Ralph Bakshi – Heavy Traffic (1973)

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Plot Synopsis by Hal Erickson

Heavy Traffic represents a follow-up to animator Ralph Bakshi’s first feature film, Fritz the Cat (1972). The central character is Michael, the ingenuous son of an Italian father and Jewish mother. An aspiring cartoonist, Michael leaves home in a huff and outrages his family by conducting an affair with an African-American woman. Heavy Traffic was originally intended to be a cartoon adaptation of Hubert Selby’s notorious novel Last Exit to Brooklyn, but negotiations fell through, and Bakshi was obliged to cook up a similar but not identical “mean streets” plotline. (Last Exit to Brooklyn was made as a live-action film in 1989.) Continue reading

Ralph Bakshi – American Pop (1981)

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American Pop is a 1981 American animated film directed by Ralph Bakshi. The film tells the story of four generations of a Russian Jewish immigrant family of musicians whose careers parallel the history of American popular music. The majority of the film’s animation was completed through rotoscoping, a process in which live actors are filmed and the subsequent footage is used for animators to draw over. However, the film also uses a variety of other mixed media including water colors, computer graphics, live action shots, and archival footage. Continue reading

Ralph Bakshi – Fire and Ice (1983)

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It began as a once-in-a-lifetime collaboration between two of the greatest icons of the fantasy genre: Controversial animator Ralph Bakshi (director of FRITZ THE CAT, WIZARDS and the original THE LORD OF THE RINGS) and legendary illustrator Frank Frazetta (creator of the iconic CONAN THE BARBARIAN, VAMPIRELLA and Edgar Rice Burroughs book covers). It became – and remains – one of the most startling animation epics of all time. Now experience a world unlike any ever seen, where savage warriors, horrific monsters and luscious maidens battle for the soul of a civilization in a time of good and evil, pleasure and pain. Continue reading