Fritz the Cat (1972)

“Heeey everyone.”

“Heeey everyone.”

“Oh look guys, it’s Spouse of Mouse!”

“Oh look guys, it’s Spouse of Mouse!”

250px-Operation_Upshot-Knothole_-_Badger_001

“Heeey everyone. I was just hoping we could have a little chat before Mouse starts the review. Just us.”

“Heeey everyone. I was just hoping we could have a little chat before Mouse starts the review. Just us.”

“I know you all think it’s really funny that you got Mouse to review Fritz the Cat. I’m sure you’re all having a big laugh. “Ha” you might say, and also “Ha.”

“I know you all think it’s really funny that you got Mouse to review Fritz the Cat. I’m sure you’re all having a big laugh. “Ha” you might say, and also “Ha.”

“But here’s the thing. This movie messed him up so badly that I don’t know if he’ll ever recover. And I’m a simple mouse who lives by a simple rule. You hurt the ones I love?”

“But here’s the thing. This movie messed him up so badly that I don’t know if he’ll ever recover. And I’m a simple mouse who lives by a simple rule: You hurt the ones I love?”

"I WILL FUCK YOUR FUCKING SHIT RIGHT THE FUCK UP."

“I WILL FUCK YOUR FUCKING SHIT RIGHT THE FUCK UP. IF YOU EVER PULL ANYTHING LIKE THAT AGAIN I WILL TRACK YOU DOWN THERE IS NOWHERE YOU CAN HIDE. PAIN? I WILL MAKE YOU LONG FOR SOMETHING AS SWEET AS PAIN.”

“’Kay? Enjoy the review.”

“’Kay? Enjoy the review.”

***

 Do you know what it’s like to review Fritz the Cat? To sit in the dark watching that cat fuck everything that moves, to feel your brain slowly coming apart from the constant assault of surreal, messed up, toked out, crazy shit? No. You don’t. Because you’ve never been out there, man. Out in the real deep shit. This movie man. You don’t know, man. It’s like, you think you have a handle on things, man, like life and art and truth and beauty man like they’re all just packaged and sold in these neat little Styrofoam boxes, man, and then this movie comes along and it’s like, you know man? Like, what does it all mean, man? I…I…I shouldn’t be doing this man, I should be a pair of ragged claws scuttling across floors of silent seas, man…
“Mouse, relax. You’re going crazy over there, man.”

“Mouse, relax. You’re going crazy over there, man.”

"YOU WERENT THERE MAN!"

“YOU WEREN’T THERE, MAN!”

 Sorry. Sorry. I’m alright. Okay. Let’s do this.
For as long as there have been comics there have been “underground” comics, the kind of comics that aren’t read in a newspaper at the breakfast table on a lazy Sunday morning but are more usually read at night. Under the covers. With a flashlight.
Jerkin’ it.
Pornographic comic books or “Tijuana Bibles” were especially popular in the Great Depression and usually featured well known comic book characters or public figures engaging in what scripture calls “the hard fuckin’”. No one was safe. Popeye, Betty Boop, Superman you name it, someone drew them doin’ it.
Trust me, just be glad it’s Minnie and not Pluto.

Trust me, just be glad it’s Minnie and not Pluto.

By the 1960s the underground comics (or “comix”) scene had merged with the broader counter culture movement. In contrast to mainstream comics which had to abide by the Comics Code Authority, comix were uncensored and didn’t abide by jack shit. These books were absolutely steeped in sixties drug and music culture, often politically radical and transgressive and extreme in their depictions of sex and violence. They also, it must be said, frequently had a streak of misogyny a mile wide. But at its best, the comix scene produced some of the finest American sequential art of the twentieth century (Art Spiegelman, for example, honed his craft in indie magazines in the seventies).
The one creator who is probably more associated with the comix scene than any other is Robert Crumb and his most famous creation is almost certainly Fritz the Cat, an anthropomorphised cat who’s kinda like Felix crossed with Roosh V. The Fritz strips first appeared in the magazine Help! where the editors famously responded to his submission with a letter saying; “Dear R. Crumb, we think the little pussycat drawings you sent us were just great. Question is, how do we print them without going to jail?” The comic became a genuine breakout hit and was read by many a long-haired hippie degenerate, one of whom was our old friend Ralph Bakshi.
Bakshi had set up his own animation studio and was looking to create animation for adults. He came across one of Crumb’s books and bought the rights to the strip. Warner Bros originally were going to fund it but then they saw Bakshi’s early shoots.
Vapors
Instead, the movie ended up being funded by Cinemation Industries, purveyor of such highbrow classics as The Black Godfather, Sweet Sweetback’s Badasssss Song and The Eighteen Year Old Cheerleaders.
It’s important to remember that there was a weird period from the late sixties to around the mid-eighties where porn was pretty much mainstream, and you could just go to the cinema and watch a big budget porno made and financed by a large studio as opposed to some dude with a camera and a couch. Fritz the Cat is very much a part of that. It’s not solely a porno but it’s got relatives who are pornos if you catch me. So before we get into this review please take note that this is a movie with sex and nudity, pretty grotesque ethnic caricatures, frequent homophobic and racial slurs and some generally fucked up shit.
What I’m trying to say is…
“This review ain’t NSFW for nothin’ baby.”

