Fritz the Cat has two versions: the original comic by Robert Crumb and one created by now legendary independent animator Ralph Bakshi. I’m going to review the later and save a review of Crumb, a documentary of the creator, a little later.
Fritz the Cat was only the second film to be give an “X” rating, the first film to have been given such an honor was Sweet Sweetback’s Badassssss Song. It was the first animated feature to have the “X” rating and is still the most successful independent animated feature of all time making nearly $200 million worldwide.
The movie starts out with a very common and very simple past time of any college student: trying to have sex. Our titular character sees a few good looking women walking down the street and does curry their favor not with any sort of talent (though he does attempt a guitar solo), but with a heavily acted self revelation of seeming complex ideas. This tongue in cheek approach to college culture is present throughout the film. One of my favorite scenes has the three aforementioned white girls circling around a black crow. Before he says a word the three white women begin lavishing him in hypocritical praise for being black. “I worked at head start last summer, for free! Black kids are so much more groovy.” “I’m taking a course on African studies in school, I had no idea your people were so civilized.” And, “Freud didn’t write for the black man.” College kids not really “getting it” is a heavy theme in Fritz the Cat.