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  Coonskin Why Can't We All Just Get Along?
Year: 1974
Director: Ralph Bakshi
Stars: Philip Michael Thomas, Barry White, Charles Gordone, Scatman Crothers
Genre: Comedy, Thriller, Animated, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: A convict tells the story of three friends, a rabbit, a fox and a bear, who moved up to Harlem to take on the gangsters and police at their own game.

Ralph Bakshi's audacious, exuberant, in-your-face mix of live action and animation caused a lot of controversy when it was first released, with many accusing it of racism, despite his protests. It's a sort of twisted Uncle Remus tale, with the "Brer Rabbit" running up against and outwitting preachers, black militants, corrupt cops, pimps and the Mafia in his drive to succeed.

The cartoon characters make no attempt to hide their stereotypical origins: what Bakshi does is use the prejudiced view of these blacks (and whites, and gays) and turn these images back on themselves in the most over-the-top fashion to confront the viewer. America itself is depicted as looking like a Wonder Woman-style superheroine, but with a wicked heart (and with a gun in her, erm... yes).

Much of the imagery is powerful and surreal, which, coupled with the rambling storyline, makes for a heady combination. Coonskin is not as offensive as you might think, but I can't see anything like it being made these days. And Hong Kong Phooey will never sound the same again. Also with: no rotoscoping, which makes a nice change.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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Ralph Bakshi  (1938 - )

American animator of edgy, often adult-oriented cartoons. He spent a few years directing shorts for TV before branching out on his own with the R. Crumb adaptation Fritz the Cat. He continued in this frank approach for Heavy Traffic and the controversial Coonskin, and then switched to fantasy with The Lord of the Rings, Wizards and Fire and Ice. American Pop and Hey Good Lookin' also had fans, and he returned to TV to revive Mighty Mouse in the 1980s.

When the 1990s comeback Cool World was a flop, Bakshi's directing work wound down, and he now concentrates on his paintings, with occasional returns to animation.

 
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