“This review ain’t NSFW for nothin’ baby.”

Ad 3

So the movie begins with a caption solemnly telling us that this is “The 1960’s” which I find really interesting. I mean, this thing only came out in 1972 and “The Sixties” are already a thing. Can you imagine a movie coming out in 2002 with a caption telling us that it takes place in “The Nineties”? The decade had already become this legendary era three short years after it ended.  A narrator tells us that the sixties were “a happy time, a heavy time.”

The sixties

An axe age, a sword age, a wind age, a wolf age… Wait, that’s Ragnarok.

 In Central Park, Fritz (Skip Hinnant) and two of his friends play protest songs in Central Park to try and attract the attention of three college girls (Christ, I HOPE they’re college girls ). So if you read my review of Bakshi’s Lord of the Rings you’ll remember I lambasted the animation pretty hard (the only reviews that I ever gave a lower animation score to were Captain Planet and Foodfight!). And the animation here is, objectively, not very good. But, hand on my heart, I can’t say that I hate it and to explain why I need you to look at this.

 

The-Lorax-movie-image

 

Look at that. Look how GORGEOUS that is. Look at the vibrancy of the colours, the perfection of the textures…my God you could reach out and touch the tufts of those damn Truffula Trees. And you know what? It looks even better animated. The characters move with a smoothness that the Walt Disney animators of decades past could only dream about, and they will never, ever, go off-model. And all this despite the fact that the movie is a soulless, worthless, utterly cynical cashgrab. Computer animation has gotten to the point where anyone with enough money can create animation that is close to technically perfect and make it look effortless. The animation in Fritz the Cat does not look effortless. In fact it looks downright effortful (yes, it’s a word. I checked). It’s grungey, ugly, sloppy and angry. But damned if that doesn’t work for this movie, or at least it works a million times better than it did for Lord of the Rings. And I guess, in this era of effortlessly beautiful, utterly empty CGI behemoths, it’s kinda charming to find an animated movie that looks like it’s actually trying.  Anyway, the three college chicks (a dog, a cat and a fox named Winston) pay no attention to Fritz and start hitting on a nearby crow. In this movie, crows are black people (I know, I know) and the girls try hitting on the dude with lines like “The time for peaceful revolution has passed!” “I’m taking African American studies in school, I had no idea you people were so civilised!” and “I had a black girlfriend once who said that Jewish  people are the closest to black people. I’m Jewish.” Finally, after silently ignoring them the crow flamboyantly declares “I ain’t no jive ass black nigga honey!” and sashays off.

 the-angry-mob

No, not now. We’ll deal with the racism later. You can’t have racism until you’ve eaten your misogyny. Moving on. So Fritz swoops in and presents himself to the girls as a troubled philosopher on a quest for higher meaning and enlightenment. This, amazingly, works.

Chicks

Chicks dig troubled philosophers on a quest for higher meaning and enlightenment. Everyone knows chicks dig troubled philosophers on a quest for higher meaning and enlightenment.

 He takes them to a party where some friends of his are smoking weed, listening to rock music and disrespecting the American flag and takes them into the bathroom. After bamboozling them with some New-Agey sounding bullshit he then has sex with all three of them. You know, I read an interview with Bakshi where he claimed that there’s nothing in Fritz the Cat that you wouldn’t see in The Simpsons nowadays but…um…I admit I haven’t seen a lot of the new seasons but I’m pretty sure that’s not the case. For example, I’m pretty sure the Simpsons has never shown full frontal nudity. Hell, I don’t think they’ve ever even shown boobs.

Homer boobs don't count.

Homer boobs don’t count.

Outside, two pig cops named Ralph and Rob hear the noise from the party and decide to raid the building. Ralph and Rob (named after Ralph Bakshi and Robert Crumb) are two of my least favourite characters in this thing. You see, the animation quality in this goes up and down depending on which character is being animated. For some reason the pigs get the worst of it. Also, goddamn but these character designs are ugly and I don’t mean in a good way, I mean they just look downright amateurish.

Pigs

Also, it really bugs me that they’re completely indistinguishable visually. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind it when two characters are identical as long as that’s the joke. But these two actually have different personalities (albeit, both stupid) and are supposed to be distinct characters. So it would be nice if I could actually tell which one’s Ralph and which one’s Rob. All I do know is that one of them is voiced by Ralph Bakshi but it’s not the one called Ralph because I suppose that would be too easy.

