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Encyclopedia > Coonskin (film)
Coonskin

Theatrical release poster.
Directed by Ralph Bakshi
Produced by Albert S. Ruddy
Written by Ralph Bakshi
Starring Barry White
Charles Gordone
Philip Michael Thomas
Scatman Crothers
Music by Chico Hamilton
Cinematography William A. Fraker
Editing by Donald W. Ernst
Distributed by Flag of United States Bryanston Distributing Company
Release date(s) Flag of United States August 1, 1975[1]
Flag of Sweden March 22, 1976[1]
Flag of West Germany May 12, 1988[1]
Running time Flag of United States 89 min.
Country Flag of United States United States
Language English
Budget $1,600,000[2]
All Movie Guide profile
IMDb profile

Coonskin is a 1975 film written and directed by Ralph Bakshi, about an African American rabbit, fox, and bear who rise to the top of the organized crime racket in Harlem, encountering corrupt law enforcement, con artists and the Mafia. The film, which combines live-action with animation, stars Philip Michael Thomas, Charles Gordone, Barry White and Scatman Crothers, all of whom appear in both live-action and animated sequences. Coonskin utilizes a number of references to various elements from African American culture, ranging from African folk tales to the work of cartoonist George Herriman,[3][4] and satirizes racist and other stereotypes,[4] as well as the blaxploitation genre,[4] Song of the South,[2] and The Godfather.[3] Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Ralph Bakshi (October 29, 1938) is an American director of animated and occasionally live-action films. ... Albert S. Ruddy (Born: March 28, 1930) is a Canadian filmmaker. ... Ralph Bakshi (October 29, 1938) is an American director of animated and occasionally live-action films. ... Barry Eugene White (born Barrence Eugene Carter, September 21, 1944) – July 4, 2003) was a Grammy Award winning American record producer, songwriter and singer responsible for the creation of numerous hit soul and disco songs. ... Charles Edward Gordone (12 October 1925 - 17 November 1995) He was the first black playwright to win the Pulitzer Prize. ... Philip Michael Thomas (May 26, 1949 in Columbus, Ohio) is an American actor. ... Benjamin Sherman Scatman Crothers (May 23, 1910 – November 22, 1986) was an African-American actor, singer, dancer and musician. ... Foreststorn Hamilton, better known as Chico Hamilton (born September 21, 1921 in Los Angeles) is a jazz drummer. ... William A. Fraker (born on September 29, 1923 in Los Angeles, California), is a cinematographer, film director, and producer. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Bryanston is an American distributon company. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... is the 213th day of the year (214th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1975 (MCMLXXV) was a common year starting on Wednesday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Sweden. ... March 22 is the 81st day of the year (82nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1976 (MCMLXXVI) was a leap year starting on Thursday (link will display full calendar) of the 1976 Gregorian calendar. ... Image File history File links Flag_of_Germany. ... May 12 is the 132nd day of the year (133rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1988 (MCMLXXXVIII) was a leap year starting on Friday (link displays 1988 Gregorian calendar). ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... // January 28 - George Lucas creates the second draft of what would eventually become Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. ... Ralph Bakshi (October 29, 1938) is an American director of animated and occasionally live-action films. ... An African American (also Afro-American, Black American, or simply black) is a member of an ethnic group in the United States whose ancestors, usually in predominant part, were indigenous to Africa. ... Organized crime or criminal organizations are groups or operations run by criminals, most commonly for the purpose of generating a monetary profit. ... The Apollo Theater on 125th Street; the Hotel Theresa is visible in the background. ... This article is about political corruption. ... A confidence trick, confidence game, or con for short, (also known as a scam) is an attempt to intentionally mislead a person or persons (known as the mark) usually with the goal of financial or other gain. ... The Mafia (also known as Cosa Nostra), is an Italian criminal secret society which first developed in the mid-19th century in Sicily. ... A live-action/animated film is a motion picture that features a combination of real actors or elements (live action) and animated elements, typically interacting. ... Philip Michael Thomas (May 26, 1949 in Columbus, Ohio) is an American actor. ... Charles Edward Gordone (12 October 1925 - 17 November 1995) He was the first black playwright to win the Pulitzer Prize. ... Barry Eugene White (born Barrence Eugene Carter, September 21, 1944) – July 4, 2003) was a Grammy Award winning American record producer, songwriter and singer responsible for the creation of numerous hit soul and disco songs. ... Benjamin Sherman Scatman Crothers (May 23, 1910 – November 22, 1986) was an African-American actor, singer, dancer and musician. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... George Herriman and some of his fans. ... 1867 edition of the satirical magazine Punch, a British satirical magazine, ground-breaking on popular literature satire. ... Because racism carries connotations of race-based bigotry, prejudice, violence, oppression, stereotyping or discrimination, the term has varying and often hotly contested definitions. ... For the 1996 Blur single, see Stereotypes (song). ... Shaft (1971) Blaxploitation is a film genre that emerged in the United States in the early 1970s when many exploitation films were made that targeted the urban African American audience; the word itself is a portmanteau of the words “black” and “exploitation. ... Song of the South is a feature film produced by Walt Disney Productions, released on November 12, 1946 by RKO Radio Pictures and based on the Uncle Remus cycle of stories by Joel Chandler Harris. ... The Godfather is a 1972 crime film based on the novel of the same name by Mario Puzo and directed by Francis Ford Coppola, with screenplay by Puzo and Coppola. ...


