A multi-layered satire of race relations in America. Live-action sequences of a prison break bracket the animated story of Brother Rabbit, Brother Bear, and Preacher Fox, who rise to the top of the crime ranks in Harlem by going up against a con-man, a racist cop, and the Mafia.
Palestine native Ralph Bakshi was raised in a rough-and-tumble section of Brooklyn. A talented artist virtually from the time he could read and write, Bakshi was eighteen years old when he was hired as an opaquer at the Terrytoons animation studio. Recently purchased by the CBS television network, Terrytoons was going through a period of reorganization and restructuring, thus the time was ripe for a young man full of fresh ideas to make an impression. By his early 20s, Bakshi was directing episodes of the Terrytoons TVer Deputy Dawg and the theatrical series James Hound; he also worked on the popular cartoons Hekyll and Jekyll and Mighty Mouse. Ordered by CBS to put together a “superhero” TV cartoon series in 1965, Bakshi, now in charge of Terrytoons, demonstrated his disdain for this assignment by coming up with some of the most ridiculous, least prepossessing superguys in history: Tornado Man, Cuckooman, Ropeman, Strongman, and Diaper Baby. Incredibly, CBS loved it, and thus was born… read more
A general sense of gloom permeates the film yet the characters are vibrant and electric. In his switchblade world, street toughs and pool hall junkies resolve their differences with broken bottles and revolvers. The street fight becomes an allegory for the racial divide in urban America.
I'm mainly giving this 3 stars because Barry White voicing a "black" bear makes me all kinds of happy! Though, still very cheap, the animation itself is more fluid than a lot of Bakshi's movies. Its surrealism and political incorrectness kept me interested but it did drag at times. So, all in all, it was a good time.