Saturday, June 19, 2010

Fritz the Cat

The Inimitable Fritz the cat from the sixties cult cartoon character by Robert Crumb.

A hypocritical swinging college student cat raises hell in a satiric vision of various elements of the 1960's.
A persiflage on the protest movements of the 60s. It's hero is the bold and sex-obsessed tom-cat Fritz the Cat, as created by the legendary underground artist Robert Crumb. Quitting university Fritz the Cat wanders through the hash, Black Panther and Hell's Angels scenes to find to himself.

Fritz the Cat is a 1972 American animated film written and directed by Ralph Bakshi as his feature film debut. Based on the comic strip of the same name by Robert Crumb, the film was the first animated feature film to receive an X rating in the United States. It focuses on Fritz (voiced by Skip Hinnant), an anthropomorphic feline in mid-1960s New York City who explores the ideals of hedonism and sociopolitical consciousness. The film is a satire focusing on American college life of the era, race relations, the free love movement, and left- and right-wing politics. Fritz the Cat was the most successful independent animated feature of all time, grossing over $100 million worldwide.

Fritz the Cat had a troubled production history and controversial release. Creator Robert Crumb is known to have had disagreements with the filmmakers, claiming in interviews that his first wife signed over the film rights to the characters, and that he did not approve the production. Crumb was also critical of the film's approach to his material. Fritz the Cat was controversial for its rating and content, which viewers at the time found to be offensive. Its success led to a slew of other X-rated animated films, and a sequel, The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat, was made without Crumb's or Bakshi's involvement.

In a New York park, hippies have gathered with guitars to sing protest songs. Fritz and his friends show up in an attempt to meet girls. When a trio of attractive females walk by, Fritz and his friends exhaust themselves trying to get their attention, but find that the girls are more interested in the crow standing a few feet away. The girls attempt to flirt with the crow, making unintentionally condescending remarks about black people, while Fritz looks on in annoyance. Suddenly, the crow rebukes the girls with a snide remark and walks away. Fritz tries to pick up the girls by convincing them that he is a tormented soul, and invites them to "seek the truth", bringing them up to his friend's apartment, where a wild party is taking place. Since the other rooms are crowded, Fritz drags the girls into the bathroom and the four of them have group sex in the bathtub. Meanwhile, the police (portrayed as pigs) arrive to raid the party. As the two officers walk up the stairs, one of the partygoers finds Fritz and the girls in the bath tub. Several others jump in, pushing Fritz to the side where he takes solace in marijuana. The two officers break into the apartment, but find that it is empty because everyone has moved into the bathroom. Fritz takes refuge in the toilet when one of the pigs enters the bathroom and begins to beat up the partygoers. As the pig becomes exhausted, a very intoxicated Fritz jumps out, grabs the pig's gun, and shoots the toilet, causing the water main to break and flooding everybody out of the apartment. The pigs chase Fritz down the street into a synagogue. Fritz manages to escape when the congregation gets up to celebrate the United States' decision to send more weapons into Israel.

Fritz the Cat (1972) (Sub)The Nine Lives of Fritz the CatThe Life & Death of Fritz the CatFritz the Cat (1972) (Sub)The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat

Fritz makes it back to his dormitory, where his roommates ignore him. He sets all of his notes and books on fire. The fire spreads throughout the dorm, finally setting the entire building ablaze. In a bar in Harlem, Fritz meets Duke the Crow at a billiard table. After narrowly avoiding getting into a fight with the bartender, Duke invites Fritz to "bug out". When Duke steals a car, Fritz is eager to join the illegal activity. Following a wild ride, Fritz drives the car off a bridge. Before the car crashes into the water and rocks below, Duke saves Fritz's life. The two arrive at an apartment owned by Bertha, a crow and former prostitute turned drug dealer. When Fritz arrives, she shoves several joints into his mouth. The marijuana increases his libido, so he rushes off into an alley to have sex with Bertha. While having sex, he comes to a supreme realization that he "must tell the people about the revolution!" He runs off into the city street and incites a riot, during which Duke is shot and killed, and Fritz is chased by several cops.