Originally produced under the titles Harlem Nights[2][5] and Coonskin No More...,[1][6] and later re-released under the titles Bustin' Out[1][2] and Street Fight,[2][4] Coonskin encountered extreme controversy before its original theatrical release when the Congress of Racial Equality strongly criticized the content as being racist, although none of the group's members had seen the film.[2][3] When the film was finally released, it was given limited distribution and initially received negative reviews. The film has since been reappraised, with many considering it to be one of Bakshi's finest works.[2][4] The Congress of Racial Equality or CORE is a U.S. civil rights organization that played a pivotal role in the Civil Rights Movement of the 20th century. ...

Contents

Plot

Sampson (Barry White) and the Preacherman (Charles Gordone) rush to help their friend, Randy (Philip Michael Thomas) escape from prison, but are stopped by a roadblock and wind up in a shootout with the police. While waiting for them, Randy unwillingly listens to fellow escapee Pappy (Scatman Crothers), as he begins to tell Randy a story about "three guys [I used to know] just like you and your friends." Pappy's story is told in animation set against live-action background photos and footage. Barry Eugene White (born Barrence Eugene Carter, September 21, 1944) – July 4, 2003) was a Grammy Award winning American record producer, songwriter and singer responsible for the creation of numerous hit soul and disco songs. ... Charles Edward Gordone (12 October 1925 - 17 November 1995) He was the first black playwright to win the Pulitzer Prize. ... Philip Michael Thomas (May 26, 1949 in Columbus, Ohio) is an American actor. ... Benjamin Sherman Scatman Crothers (May 23, 1910 – November 22, 1986) was an African-American actor, singer, dancer and musician. ... The bouncing ball animation (below) consists of these 6 frames. ...

Brother Rabbit, Preacher Fox and Brother Bear.
Brother Rabbit, Preacher Fox and Brother Bear.