Meanwhile, in the bathroom, some of the other party animals have crashed Fritz’s orgy and they’ve all just merged into a…big…pink…blob…

Pink blob

tetsuo-mutates

Are we horny yet?

 Anyway, the cops burst into the bathroom and one of the partiers, a rabbit, whips out his cock and pisses all over Rob (Ralph?) who responds by beating up the entire orgy.

See this, man? This was the sixties.

See this, man? THIS was the sixties.

 Fritz however, comes floating in absolutely high off his ass and takes Rob’s (Ralph’s?) gun and shoots the toilet which causes a huge flood of water to wash Fritz, the cops and all the orgy critters out into the street. Fritz runs into an Orthodox synagogue to hide. In the synagogue, a load of Jewish lions are reading from the Torah. Bakshi actually recorded members of his own family and animated over their conversations. He actually does this several times in the movie, taking recordings from regular New Yorkers and animating them kinda like what Nick Park did years later with Creature Comforts. I gotta say, it’s really fascinating to listen to these voices of ordinary people from forty years ago just talking about random things. Incidentally, this scene was the last piece of animation done by Ted Bonnickson, a legendary short animator who worked on the Looney Tunes shorts and before that worked for Disney in the forties.

The cops chase Fritz into the ladies toilet and then come out again along with a lioness with her tits hanging out which is entirely justified artistically. Aaaand then the radio comes on and announces that the US is sending more weapons an ammunition to aid Israel in the Arab-Israeli based on “the return of New York city and Los Angeles to the United States” . And then all the lions yell “Mazel Tov!” and start dancing and I, I, I, I, I officially don’t even…is this racist? ‘Cos it feels really racist. Anyway, Fritz escapes because Ralph and Rob get into a fight because Ralph joined in with the dancing and Rob is angry about that because Ralph’s not Jewish and Rob is. Or maybe it’s the other way around. These two are like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Also, I’m pretty sure having a pig who’s Jewish is really offensive. But Bakshi’s Jewish so maybe he’s allowed? I don’t know the rules. What do I do? Can someone please SEND HELP?!

"I just wanted to review movies man. I never trained for this."

“I just wanted to review movies man. I never trained for this.”

Fritz runs back to his dorm in NYU and tries to strike up a conversation with his roomates but they’re too strung out on benzedrine while studying to even acknowledge his existence. Fritz monologues about students studying their lives away while all around them there’s a world of experiences to explore, which Fritz visualises as a gigantic tunnel of boobs.

Boob tube. Ba-dum tish.

Boob tube. Ba-dum tish.

He gets  so mad that he literally breathes fire and burns all his books and notes. And the entire university. Just go with it. He goes to a crow bar…

Nope.

Nope.

Well done. You always get there in the end.

Well done. You always get there in the end.

 Again, for this scene Bakshi brought real black New Yorkers back to the studio and recorded them talking about their lives and their political views and just animated over it and it almost serves as a kind of oral history if you can get over the fact that he made them crows. Okay, to be fair, the “black people as crows” thing was in the original comic but still.

simpsons-awkward-collar-pull-o

Fritz gets talking to Duke (John McCurry), a local at the bar, and tells him that he wishes that he was a crow. Duke angrily tells him  that he doesn’t know what the fuck he’s talking about and Fritz says that racism affects him very deeply because he has a huge “guilt complex”.

Alice Facepalm

Duke nonetheless takes a liking to Fritz after he inadvertantly helps him win his pool game and offers to buy him a drink. But they have to leave the bar quickly after Fritz, the enlightened liberal that he is, calls the bartender “boy”. Once outside they decide to rob a car and almost run over Ralph (Rob?) who’s been reassigned to Harlem and is nervous about all the “coloreds” and oh godammit Bakshi! You can’t switch between calling them “crows” and using actual terms for black people that’d be like if Animal Farm was all…

"Man I hate those pigs!" "I know! Lousy commies."

“Man I hate those pigs!”
“I know! Lousy commies.”

Can you please have a little consistency in your metaphors?

"No way man! Thats RULES!"

“No way man! That’s RULES!”

Race is a major theme in Bakshi’s work. When his family emigrated to the US from Palestine, the Bakshis ended up living in Foggy Bottom, Washington DC, which was an all-black neighbourhood at the time. He attended a local school as the only white student before the police intervened as segregation was still in effect.  It’s no coincidence therefore that Fritz the Cat absolutely seethes with anger against black oppression, racism, police brutality and white liberals who think that the worst thing about racism is how it makes them feel guilty. It all culminates in a scene where an army of cops (represented as pigs) invade Harlem with tanks, massacring the residents in brutally gory detail before napalming the entire block while in the white suburbs Micky Mouse, Daisy and Donald wave an American flag and cheer on the attackers.