Fritz hides in an alley where his fox girlfriend, Winston Schwartz, finds him. She drags him on a road trip to San Francisco. On the road, she stops at a Howard Johnson's restaurant, and disenchants Fritz by her refusal to go to unusual places. When the car runs out of gas in the middle of the desert, Fritz decides to abandon her. Fritz meets up with Blue, a heroin-addicted rabbit biker. Along with Blue's horse girlfriend, Harriet, they take a ride to an underground hide-out where several other revolutionaries tell Fritz of their plan to blow up a power station. When Harriet tries to get Blue to leave, he hits her several times and ties her down with a chain. When Fritz objects to their treatment of her, he is hit in the face with a candle by the group's leader, a lizard. The group throws Harriet onto a bed and rapes her. In the next scene, Harriet is sitting in a graveyard, naked and traumatized. Fritz puts a coat over her and gets into a car with the leader to drive out to the power plant. After setting the dynamite, Fritz suddenly has a change of heart. The lizard lights the fuse and drives off as Fritz tries to get the dynamite out of its tight spot and fails. The dynamite explodes, blowing up both the power plant and Fritz. At a Los Angeles hospital, Harriet (now a nun) and the girls from the New York park come to comfort him. It is in this scene that, as John Grant writes in his book Masters of Animation, Fritz realizes that he should "stick to his original hedonist philosophy and let the rest of the world take care of itself."[1] In the final moments of the film, the audience sees Fritz have sexual intercourse with the girls from the park again.

The Nine Lives of Fritz the Cat (R) (1974)

Imdb Link - Fritz the Cat (1972)

Labyrinth (1986)

Where everything seems possible and nothing is what it seems...
David Bowie stars in the 1986 childrens Fantasy Musical; Labyrinth.

Plot Synopsis;
Sarah Williams (Jennifer Connelly) was a teenager with a large imagination and love for fantasy stories, so much so that she enacted her favorite storybook, the Labyrinth, whenever she could. She happened to have been pretending that she was the heroine in her story while wandering in the park near her house when the clock on the near by city hall building struck, informing her it was 7pm. She realized she was an hour late and needed to get home to watch her baby stepbrother, Toby (Toby Froud). After arguing with her stepmother about her tardiness and feeling ignored by her father, Sarah was left alone with her fussy infant brother. Angered that her stepmother had given her brother one of her favorite teddy bears, a tattered toy called Lancelot, Sarah shouted into the air for someone to take her away from 'this awful place.' To get Toby to stop crying, she told him the story of how the Goblin King was in love with the girl who was 'forced to stay at home with the baby' and that he had 'given her certain powers.' But Sarah in no way believed this story could be real.

CreationThe Hot SpotOf Love and ShadowsBetty Page & Jennifer Connelly (Personality Comics - The Illustrated Biography Magazine)Labyrinth [Blu-ray]

In anger that the child wouldn't stop crying, Sarah did call for the goblins to take her brother. They took Toby away and Jareth (David Bowie), the King of the Goblins, gave her an option; she could take her dreams or spend 13 hours in his kingdom, an ever-changing maze called the Labyrinth. If she was able to get to the castle at the center within the specified time, her brother would be spared from becoming a goblin. Sarah was resolved to save her brother and the king left her to do her task.

She immediately met an ancient looking dwarf with a feisty attitude who shows her how to enter the Labyrinth. His name was Hoggle (voice Brian Henson) and he told her not to take anything for granted in this place; she didn't seem to find him very helpful and basically told him to leave. However, eventually she got herself stuck in an oubliette, and the one sent by the Goblin King to 'rescue' her was Hoggle.

But Hoggle was beginning to like Sarah and against the orders he was given to send her back to the beginning of the Labyrinth, having her start all over again, he makes the choice to help her get to the center and reach her brother. This does not bode well with Jareth, who at Sarah's haughty attitude took three hours of her time away and threatened to send Hoggle to the most horrible place known in the Labyrinth, a stinky land of slimy mud called the Bog of Eternal Stench, for his betrayal. Then Jareth turned to Sarah and asked her how she was enjoying his Labyrinth. When she flippantly said it was a 'piece of cake,' the king sent a machine covered in spinning knives after her and Hoggle, then disappeared. They were able to escape, yet Hoggle got scared by the sound of a howling creature and said he was a friend to no one but himself, leaving Sarah to fend for herself.

Sarah forced herself not to be afraid, remembering she was told 'things aren't always what they seem in this place.' She found Ludo, a furry giant beast and a gentle creature despite his massive size, who became her friend when she saved him from being tortured by a bunch of goblins. But she became separated from Ludo too and found herself in a strange forest where she met the Firies, creatures that were able to dismember themselves and take off their heads. They tried to take off her head, which of course didn't work, but they didn't stop trying to mutilate her, so she threw their heads away. Hoggle came to her rescue, but she didn't know that the Goblin King had threatened him that if she ever kissed him, he would immediately be sent to the Bog. As soon as her lips touched the dwarf's bald head, the stones beneath them shook and they fell to the Bog. Thankfully they didn't fall in to the muck. They found Ludo here and met Sir Didymus, a fox knight with a sheepdog as his steed, who decided to aid Sarah in her quest for her brother. As the castle was not much further, there was hardly anything left to prevent her from reaching Toby in time.