Brother Rabbit (voice of Thomas), Brother Bear (voice of White), and Preacher Fox (voice of Gordone) decide to pack up and leave their southern settings after the bank mortgages their home and sells it to a man who turns it into a brothel. Arriving in Harlem, Rabbit, Bear, and Fox find that it isn't all that it's made out to be. They encounter a con man named Simple Savior, a phony revolutionary leader who preports to be the "cousin" of Black Jesus, and that he gives his followers "the strength to kill whites." In a flashy stage performance in his "church," Savior acts out being brutalized by symbols of black oppression—represented by images of John Wayne, Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon, before asking his parishioners for "donations." When Rabbit attempts to stir up anti-revolutionary sentiment, Savior tries to have him killed. After Rabbit saves his life via reverse psychology, he and Bear kill Savior. This allows Rabbit to take over Savior's racket, putting him in line to become the head of all organized crime in Harlem. But first, he has to get rid of a few other opponents. Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Brer Rabbit is a fictional character, the hero of the Uncle Remus stories derived from African American folktales of the Southern United States. ... Brer Bear is a fictional character from the Uncle Remus folktales adapted and compiled by Joel Chandler Harris. ... Brer Fox is a fictional character from the Uncle Remus folktales adapted and compiled by Joel Chandler Harris. ... A brothel, also known as a bordello or whorehouse, is an establishment specifically dedicated to prostitution, providing the prostitutes a place to meet and to have sex with the clients. ... The Apollo Theater on 125th Street; the Hotel Theresa is visible in the background. ... A confidence trick, confidence game, or con for short, (also known as a scam) is an attempt to intentionally mislead a person or persons (known as the mark) usually with the goal of financial or other gain. ... This article is about a musician. ... The 4th edition of Meyers Konversationslexikon (1885-1890) shows the Caucasian race (in blue) as comprising Aryans, Semites and Hamites. The Caucasian race (sometimes called the Caucasoid race) is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as, relating to a broad division of humankind covering peoples from Europe, the Middle East... John Wayne (May 26, 1907 – June 11, 1979) was an iconic, Academy Award-winning, American film actor. ... Elvis Aron Presley (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977), often known simply as Elvis and also called The King of Rock n Roll or simply The King, was an American singer, musician and actor. ... Richard Milhous Nixon (January 9, 1913 – April 22, 1994) was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ...


Rabbit first goes up against Madigan, a virulently racist and homophobic white police officer and bagman for the Mafia, who demonstrates his contempt for African Americans in various ways, including a refusal to bathe before an anticipated encounter with them. When Madigan finds out that Rabbit has been taking his payoffs, he is led to a nightclub called "The Cottontail." A black stripper distracts him while an LSD sugar cube is dropped into his drink. Madigan then is shoved into women's clothing representative of the mammy archetype, adorned in blackface, and maneuvered into a sexual liaison with a stereotypically effeminate homosexual before being shoved out the back of the club where he is shot to death by the police.[4] A protest by The Westboro Baptist Church; a group identified by the Anti-Defamation League as virulently homophobic. ... A police officer is a warranted employee of a police service. ... Ludovic Ludo Bagman is a fictional character who appears in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. ... The Mafia (also known as Cosa Nostra), is an Italian criminal secret society which first developed in the mid-19th century in Sicily. ... A striptease dancer performing. ... Lysergic acid diethylamide, commonly called LSD, LSD-25, or acid. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... This reproduction of a 1900 minstrel show poster, originally published by the Strobridge Litho Co. ... Effeminacy is character trait of a male showing femininity, unmanliness, womanliness, weakness, softness and/or a delicacy, which contradicts traditional masculine, male gender roles. ... Since its coinage, the word homosexuality has acquired multiple meanings. ...


