The friend who turned me on to this obscure little film years ago admitted to me that it scared her -- quite a feat for an animated feature. But Ralph Bakshi is a very talented animator, and he pulls out all the stops for this futuristic political fable of warring wizard brothers whose escalating conflict pushes their world over the edge.
He also pulls no punches -- the fantasy fairyland setting is a backdrop for a fairly brutal indictment of facism and violence. This is definitely one cartoon that is not for the kiddies. Bakshi executes the artwork with his usual flair -- a far cry from both Disney and Japanese anime -- and ably incorporates photographs and newsreel footage. The buffoonery of the good wizard character dilutes the power of the message, though, but this is still a noble effort. And certainly the sort of issues-oriented experimentation you're not likely to see made today.
"Fritz! Get up for God's sake, get up! They've killed Fritz, they've killed Fritz! Those lousy stinking yellow fairies, those horrible atrocity filled vermin, those despicable animal warmongers, they've killed Fritz! Take that, take that, take that you green slime! You black hairy short bowlegged..."
Bakshi wrote the "They've killed Fritz" scene as a protest against R. Crumb killing off Fritz the Cat in his comics. Crumb's Fritz-killing, in turn, was prompted by what he was as the bastardization of his work in the "Fritz the Cat" film made by Bakshi.
"The Hobbitt" (1978).
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