Trailers From Hell: Heavy Traffic

Joe Dante and our friends from Trailers From Hell have just posted the coming attractions preview for Ralph Bakshi’s Heavy Traffic (1972). This time, screenwriter Larry Karaszewski (Ed Wood) gives his commentary on Bakshi’s career over the original theatrical trailer:


  • http://weirdocorner.blogspot.com Eric Noble

    Great stuff. I like it. Heavy Traffic is one of my favorite films and Larry gives the film its due. I do have to agree with him though on Bakshi’s career. Coonskin screwed up his career.

  • Rodrigo Aben-Athar

    This is amazing stuff! Just loved the liveaction backgrounds, have to say. Now Ill just have to watch the film.

  • Julian Carter

    Very interesting video! I’ve yet to see a Bakshi film, but I certainly will one day.

  • Daniel J. Drazen

    Why does the trailer for “Heavy Traffic” make me think of “Family Guy”?

    Seriously? Have we slid that far down the hill or what?

  • Brian Kidd

    COONSKIN is an amazing film! Bakshi’s films in the 1970′s and early ’80s were both products of and ahead of their time, if such a thing is possible. They are wonderful anomalies that somehow defied both financial and critical barriers to production. It’s sad that his career wasn’t able to sustain itself, but I’m eternally grateful that his films are out there. I keep hoping that COONSKIN will eventually see a legitimate release on either DVD or Blu-ray, but I fear it will forever be available solely as bootlegs made from its VHS release in the 1980s. I have a legit VHS under the STREET FIGHT title, but it’s EP and terrible quality. There’s a longer version that was released in Germany, I believe, but I’ve never seen it. There are scenes from it that have made their way online.

  • diego

    Larry Karaszewski is a great writer, I love the biopics he’s written. Great video and comment on one of my favorite directors too.

  • http://www.warrenleonhardt.com w

    I had no idea that ‘Heavy Traffic’ came out the same year as ‘Mean Streets’ – they really do have a lot in common. Just saw HT for the first time last year, and it reminded me of Mean Streets quite a bit. Heavy Traffic is one of my favourite animated films ever, these days. I don’t know about mourning Bakshi losing his ‘voice’ though. He definitely put his stamp on anything he did.

  • VGREER

    My second favorite animated film, right behind American Pop! I think I’ll rewatch one of them this weekend :)

  • The Ghost of Warner Bros. Past

    Great review. Definitely Ralph’s best film. And check out the “Maybeline” pencil sequence. Awesome.

  • http://www.animationarchive.org Stephen Worth

    If anyone wants a window into how Ralph was thinking when he made these films, check out the commentary track on Wizards. Ralph’s recollections and theories are worth the price of the DVD alone.

  • http://www.frankpanucci.com FP

    Heh, heh. American Pop.

    “I want you to play… one of my thongs!”

  • http://www.fooksie.com Fooksie

    American Pop is my favorite Bakshi movie.
    I love this quote from Tony talking to the blond waitress:
    ..”Canned corn, candy corn, popcorn, Crackerjacks! You’re the prize in my box! And my box is this country. It’s all tinfoil on the outside. Corn and sweetness on the inside. “

  • Jorge

    Heavy Traffic is actually a better film than Mean Streets. It’s way more daring. Ralph managed to throw out mere film representation for his narrative and infused it with everything from newspaper funnies to editorial cartooning (especially in the Godfather pasta scene.) to tell the story in symbols. You couldn’t get away with that kind of expressionism in a live action film, although I’m sure anyone who did would’ve won the Palme D’Or. It was the perfect use of cartooning to tell a serious, personal story, and it was still FUNNY. It’s one of the most cinematic films ever made. It has the power of a silent film. It’s pure cinema, pure imagery.

  • Donald C

    Honestly, I personally find Bakshi films to be heavy handed in their messages. There’s really no subtlety.

    Still, they are an important part of animation history and worth watching at least once.

  • NightmareIsNear

    Reminds me of “SuperJail” if it was made 30 years ago. Too bad Ralph Bakshi had to deal with a bunch of http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ExecutiveMeddling

  • http://www.michaelspornanimation.com/splog/ Michael Sporn

    Larry Karaszewski’s vo commentary is an excellent analysis of Bakshi’s career. It’s sad that Bakshi could not take his filmmaking spirit to a higher level after the success of Heavy Traffic.

    He did take animation to a higher level (which wasn’t that hard) back then, despite the animosity thrown at him from the animation industry. (I can think of no one in the industry that I met in NY who didn’t have bad things to say about Ralph. Though I didn’t know him I was always defending what he was doing.)