Rabbit's final targets are the Godfather (voice of an uncredited Al Lewis[3][7]) and the Mafia, who live in the subway. The contract for killing Rabbit is given to Sonny (voice of Richard Paul). Showing up outside Rabbit's nightclub in blackface and clothing representative of minstrel show stereotypes, Sonny winds up shot multiple times by Rabbit before dying in an explosion caused by a car crash. Bear becomes torn between staying with Rabbit, or starting a new, crime-free life. Bear decides to look for Fox in order to seek his advice. Under the advisement of Fox, Bear becomes a boxer for the Mafia. During one of Bear's fights, Rabbit sets up a melting imitation of himself made out of tar. As the Mafiosos take turns stabbing at the "tar rabbit," they become stuck together. Rabbit, Bear and Fox rush out of the boxing arena as it blows up. The live-action story ends with Randy and Pappy escaping while being shot at by various white cops, but managing to make it out alive. The Godfather is a 1972 crime film based on the novel of the same name by Mario Puzo and directed by Francis Ford Coppola, with screenplay by Puzo and Coppola. ... Al Lewis (30 April 1923 – 3 February 2006) was an American actor best known for his role as Grandpa on the television series The Munsters. ... A contract killing (also contract murder or murder-for-hire) is a murder in which a killer is hired by another person to murder for material reward, usually money. ... Richard Paul (June 6, 1940-December 25, 1998), is an American actor. ... Detail from cover of The Celebrated Negro Melodies, as Sung by the Virginia Minstrels, 1843 The minstrel show, or minstrelsy, was an American entertainment consisting of comic skits, variety acts, dancing, and music, performed by white people in blackface or, especially after the American Civil War, African Americans in blackface. ... A car accident in Yate, near Bristol, England, in July 2004. ... Tar can be produced from corn stalks by heating in a microwave. ... A tar baby is metaphorically any sticky situation[1] that is only aggravated by efforts to solve it. ...


Production and development

During the production of Heavy Traffic, filmmaker Ralph Bakshi met and developed an instant friendship with producer Albert S. Ruddy during a screening of The Godfather. Bakshi sold Ruddy on making a film based on the Uncle Remus storybooks,[8] which would also contain elements satirizing exploitation films with African American casts.[3] When Steve Krantz, the producer of both Heavy Traffic and Bakshi's debut feature, Fritz the Cat, learned that Bakshi would work with Ruddy, Krantz locked Bakshi out of the studio. After two weeks, Krantz asked Bakshi back to finish the picture, quickly realizing no one could come close to the job.[8] In 1973, production of Coonskin began under the working title Harlem Nights,[2][5] with Paramount Pictures originally attached to distribute the film.[2][8] The title was eventually changed to Coonskin No More...[6] and finally to Coonskin. Bakshi hired several black animators to work on Coonskin and another feature, Hey Good Lookin'. At the time, there were no black animators working at the Walt Disney Company.[2] Heavy Traffic is a 1973 American animated film written and directed by Ralph Bakshi, and originally distributed by American International Pictures. ... Albert S. Ruddy (Born: March 28, 1930) is a Canadian filmmaker. ... The Godfather is a 1972 crime film based on the novel of the same name by Mario Puzo and directed by Francis Ford Coppola, with screenplay by Puzo and Coppola. ... Uncle Remus was a fictional character, the title character and fictional narrator of a collection of African American folktales adapted and compiled by Joel Chandler Harris, published in book form from 1881. ... Exploitation is the name given to genre of films, extant since the earliest days of moviemaking, but popularized in the 1970s. ... An African American (also Afro-American, Black American, or simply black) is a member of an ethnic group in the United States whose ancestors, usually in predominant part, were indigenous to Africa. ... Steve Krantz is a film producer and writer who was most active from 1966 to 1996. ... Fritz the Cat is a 1972 animated film written and directed by Ralph Bakshi as his feature film debut. ... Paramount Pictures Corporation is an American motion picture production and distribution company, based in Hollywood, California. ... Hey Good Lookin is a 1982 animated film written, directed, and produced by Ralph Bakshi. ... The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) is one of the largest media and entertainment corporations in the world. ...

A scene intended to satirize black stereotypes.
A scene intended to satirize black stereotypes.

