Anniversary Post: Fritz the Cat

Fritz the Cat

On this day, 12 April, in 1972, the Ralph Bakshi film Fritz the Cat was released. It’s best known for being that animated feature that got an X rating from the MPAA.

You might think that would mean it was pornographic. But it isn’t, of course. It’s just the usual nonsense of the MPAA trying to save us all from seeing anything upsetting. That this: upsetting to a middle-class middle-aged white person who never had an original idea in a lifetime of opportunity.

What’s most interesting about Fritz the Cat is that despite its trappings of the counterculture (sex, drugs, and profanity), it’s actually quite a reactionary film. I don’t especially blame it. This seems to be the natural result of filmmakers who have never thought seriously about politics who are determined to be “edgy.”

It’s always easy to mock the silly people who are part of a group. But that doesn’t result in good satire. “Many people are silly” is not a brilliant insight. Normally, satire needs to come from the inside so that the creator understands the group well enough. Bakshi comes at the subject from a sneering outsider.

But the execution is exceptional. It’s worth watching in a way that Red Dawn is not.

Also on 12 April

Actor Ann Miller (On the Town) was born in 1923, Charles Napier (The Grifters) in 1936, Ed O’Neill (Married… With Children) is 74, Tom Noonan (RoboCop 2) is 69, Andy GarcĂ­a (The Godfather: Part III) is 64, Magda Szubanski (Babe: Pig in the City) is 59, and Nicholas Brendon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Shannen Doherty (Heathers) are 49.

Screenwriter Alvin Sargent (Paper Moon) was born in 1927.

Fritz the Cat poster via Wikipedia under Fair use.

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