Monday, January 28, 2008

Fritz the Cat


Fritz the Cat has been one of my very favorite movies for years. It's got so many pluses that make it worth watching again and again. It's got fascinating animation which is beyond cartoonish in its intermittent psychedelic sequences. It's got a great soundtrack. It's got a great story that is both comedic and moralistic (sort of), especially for a film that actually became the first animated motion picture to receive an X rating. Therefore, like most of the content on Cultarama, it really shouldn't be shown to kids, even if it is animated. It also received the honor of becoming the first independent film to gross over a million dollars. The character of Fritz the Cat was actually a character created by Robert Crumb who's "Keep on Truckin'" logo became part of the 60's. In fact the entire movie really captures the feel of the late 60's which is when it was being made, despite a 1972 release. Robert Crumb never gave the producers of the movie any rights or permissions to use his characters and actually sued to have his name removed from the credits. Crumb even went so far as to kill off Fritz the Cat in his comics so as to discourage another film. It didn't work, a sequel named "The Nine Live of Fritz the Cat" was released the following year. The story takes us through Fritz's adventures as he strolls through the major themes of the late 60's... orgies, drugs, religion, music, activism, etc. Even though it's rated X doesn't mean it's a porno, and especially by today's standards, far from it. It's just a great adventure story told by one of the most suave cool cats you'll ever meet. Plus a myriad of other colorful characters. All animals of course, but appropriate animals (cops are pigs, black people are crows, shady activists are lizards, Jews are old lions, the list goes on and on). This is a true classic and doesn't just deserve to be watched, it demands to be owned. It just made it to DVD so you have no excuse not to go out and get your copy!! An interesting side note to this movie is towards the end of the film when the activists are plotting to "make a statement" (blowing something up, I think). The makers of the movie invited real militants and activists into the recording studio and just recorded whatever they talked about. This actual dialogue recording was edited and used as the dialogue of the shady activists in the movie.

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