Coonskin uses a variety of racist caricatures from blackface minstrelsy and darky iconography, including stereotypes featured in Hollywood films and cartoons, presented in a manner that was intended to satirize the racism of the material and images rather than reenforce it.[4] In the book That's Blaxploitation! Roots of the Baadasssss 'Tude (Rated X by an All-Whyte Jury), Darius James writes that "Bakshi pukes the iconagraphic bile of a racist culture back in its stupid, bloated face, wipes his chin and smiles Dirty Harry style. [...] He subverts the context of Hollywood's entire catalogue of racist black iconography through a series of swift cross-edits of original and appropriated footage."[4] The film also features a number of equally exaggerated portrayals of white Southerners, Italians and homosexuals, also presented in a satirical context.[4] According to Bakshi, although producer Albert S. Ruddy was "fine" with the satire, it seemed that no one really knew what Bakshi was up to as he worked on the film. "Every one thought the picture was going to be anti-black. I intended it to be anti-idiot."[7] Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... For the book of comics by Daniel Clowes see Caricature (Daniel Clowes collection) A common caricature of Charles Darwin focuses on his beard, eyebrows, and baldness, while often giving him the features of an ape or monkey. ... This reproduction of a 1900 minstrel show poster, originally published by the Strobridge Litho Co. ... Detail from cover of The Celebrated Negro Melodies, as Sung by the Virginia Minstrels, 1843 The minstrel show, or minstrelsy, was an American entertainment consisting of comic skits, variety acts, dancing, and music, performed by white people in blackface or, especially after the American Civil War, African Americans in blackface. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Darius James, aka Dr. Snakeskin, is the black American author of Thats Blaxploitation: Roots of the Baadasssss Tude (Rated X by an AllWhyte Jury), an unorthodox, semi-autobiographical history of the blaxploitation film genre, and Negrophobia: An Urban Parable, a satiric novel written in screenplay form. ... Dirty Harry is a 1971 film directed by Don Siegel, the first of the series. ... Historic Southern United States. ... Since its coinage, the word homosexuality has acquired multiple meanings. ...


In his review for The Hollywood Reporter, Arthur Knight wrote "Coonskin is not anti-black. Nor is it anti-Jewish, anti-Italian, or anti-American, all of whom fall prey to Bakshi's wicked caricaturist's pen as intensely as any of the blacks in his movie. What Bakshi is against, as this film makes abundantly clear, is the cheats, the rip-off artists, the hypocrites, the phonies, the con men and the organized criminals of this world, regardless of race, color, or creed."[9] The film is most critical in its portrayal of the Mafia. According to Bakshi, "I was incensed at all the hero worship of those guys in The Godfather; Pacino and Caan did such a great job of making you like them. [...] One thing that stunned me about The Godfather movie: here's a mother who gives birth to children, and her husband essentially gets all her sons killed. In Coonskin, she gets her revenge, but also gets shot. She turns into a butterfly and gets crushed. [...] These guys don't give you any room."[3] The word Jew ( Hebrew: יהודי) is used in a wide number of ways, but generally refers to a follower of the Jewish faith, a child of a Jewish mother, or someone of Jewish descent with a connection to Jewish culture or ethnicity and often a combination... The Mafia (also known as Cosa Nostra), is an Italian criminal secret society which first developed in the mid-19th century in Sicily. ... The Godfather is a 1972 crime film based on the novel of the same name by Mario Puzo and directed by Francis Ford Coppola, with screenplay by Puzo and Coppola. ... Pacino (right) in The Godfather (1972) Alfredo James Pacino (born April 25, 1940) is an Academy Award- Golden Globe,Bafta, Emmy Award- and Tony Award-winning American stage and film actor who played such iconic roles as Michael Corleone in The Godfather Trilogy and Tony Montana in the 1983 film... James Langston Edmund Caan (born March 26, 1940) is an American Academy Award, Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated American film, stage and television actor. ...