Except one thing. The Goblin King had forced something on Hoggle; he was to give Sarah a peach that would make her forget about Toby. And Sarah was hungry, which left Hoggle no choice but to give the fruit to her. Handing it to her, he left in shame of having to obey the king.

By eating the peach, Sarah found herself in a dream, in a ballroom full of masked faces. She wore a beautiful silver gown and the Goblin King held tightly to her in a dance, but she knew there was something she had to do so she left his arms and broke free of the crystal ball he had placed her in.

She awoke in a junkyard, peach in hand, but she still couldn't remember what she was supposed to be doing. A goblin woman with a collection of knickknacks on her back led her to a room; her bedroom. Sarah ran to her bed and flopped down on it, burying her face in the pillow. It had all been just a terrible dream. But it wasn't a dream, for as soon as she opened her bedroom door, the goblin woman came in and tried to get her to begin a collection of knickknacks from her room for herself. One of the items happened to be her book of the Labyrinth and she was immediately reminded that she needed to save Toby. Her friends had followed her to the junkyard when she had been trapped in the crystal and pulled her to safety. They quickly hurried to the nearby castle, for she had less than an hour left.

They entered the Goblin City, which surrounded the castle, and soon found goblins attacking them in hordes. But eventually they made it through the chaos to the castle. The throne room was empty and a clock on the wall let Sarah know she had less than 5 minutes left to reach her brother. The only direction Jareth could have taken Toby was up the stairs, and Sarah went it alone, to the concern of her friends.

When she reached the room at the top she had to hold to the wall to keep from getting dizzy. This room had many stairways that led to nowhere and walkways between. There was no up or down and she didn't know which way to go. But the Goblin King made himself known, standing below her and she gasped when she saw him. He easily walked around the ledge to her, even walked straight through her, trying to intimidate her. With an evil grin he threw a crystal and she watched as it bounced across the multiple perspectives of the room, only to land in the hands of her brother, who seemed to be sitting upside down above her. Now that she knew where Toby was, all she had to do was get to him, but that was the whole problem. Toby would crawl somewhere different the second she thought she had neared him, and unlike her, he didn't know he wasn't supposed to be able to defy gravity and crawl on the ceiling. Finally she found him directly below her, sitting on the floor, dangling his feet over the ledge of a door. Toby was right there, twenty feet below her, and she had no way of getting to him. Sarah didn't know how long this had been taking her but knew she hardly had time left. All that she knew was that if she didn't hold Toby in her arms in time, he would never be the same again; she had to save him from becoming a goblin. So with a gulp and wincing her face at the thought of how broken her bones would be once she fell to the ground beside him, she jumped.

But she didn't hit the floor. In fact, as she kept falling, the room was breaking up around her. Finally her feet hit floor and she found the Goblin King slowly walking towards her from out of the shadows. He wore all white, his cape of feathers flowing about him as he neared her. She began to state the lines her story said would defeat him and finalize her brother's safety, but the king stopped her and offered her dreams to her once again; he even offered himself. But her only resolve was to save Toby, so she completed her dialog and found herself back in her home. The defeated Goblin King flew out the window, banished to live in an owl form.

Sarah ran up stairs to ensure that her brother had been returned and found Toby sleeping soundly. She went to her room and began to put away those things that were part of her childhood fantasies, but as she did so, she saw the faces of her friends from the Labyrinth staring at her in her mirror. They told her they would always be around if she needed them, and she told them that every now and again in her life, she would.
Nominated for BAFTA Film Award. Another 3 nominations
Imdb Link - Labyrinth

Dark Passage

Bogart and Bacall spark off their wonderful acting chemistry in "Dark Passage";

Guy escapes prison (Bogart,) See? Girl (Bacall,) gives refuge to guy. Got that? Yeah. . . The exciting scénics of San Francisco become the backdrop for the ensuing manhunt. The escaped con is often recognized and suspected, heightening his wish to flee and hide detection, taking us with him through his Dark Passage into and out of film noir. He is able to do so but must brave a medical metamorphosis and battle the intervening finger of fate that slates him against the quirks of manipulators and those who would see him behind bars in a shake of this finger. Is he guilty? --no. San Francisco creates a symphony of noir elements with a twist. What. . .? A happy ending you say? Of course. It's Bogie and Bacall, likely the only couple to make it out of film noir alive, together and with a pretty colored tropical drink in hand, in B& W, of course.

