Western Animation / The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat

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.


Tropes:

  • 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.
  • Alternate History: One of Fritz's daydreams involves New Jersey becoming "New Africa", with a population entirely of black people.
  • 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".)
  • The Cameo: Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger appear.
  • Canon Discontinuity: 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.'"
  • Mind Screw: Nine Lives is this trope the whole way through.