Bullshit, by the way. Mickey does his own killing.

Bullshit, by the way. Mickey does his own killing.

I mean, holy shit, right? That’s some pretty incendiary stuff. And credit the man this, he’s got something to say and he’s not afraid to say it. Which makes it all the more difficult to square with the fact that this movie is racist as a Klansman’s balls.
I mean take this scene where Duke takes Fritz to a party where he meets Bertha, a crow who proceeds to pull marijuana joints out of her vajayjay, gets high with Fritz and then dances around dressed like a hottentot while African tribal drums play in the background and then turns Fritz down for sex because she sees him naked and decides that he’s “not black enough”. I mean…the fuck?
“It’s satire, man!”

“It’s satire, man!”

“THAT’S NOT HOW SATIRE WORKS, MAN!”

“THAT’S NOT HOW SATIRE WORKS, MAN!”

I mean, Bakshi is often presented by his fans as an anti-Walt Disney, a progressive radical standing in stark contrast to Walt’s supposed conservatism and racism but c’mon people!
The crows from Dumbo cannot BELIEVE THIS SHIT.

The crows from Dumbo cannot BELIEVE THIS SHIT.

One of these is clearly worse than the other and it’s not the one from the frickin’ forties.
Anyway, not content with ripping of the racism in Dumbo, Bakshi also tries to one up that movie’s trippy surrealism as Bertha and Fritz get high and go straight to say it with me all together now…
BAHIA!

BAHIA!

She then decides that Fritz is black enough after all and they have sex. Fritz then runs out into Harlem and stands on a car and starts yelling at the crowd to rise up and overthrow capitalism. Huh. Apparently having sex with a crow turns you communist. Who knew?

"Da, once you go black, you never go back to the false idol of bourgeois capitalism."

“Da, once you go black, you never go back. To the false idol of bourgeois capitalism.”

 Anyway, Ralph and Rob (Rob and Ralph?) arrive and Fritz incites the crows to riot and they attack the cops who open fire. Duke tries to pull Fritz off the car before he gets killed but is shot himself. This leads to probably my favourite scene in the whole movie where Duke lies dying and animation of pool balls over a black background is spliced through the scene. Each ball colliding with another becomes a heartbeat, slower and slower, until finally the last ball is silently pocketed as Duke passes away in a filthy street, soaked in his own blood. It’s absolutely brutal, and unlike pretty much everything else in this movie, it’s treated with total sincerity and solemnity.
Meanwhile, the riot worsens leading to the napalming I mentioned earlier and when we next see Fritz he’s hiding in a trash can in an alley way. It’s here that the movie decides it wants to break my fucking brain. So a fox comes looking for Fritz, and it turns out that she’s his girlfriend, Winston. So, gotta be the same Winston from the bathtub orgy right? Wrong! Different voice actor, different personality, different character design, different momma-fudging character. There are two fox ladies in this movie who are romantically involved with Fritz and they are both called Winston which isn’t even a girl’s name.
"Fuck. You. Bakshi."

“Fuck. You. Bakshi.”

"Nah. Fuck you, man."

“Nah. Fuck you, man.”

So Winston the Second and Fritz decide to bug out for San Francisco but their car breaks down in the desert.

"We cant stop here, this is bat country!"

“We can’t stop here, this is bat country!”

Winston wakes Fritz up and tells him that he’s been asleep for two days after his drug binge and whoah whoah whoah…two days?! Um, you think maybe you should have taken him to a doctor there Winston? Anyway, she tells Fritz to try and fix the car and he attempts to bullshit his way through despite knowing about as much about cars as I do (they run on steam, right?). A passing hillbilly explains to them that they’re out of gas (gas, really?). Winston starts chewing Fritz out for pretending to know how to fix the car which rather conveniently glosses over the fact that she drove for two days without stopping for petrol. She sends Fritz back to the gas station with a bucket but instead he ditches her when he gets there and hooks up with a heroin addicted nazi rabbit named Blue and his horse girlfriend Harriet just go with it we’re almost at the end.

"Have you ever seen a portal?"

“Have you ever seen a portal?”

