fritz does this to a telephone after the operator hangs up on him. He is one of the few four-fingered characters that can do this.
- Funny Animal: The entire cast. Strangely enough, there is an entire sequence devoted to stock footage of real-life humans.
- Framing Device: Fritz smoking pot to ignore his screaming wife while neglecting their child.
- Hey, It's That Voice!: Avatar is Fritz's agent. Juan's sister, Chita, is Gloria, the female cop in Up in Smoke. (In real life, she's actually Cuban, but she's supposed to be Puerto Rican in Nine Lives.)
- A Man Is Not a Virgin: Fritz tries and succeeds at having sex with pretty much every female character in the film.
- Mature Animal Story
- Mind Screw: Nine Lives is this trope the whole way through.
- No Swastikas: Averted.
- Protagonist-Centered Morality: Fritz, a lovable cartoon cat, neglects his wife and son to smoke pot and imagines himself as a member of the Nazi party during World War II, and refers to black girls as knowing "where it's at by the time they're 11". Wait, what?
- The Pornomancer: Fritz.
- Reset Button: In 1972, in response to the politics of the animated film, Robert Crumb kills off Fritz. Two years later, Steve Krantz produces this movie.
- Schrödinger's Cat: Literally! Crumb killed Fritz off in the comics after the first movie, but this film was made nevertheless.
- Spiritual Successor: The Nine Lives of Garfield. You read that right.
- The Stoner: Fritz.
- Subverted Kids Show
- Underground Comics
- Wasted Song: AIP was going to release a soundtrack to Nine Lives but the result of it being a box office bomb made them change their minds. Although there was a record that has "Jump Back" and "TCB in E", and Tom Scott's Smoking Section album has a live version of "TCB in E".
- World of Funny Animals