  • http://MrFunsBlog Floyd Norman

    Back in the seventies, whenever anyone talked about animation, you talked about Ralph Bakshi. His films were exciting, and even his various studios (there were many) were always exciting places to visit.

    The mainstream studios such as Disney could best be described as, “sleepy hollow.” Ralph Bakshi was animation’s best hope. It’s a shame things didn’t work out better for him. He deserves a lot of respect because he earned it.

  • http://www.oddballcomics.com Scott Shaw!

    Floyd, I hate to disagree with you, but Ralph Bakshi lost all of my respect when he cravenly ripped off characters and story material from both Vaughan Bodé’s (“Cheech Wizard”, COBALT 60) and Wallace Wood (WORLD OF THE WIZARD KING) for WIZARDS. He’d previously met with both cartoonists, seen their pitches and once they were both dead (unintentional and intentional suicides, yet!) and unable to do anything about it, Ralphie-boy cherry-picked their concepts for WIZARDS.

    It saddens and astounds me that the cartoon community has ignored Ralph Bakshi’s incredible lack of ethics, stealing concepts from creators who he admired and who are still admired by many people still.

  • http://www.oddballcomics.com Scott Shaw!

    Of course, so did Hanna-Barbera…but their obvious thefts of other folks’ concepts have at least been widely acknowledged.

  • Joseph

    This guy’s opinions aren’t welcome here. :P

  • http://www.oddballcomics.com Scott Shaw!

    I don’t think I’m being a crackpot on this topic. A number of other qualified people are aware of Ralph’s history as an idea-thief. Can anyone, say Steve Worth (who I know is an expert on Ralph’s career), offer proof that these charges AREN’T true?

    When WIZARDS was released, a number of cartoonists, led by Leonardo DiCaprio’s father George (who had written underground comix and was the distributor for all the comix sold in SoCal) paid a late night/early morning visit to a theater in Westwood, where they hung a banner above the marquee that read “Vaughan Bodé’s” OVER the words “Ralph Bakshi’s”…as I recall, it was on display for nearly three weeks before the theater removed it!

    All that said, I think Ralph Bakshi is an excellent cartoonist and one of our field’s most interesting characters, but I’d never want to work with him…or even show him my portfolio! Too risky!

  • Professor Widebottom

    Ralph Bakshi is one of those guys I’ve always felt I was *supposed* to appreciate just because his work has been handed down as a trope of cultural significance. He did fill a niche that the colossal vacuum afforded him, being that animation was in serious doldrums in the 70s, but that’s kind of a default way to celebrate something. I don’t fault anyone for liking his stuff but for my money it just left me cold. I can handle material that’s gritty and tawdry fine thank you, but when the production itself feels tawdry that’s another story.

  • http://seezen.net David

    I understand Crumb was none too pleased about Fritz the Cat either.

  • Max

    Bakshi’s worst film is a hundred times more watchable than the corporate crap that defines the industry, both features and television, today.

  • George

    Scott Shaw! I agree with you in respect to influence, but there was nothing malicious going on here. Here’s more info straight from Ralph:

    “Ok Ok Ok – Vaughn Bode was one of the worlds great cartoonists. Vaughn, his wife and his newborn son at that time used to hang around my apartment in Manhatten and talk about doing an animated film together. Sure he influenced me and many others, as I influenced him. He told me his secret to his Lizards was a simplification of Daffy Duck and Vaughn really love Fritz the Cat – what I had done with it. We were gonna do the Amorous Adventures of Puck – after Wizards. The script he wrote was hysterical , something about a Don Juan Lizard with a wooden dildo because in those days – Lizards had no balls. At any rate, I loved Vaughn and his family very much and never speak of him because of what he did to himself. I try to erase that whole part of my life out of my mind. I really miss him and all the wonderful , brilliant things he would have done by now. Victoria’s website forced me to finally admit that Vaughn was gone.”

    Here’s a link to a blog topic covering the whole issue: http://ralphbakshi.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=352&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=30

  • http://andynortonuk.spaces.live.com/ Andy Norton

    I admire what Bakshi stands for, and still does, in terms of animated film-making.

    But as I haven’t seen much of the stuff that made him the acclaimed film-maker, like this, Karaszewski has made an ideal persuasion to revisit some of his personal films over his more commercial work- which is shame as Heavy Traffic isn’t available here on DVD!

  • Jorgen Klubien

    I remember seeing Fritz and Heavy Traffic in Copenhagen, right after they came out. Both made a big impression and inspired me to want to go into animation as a profession, in many way’s just as much as the classic Disney movies had inspired me. Is Heavy Traffic out on DVD?