Blue deliver all his lines in this weird robotic voice and ends every sentence with “ha ha”. Not, a laugh, you understand, the actual words “ha ha” as if he’s just heard a great story, Mark. The rabbit tells Fritz that the revolution could use a man like him and takes him to meet some terrorists led by a female snake. Fritz listens as the leader of the terrorists explains their plan to bomb power stations and bring the country to its knees and then her tit pops out which is entirely justified artistically (and biologically because snakes are mammals as we all know). Harriet gets anxious and tries to get Blue to leave but he punches her. She screams that they’re all a bunch of “Nazi fags” and then Blue beats her nearly to death with a chain while she’s naked from the waist up which is entirely justified oh fuck this movie. And then all the terrorists rape her. Jesus Christ. And then, just like always, just as I’m this close to writing off the whole movie as garbage it pulls out a another stunning little bit of animation where the whole scene goes silent and pulls smaller and smaller and smaller until it’s just a tiny facet of light in a tear on Harriet’s face which falls to the ground and suddenly we’re in the desert. Fritz impotently tries to comfort Harriet as she lies shivering and naked in the desert night but abandons her to go with the terrorists because he is literally incapable of doing the slightest bit of good in this world. On the way to blow up the power plant with the female terrorist however, he realises that they’re not actually trying to usher in a glorious new age or fight for justice for the underclass. They’re just a bunch of nihilistic assholes who want to blow up shit. Unfortunately, he has this epiphany right after he plants the bomb which blows up right in his face.

He survives…somehow, and is taken to a nearby hospital where he is visited by Harriet and the three girls from the bathtub orgy, including Winston…

No, not that one.

No, not that one.

 

Yeah, fine, whatever.

Yeah, that one, whatever.

 They’re told that Fritz is on death’s door and find him bandaged in a hospital bed. He weakly asks them to lean in so that he can give his last words…

And then he whips off his bandages and has sex with all of them.

speeches_churchill

“Groovy.”

The end.

***

Fritz the Cat was the most successful independent animated film on its release, earning $90 million against a budget of $850k. It split critical opinion right down the middle where it’s remained pretty much to this day. How do I feel about it? Do I love it or hate it? Well, here’s the thing, it’s not really an “it” it’s a “them”. It’s a series of disjointed vignettes held together by a common protagonist and a few recurring characters. Tonally and stylistically it’s all over the shop. Do I hate it? Parts of it, definitely. But I have to admit there are moments of real power too. Time has not tamed it, I’ll tell you that much. It’s shocking and often unsettling and definitely offensive but it got in my head in a way that mere trash never could. I’m still thinking about it and trying to unravel it. It may not be a great movie but it’s definitely art. I can’t whole-heartedly recommend it but I can’t dismiss it either. One day I may put together a list of movies every animation fan has to see and I think Fritz might be on it. For better or worse, it’s a major milestone in the history of animation. Just not one you’ll necessarily enjoy visiting.
Scoring
Animation: 08/20
Rough, ungainly and often ugly but every so often it’ll pull out a sequence of startling beauty.
Leads: 12/20
Fritz is a thoroughly unlikeable *(*& but it’s pretty clear that we’re not supposed to like him. Voice actor Skip Hinnant is actually hilarious by the way. He never really broke out as a voice actor but he really delivers here and vocally reminds me a lot of Billy West.
Villains: 6/20
The pigs and the terrorists are all too one note to really make an impression (with the big exception of the Biker Rabbit). But we all know the real villain is society, man.
Supporting Characters: 04/20
Buncha filthy animals.
Music: 14/20
The soundtrack is seriously groovy man.
FINAL SCORE: 44%
NEXT UPDATE: 07 July 2016
NEXT TIME: We return to Marvel as Phase 2 gets underway…
“Oi!”

“Oi!”

“Paper Alchemist? How you been?”

“Paper Alchemist? How you been?”

“Don’t “how you been” me, rodent! Did you honestly think I’d let you get away with that?”

“Don’t “how you been” me, rodent! Did you honestly think I’d let you get away with that?”

“Oh. You didn’t like The Snow Queen?”

“Oh. You didn’t like The Snow Queen?”

“No. In fact, I was planning on webbing you up and injecting you with venom that slowly liquefied you alive from the inside before drinking you with a straw. But I decided that would be too easy. You’re going to review something for me Mouse, something that will destroy you…”

“No. In fact, I was planning on webbing you up and injecting you with venom that slowly liquefied you alive from the inside before drinking you with a straw. But I decided that would be too easy. You’re going to review something for me Mouse, something that will destroy you…”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah. Cut to the chase. What turd am I going to have to eat now?”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah. Cut to the chase. What turd am I going to have to eat now?”

download

“Heavy, man.”

“Heavy, man.”

Neil Sharpson aka the Unshaved Mouse is a playwright, comic book writer and blogger based in Dublin. The blog updates with a new review every second Thursday. Original artwork for this blog was commissioned from the oh-so talented Julie Android, whose artwork is now available for purchase on T-Shirts, mugs, hoodies and more at the Unshaved Mouse online store. Check it out!

77 comments

  1. Thanks for the…hmmm. I was going to thank you for the review, but to be honest, I much rather would have stayed ignorant on this one. So, hmmm…ah, got it. Thanks for being you, Mouse! 😉

    “Bullshit, by the way. Mickey does his own killing.”