Bogie and Bacall - The Signature Collection (The Big Sleep / Dark Passage / Key Largo / To Have and Have Not) To Have and Have Not (Keepcase)Designing Woman (Ws Sub)How to Marry a MillionaireHow to Marry a MillionaireLauren Bacall: By Myself

Imdb Link - DarkPassage

Sahara (1943 U.S.A.)

Starring Humphrey Bogart

After the fall of the Libyan city of Tobruk, Sergeant Joe Gunn (Humphrey Bogart) and his crew retreat in their tank across the Sahara. Along the way they pick up six Allied stragglers and a Sudanese corporal and his Italian prisoner. Tambul directs the group to a desert fortress, where they find desperately needed water. When a 500 strong detachment of German soldiers arrive, and is subsequently denied water, Gunn must lead his small group of weary men in a desperate battle.

Sahara is a 1943 war film directed by Zoltán Korda. Humphrey Bogart stars as a U.S. tank commander in Egypt during the Western Desert Campaign of World War II. The movie earned three Academy Award nominations: Best Sound, Best Cinematography (Black-and-White) and Best Supporting Actor by J. Carrol Naish for his role as an Italian prisoner.

A television remake starring Jim Belushi in Bogart's role was broadcast in 1995.

Plot Synopsis;
An M3 Lee tank, commanded by U.S. Army Sergeant Joe Gunn (Humphrey Bogart) and nicknamed Lulu Belle, becomes separated from its unit during a general retreat from Rommel's forces. At a bombed-out field hospital, the crew picks up a motley collection of stragglers, among them a British doctor, four assorted Commonwealth troops, and a Free French corporal (Louis Mercier). Later, they pick up a Sudanese sergeant major (Rex Ingram) and his Italian prisoner (J. Carrol Naish), who volunteeers to lead them to a well at Hassan Barani. En route, a Luftwaffe pilot (Kurt Kreuger) strafes the tank, killing one of the British soldiers (Lloyd Bridges), but is shot down and captured.

Running out of water, they are forced to detour to a desert well marked on Gunn's map. They find it, but it is almost empty, providing only a trickle of water. A German half track arrives soon afterwards and Gunn's group ambushes it. Gunn finds out from the two survivors of its crew that a German battalion, desperate for water, is following close behind. He decides to make a stand to delay the Germans any way he can, while he sends one of his men, Waco (Bruce Bennett) away in the captured German vehicle in search of help. The two Germans are released, to carry back an offer: "guns for water", even though there is barely enough for Gunn's men.

Action in the North Atlantic - Authentic Region 1 DVD from Warner Brothers starring Humphrey Bogart, Raymond Massey & Alan HaleHumphrey Bogart - The Signature Collection, Vol. 2 (The Maltese Falcon Three-Disc Special Edition / Across the Pacific / Action in the North Atlantic / All Through the Night / Passage to Marseille) To Have & Have Not [VHS] Humphrey Bogart (Three Drinks Behind) Movie Poster Print - 24x36 Dark Passage

The well has completely dried up by the time the Germans arrive. A standoff and battle of wills begins. Gunn pretends the well is full of water and negotiates to waste time. Eventually, the Germans attack and are beaten off again and again, but one by one, the defenders are killed. However, the thirst-maddened Germans' final assault turns into a full-blown surrender as they drop their weapons and claw across the sand towards the well. To Gunn's shock, he discovers that a German shell that exploded in the well has refilled it by tapping into another source of water. Gunn and the only other Allied survivor disarm the Germans while they're drinking their fill and start marching them east, where they encounter Allied troops led by Gunn's courier Waco, who had managed to reach them. The movie ends with news of the allied victory at the First Battle of El Alamein, turning back the tide of Rommel's Afrika Corps.

In a Lonely PlaceHumphrey Bogart Deadline U.S.A. Movie Poster 27"x39"  The Humphrey Bogart Audioplays The Treasure of the Sierra Madre [VHS]We're No Angels (1955) [VHS]

The plot of the film (especially the scene with a bucket of water) closely resembles an earlier Mikhail Romm film The Thirteen (Russian: Тринадцать, 1937) which, in turn, was influenced by John Ford’s The Lost Patrol
Nominated for 3 Oscars
Imdb Link - Sahara (1943)

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