The film that I viewed this week was Fritz the Cat, released in 1972 by Warner Brothers Studios. This film put a fresh spin on what an animated film could be, and who it could be aimed at. The animation style of this film was done in a very traditional and conventional way, but the content in the film is what brought forth so much attention, and caused a stir in the animation world. It was a very edgy film that broke new ground and helped open animators eyes to see that animation didn’t have to be strictly for kids, and that adults could enjoy it too.
Fritz the Cat was the first-ever animated film that was rated X. This is primarily because the film was created strictly for adults and contained an overwhelming amount of sex, violence and drug use. This is because the film was meant to show what was going on in the lives of college kids during the 1960’s. This was a very shocking animated movie that truly broke new ground in the animation world. Up until this time all animation was made primarily for kids, but this was targeting strictly adults. The film received a large amount of attention mainly because of the edgy nature of the piece. Never before had an animation targeted a new audience and tried something completely out of the box like this. This made it very different from all of the animated films before it. It also changed the future of animation forever. This film proved that cartoons don’t have to be strictly for kids and that adults could also enjoy them. This film was very successful and has grossed 190,000,000 dollars worldwide. Other film studios took a lot of influence from this piece and began making other animated films for adults to challenge this and perhaps steal the spotlight. This film was truly groundbreaking, and helped to broaden the spectrum of animation viewers.
This film was made using cel animation and made use of a multi-plane camera. Cel animation involves doing each scene in different layers with transparent pieces of paper. The background will be on one piece, the middle ground will be on a different piece and the foreground and characters will be on another. This method allowed for different elements of a scene to be moving at the same time and made the work look far more realistic and far more captivating. In addition to adding integrity to the movie, this method would also save a lot of time. With past methods of animation animators would have to redraw every single element of a frame countless times and it was very time ineffective and wasted a lot of money. With this method, all that needed to be redrawn in each scene was whatever was moving. This allowed for frames to be produced much faster, and moved the animation process along very quickly. Another element that helped make this animation a success was use of a multi-plane camera. A multi-plane camera contains different layers of glass with a camera mounted at the top facing the layers of glass. With this machine, layers could be filmed moving at different rates, and with different levels of focus. This provided for a more realistic sense of movement, and a greater perception of depth. It greatly helped the visual integrity of the piece and made it much more believable. Without these techniques the film would’ve appeared more cheaply done and perhaps wouldn’t have been as successful.
There is no doubt that this film truly changed the world. Who knows what direction the animation world would’ve went in had this film never been created. It was a film that challenged the conceptual boundaries of animation and made people question the norms set in place many years in the past. If artists continue to push the limits of what is considered to be “normal” the animation industry will continue to thrive and the art industry will continue to flourish.