    Strictly speaking, this is true, but I’ve played Kingdom Hearts, and I can tell you his *preferred* method is to send his two closest minions to find some kid with a stupid weapon and throw him at the problem. Oddly, this tends to work more often than it doesn’t… 🤔

  2. Could’ve been worse. Paper could’ve made you review the sequel.

    Anyways, I’m a giant thumb-sucking baby who thinks Alan Moore represents the height of Edginess in comics, so I doubt I’ll be getting into either the comic or the film of this one. The pool-game death sounds awesome, though.

    Best joke: that last Winston pic.

    1. But RL, that would mean *I* would have had to see the sequel. And despite having survived the bites and stings of bullants, bees, native wasps, invasive wasps, two different types of jellyfish, horse flies, march flies, sand flies, leeches, a sheep, a cow, several plants and almost-a-shark-that-one-time, there is NO WAY in hell I am tough enough for Space Chimps 2.

      1. The thing I remember most about the first movie was going on the website and reading the character biographies. I can’t remember now what they said, except for this one line under the villain’s biography where it said “Never Underestimate the Space Chimps!” I still don’t understand why I find that hilarious.

  3. Great review, the only Bakshi film I’ve ever seen is Wizards (which I liked) but I’ve always been interested in some of his others like Heavy Traffic or American Pop. Speaking of Heavy Traffic, would you review that or any other Bakshi movies. Or has Fritz the Cat completely turned you off from him. I’m not asking you to review it. Honestly, if this movie was too much for you then I don’t want you to subject yourself to anything else of his. I was just always curious about Traffic, because a decent amount of people claim it as his best work but I’ve always been wary over how much of the content in the film is actually necessary.

      1. Well, I hope you’re able to make it through. Especially if you decide to watch Coonskin. Funny story actually. Apparently Ralph Bakshi actually wanted to kill Fritz off but his producer Steve Krantz objected.

      2. And if you thought the MOVIE had problems, in the Robert Crumb comics he sleeps with his sister! Which they actually kept in the second movie.

  4. When I saw Space Chimps is next all I could think off I how it took my dad an entire 30 minutes to get out of the shower, so we could watch it as a family. My brother (who is the reason we picked it from red box) got so sick of the opening before pressing play and he still complains about that whenever I mention Space Chimps.

    1. And I bet it had that bit where the ‘cool’ chimp plays Crazy Frog on his light-up buttons, didn’t it?

  5. Soooooo, I’m guessing this was worse than “that cat movie I can’t remember the name of, where someone was murdering cats and the blind cat claims that she’s not blind, she just can’t see and it’s supposed to be all artistic but really it’s just awful”?

  6. I must confess that when something like this comes along, I can’t help but feel out of the loop. Like a child, or an alien. People actually like porn? Cartoon porn? But the boobs don’t even really look like boobs. There are actual real people who look at this and *don’t* laugh at how weird it is? I guess sometimes people really are just monkeys in shoes.

    SPEAKING OF WHICH

    I have penned a little song for you, brave Mouse, to wish you well on your travels across the universe. Imagine it in Bowie’s voice, singing it very solemnly, ’cause I can’t sing for quids.

    Alchemist to Unshaved Mouse
    Alchemist to Unshaved Mouse
    Take your painkillers and kiss your kid and spouse
    Alchemist to Unshaved Mouse (ten, nine, eight, seven, six)
    You won’t think this film is… grouse [that’s a slightly dated Aussie word for ‘great’] (five, four, three)
    Check the volume and may God’s love be with you (two, one, liftoff)

    This is Alchemist to Unshaved Mouse
    You made me watch ‘The Snow Queen’
    But your fans all want to know why I am so mean
    Making you review a film that is so obscene
    This is Alchemist to Unshaved Mouse
    Good luck with your review
    Take the DVD, insert it and press ‘play’
    And we’ll see you in a fortnight on Thursday
    For theeeere you’ll be sitting in your mouse-nest
    Waaaatching a terrible film
    Space Chimps is poo
    And there’s nothing you can do…

      1. People are weird.

        Now excuse me while I go and vividly hallucinate about a giant girl fighting a lady made of trees who speaks in riddles, and attempt to transcribe it so that others may share my vision.

  7. While I don’t think I really understand all the nuances of the scenes described in here, as Mouse deliberately keeps from going in-depth on the scenes and the emotions they elicit, I can’t help but comparing this movie with the recent furor over a character death in Orange is the New Black.

    In that show a lesbian black character is killed by a prison guard, and it is an accident. The scene is meant to make us realize how no one is truly bad, how tragedies can strike even when people have good intentions, and how someone who seemed like they had such a bright future ahead of them can have that taken away from them in an instant. That was in fact the reason they killed that character- because that character had the most positive karma built up, so they thought killing them would provoke the strongest emotional reaction.

