Fritz the Cat [1972]

Advertised as "X-rated and Animated," Fritz the Cat earned an impressive $25 million in 1972. Screenwriter-director Ralph Bakshi based the film on three of Robert Crumb's stories about a superficial college student who tried to seduce anything in a skirt. The gritty, often gross film shocked U.S. audiences accustomed to innocent flirtations and slapstick comedy in cartoons. Thirty years later, Fritz looks less shocking than puerile. The violence grafted onto Crumb's innocent stories feels gratuitous, and the racial imagery tasteless. As dated as a Nehru jacket, the film will interest students of animation history and American pop culture. Crumb detested the film: he drew Fritz as a decadent Hollywood star, who was exploited by caricatures of Bakshi and producer Steve Krantz--and murdered by a bitter ex-girlfriend. "Another casualty of the '60s..." --Charles Solomon

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