    All the writers of OITNB are white.

    They wanted to create a “powerful message” and thus killed off a black character in prison and it was an “unfortunate accident”. Referencing a death that was most certainly no accident and most certainly the result of racist attitudes. But they wanted to make it “morally grey” to elicit “feels”.

    I hope that everyone reading this can understand how abhorrent that choice was, but the thing is that I’m reading this review and I gotta be honest- despite you talking about Bakshi’s background, despite pointing out how artistic some of these moments are, I can’t help but feel that this sounds exactly like the moment in OITNB. Misery porn- exploiting the tragedy of minorities and then going on with the plot like nothing ever happened. If the misery in the movie doesn’t lead to anything tangible, I for one would not include it anywhere NEAR a “must-see” list. Because it kind of reads like one mans “oh, so provocative, how many things it made me THINK AND FEEL” is another, most likely minority, mans “huh here’s a movie that violently kills and brutalizes people who look like me for artsy brownie points and then just shrugs its shoulders and moves on with life, that’s cool, I didn’t need to feel good and loved and valued by society today, that is super cool that someone thought this movie is a necessary part of culture and recommended it to me”.

    Granted- it’s been… it’s been one SHITTY fucking month so far. Maybe I’m just not in the mood for something like this, and I haven’t seen it and it sounds like it’s HEAVILY dependent on the context of having watched those scenes. I’m just saying that from what you’ve described here I kinda feel like this is one milestone we can safely allow to fall over, get covered with moss, and forget that it was ever put there while emphasizing something way goddamn less racist.

    Also man this is a depressing comment to make a long overdue comeback to considering I haven’t commented since the Frozen review. Still read everything you write! Just a lot more lurking, these days.

  8. I watched this once in college because I knew it was kind of a big deal, even though my knowledge of Ralph Bakshi and R Crumb began and ended with Cool World and Keep on Truckin’ at the time.

    I hated it, but it has stayed with me. You’re right, it does have an odd power to it. I can’t really encourage people to watch it, but anyone interested in animation as a medium should definitely see it just to see how it impacts them.

      1. ‘Ass’ has been popular since 1860, if you can believe that. ‘Arse’ has been popular since time immemorial (from Proto-Indo-European ‘ors’).

  9. Mouse, I love you. I really do. But I did not need to see that image of a black crow woman with giant titties hitting me in the face. I really didn’t.

  10. Well. That was certainly a thing.

    I mean, I was expecting weirdness and a certain degree of badness; the movie does have its share of infamy. But if it was merely bad it’d have been forgotten. Given its longevity it’d make sense that there was more to it than just…well…bathtub orgies and crow titties.

  11. Wel’p, looks like that’s the end of the hedgehog. Unless he somehow got into *another* fridge in time to survive this one. I wouldn’t put it beneath that slick Erinaceid either. Maybe I should just invite him to a royal croquet game. I think he’d like that.

    And I would once again like to attest that if I had my way, I would have gotten you to review Land Before Time. That wascally wabbit had to extinct it though. I sure hope what is probably my favourite Bluth movie gets its day in the Bright Circle at some point, but enough about that, let’s see just how bad this thing the cat coughed up is. Apparently it’s at least worth a one-way ticket to Bahia, so this can’t be good. Enough to make the font of WordPress itself sprout serifs of madness, no less! And I dunno, it was you who suggested Pluto was Mickey’s gimp, not the cartoonist. Though I guess Dinosaur was another bad seed which germinated into nasty thoughts. You poor soul.

    Hmm. I wonder if that image of Donald gleefully watching police brutality against minorities would be useful to make a statement in this particular year due to certain political factors at hand. In any case, Comrade Crow’s return sure was timely there. I’d wonder why you didn’t nuke him as well, but then I remembered, duh, Communist. Yeesh.

  12. …Wait a minute, an animal-person who has a trademark phrase to end his sentence? Was.. was Blue the very first Animal Crossing character? And a Nazi, no less? Hmm, that appears to fit strangely into the idea that the current system of Animal Crossing is in fact run by a Communist model. I wonder if a bunch of animals were building a Berlin wall at some point.

    As for the snake, I feel as if I should give Ralph a pass because Disney appears to think snakes are mammals as well, considering Sir Hiss was apparently furry, but then again, breasts make it impossible to slither, so I’ll have to count this against him. Though perhaps the cat’s surviving the bomb blast could be chalked up to his having a couple of lives left.

    Oooh, Amelia, you austere Aussie you. Remind me to think twice before upsetting you! (though I wonder what the score between you two is, all the way back from when you gave Mouse Coraline to watch and spooked his tail off)

      1. I gave him forty dollars once because he made me laugh when I really needed to. Then he read a play for me. Now we engage in mock verbal swordfights. It’s pretty rad.

  13. I’ve mostly tried to avoid Ralph Bakshii’s work due to the unfavourable things Ive heard about them, but I watched Fritz last week in preparation for your review and …. yeah, you pretty much said it all. I mean, it’s certainly not the worst movie Ive ever seen, there really were some artistic moments as you said, but unless youre a huge fan of poorly animated anthropomorphic animals with comically oversized ladybits flopping all over the place, you probably wont get much out of this movie.

    Also, WHY DO TO CROWS HAVE TEETH? I mean I can forgive the rape and violence but such blatant ignorance f crow anatomy is simply inexcusable.

    1. Wow, my apologies for that comment being so poorly written. I just finished my last high school exam (ever) and I’m feeling rather exhausted. Anyway, thanks for another hilarious review, Mouse.

      1. Thanks man. 🙂 It wasn’t a total disaster, so I can’t complain. At this point I’m just glad that it’s over.

  14. Bakshi is one of those creators who I know were important in the history and development of the medium and yet I hate pretty much everything he’s ever made. I even find his work immature at times, especially movies like this. Everything is so broken and bleak and society, SOCIETY maaaannn. Everyone is evil, stupid or selfish (or dead) and it seems there’s no point to anything so why even try? It’s like the polar opposite of those awful pandering kids’ shows where everything is bright and happy and overly saturated rainbows. Real life is shades of grey, not one or the other. It’s like Bakshi never moved past his annoying “college rebel” phase. Plus the racism and misogyny…yeah, not a fan.

    Thanks for the review, Mouse. First time commentor here but I’ve greatly enjoyed all your posts. Keep it up!

    1. Yeah, I’ve given a few of his movies a chance, but I can’t say I’ve found one I thought was better than “eh, s’fine.”

      In fact, Cool World is in my bottom 10. Of all movies.

  15. All this time I thought those side characters were just random nonsense you pulled out of your arse for comedic effect. But with the reveal of Communist Crow being a well planned reference to this movie, placed within this blog years in advance, I must admit that I sorely underestimated your lore-building abilities. What other plot lines can we expect in the future? What do you have in store for Sarcastic Map of Wartime Europe? Will you finally ship Don Bluth and Walt?

  16. Ah, the 1970s…this weird period in which the German theatres were full of movies called “School Girl Report” which were supposedly educational, “explaining” how sexuality works for the youth but were actually thinly disguised soft porn….

    Anyway, for my life I can’t see Bakshi’s work as “art”. I just can’t. I need a little bit more in my art than just being shocking.

  17. Ah. Fritz T. Cat. My old nemesis.

    “Ah, a Looney Tune, something we can all watch, even young 5-year-old Nota here!”
    *literally moments later*
    “OH SHITE CHANGE THE CHANNEL-”

    Alas, twas too late. My poor innocent eyes had seen the crow tits. And I was forever scarred…or, I’ve completely forgotten about it. I’m just told this is what happened. What? I was five!

    First time commenter, but I’ve been following this wonderful weirdness for about a year now! Finally got around to making a WordPress account. It took literally a minute and a half! I’m a moron! =D

      1. That is a besmirchment on my good character.

        Now, I have to go snark bitterly at politicians to our east and west, then fight alien robots from the moon. Or, at least one of those things.

  18. Another good review with what I think is a very good summation at the end. I remember when you refused to watch it in the past you said you would if your readers could tell you what to say when your wife walked in during the animal orgy. So, what did you say?

  19. I told you to review Hunchback of Notre Dame II instead of this, but did you listen? Nooooooo. If you had just listened, then you wouldn’t be hurting that much no–

    You know what, on second thought, never mind.

  20. Sorry for the double comment, but I forgot to add on this.

    “For example, I’m pretty sure the Simpsons has never shown full frontal nudity.”

    Didn’t the Simpsons Movie have Full Frontal Bart Nudity? I mean, he’s a kid, but somehow that makes it worse. Or did Bakshi state that before the movie was out?

  21. Skip Hinnant’s other claim to fame, if you want to call it that, was co-starring on the Electric Company (a PBS educational show from the 1970s) with a very young Morgan Freeman. I grew up on that show, and had no idea that Fargo North, Decoder (among the many many characters that “Jay-Jay” played) was Fritz the Cat until much later.

    As I was typing this up, I glanced at his IMDb resume, and he also played Pogo Possum (the Walk Kelley character) in “I Go Pogo”, a stop-motion animated film I hadn’t heard of until this very moment. That’s a character who is about as far from Fritz as you can possibly get.

    1. Skip also was in the original off-Broadway cast of You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown. (He was Schroeder.) Reva Rose, who played Lucy in the same production, voiced Fritz’s wife in the sequel to this (according to Wikipedia). So Lucy landed Schroeder in the end…

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