Casting

The live-action sequences feature singers Barry White and Scatman Crothers, actor and playwright Charles Gordone, and actors Philip Michael Thomas, Danny Rees and Buddy Douglas. Thomas, Gordone and White also provide the voices of the film's main animated characters. In the film's ending credits, the actors were only credited for their live-action roles, and all voice actors who did not appear in the live-action sequences were left entirely uncredited. Among the voices featured in the film was Al Lewis, best known for appearing as Grandpa on The Munsters.[3][7] According to Bakshi, the entire cast "[was] all a little nervous, except for Charles Grodone, who plays Preacher/Brother Fox. [...] He was ecstatic about the chance to do this. Whenever I had doubts, he'd reassure me, 'Rait on, motherfucker!' [...] Barry and Charles were behind it 1,000 percent."[3] Bakshi also worked with Gordone on the film Heavy Traffic,[10] and worked with Thomas again on the film Hey Good Lookin'.[11] Barry Eugene White (born Barrence Eugene Carter, September 21, 1944) – July 4, 2003) was a Grammy Award winning American record producer, songwriter and singer responsible for the creation of numerous hit soul and disco songs. ... Benjamin Sherman Scatman Crothers (May 23, 1910 – November 22, 1986) was an African-American actor, singer, dancer and musician. ... Charles Edward Gordone (12 October 1925 - 17 November 1995) He was the first black playwright to win the Pulitzer Prize. ... Philip Michael Thomas (May 26, 1949 in Columbus, Ohio) is an American actor. ... Al Lewis (30 April 1923 – 3 February 2006) was an American actor best known for his role as Grandpa on the television series The Munsters. ... The Munsters was a 1960s American television sitcom depicting the home life of a family of horror movie monsters. ...


Directing

Ralph Bakshi grew up in a mostly African American and Jewish neighborhood in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, New York. The experience of living in this area was a major influence on his work. While designing the look of Fritz the Cat, Heavy Traffic and Coonskin, Bakshi empathized an intentionally crude quality in the animation. He is quoted as saying "What I was trying to do was relate to the person in the street. I was looking for a sort of Graffiti Art feel—the colors, the structure, a certain crudeness of backgrounds. I even used grainy films at times. The important thing to me was to relate to a certain type of person that I grew up with. To do what I call an art of the street, a 'Ghetto Art.' It's my form of expression."[4] Bakshi has also stated "The art of cartooning is vulgarity. The only reason for cartooning to exist is to be on the edge. If you only take apart what they allow you to take apart, you're Disney. Cartooning is a low-class, for-the-public art, just like graffiti art and rap music. Vulgar but believable, that's the line I kept walking."[7] Brownsville is the name of several places in the United States of America: Brownsville, California Brownsville, Florida Brownsville, Kentucky Brownsville, Maryland Brownsville, Minnesota Brownsville, Ohio Brownsville, Oregon Brownsville, Pennsylvania Brownsville, Tennessee Brownsville, Texas (The first two battles of the Mexican-American War were fought neart this city. ... For other meanings, see Brooklyn (disambiguation). ... Graffiti (strictly, as singular, graffito, from the Italian — graffiti being the plural) are images or letters applied without permission to publicly viewable surfaces such as walls or bridges. ... Hip hop music is a style of music which came into existence in the United States during the mid-1970s, and became a large part of modern pop culture during the 1980s. ...


Coonskin uses a variety of different styles of artwork, filmmaking and storytelling techniques. Film critic Leonard Maltin wrote that Coonskin "remains one of [Bakshi's] most exciting films, both visually and conceptually."[7] The use of a live-action frame story is a satirical reference to Walt Disney's Song of the South.[3] These sequences were shot in Oklahoma. The El Reno state prison was one of the locations used during filming. A week after Bakshi and his crew left, the prison was burned during a riot.[3] The film also uses live-action photographs and footage as backdrops for animated sequences, a filmmaking technique Bakshi previously employed in Heavy Traffic. The filming of live-action footage also helped contribute elements to the film's story. According to Bakshi, while shooting live-action background footage on Times Square at 4 A.M., a group of prostitutes came out and waved towards the camera before being chased off by the police. "That happened by accident, but we put it in the film. I never could have written anything that real in the script."[3] Leonard Maltin (born December 18, 1950 in New York City) is a widely known and respected American film critic. ... For the company founded by Disney, see The Walt Disney Company. ... Song of the South is a feature film produced by Walt Disney Productions, released on November 12, 1946 by RKO Radio Pictures and based on the Uncle Remus cycle of stories by Joel Chandler Harris. ... Official language(s) None Capital Oklahoma City Largest city Oklahoma City Area  Ranked 20th  - Total 69,960 sq mi (181,196 km²)  - Width 230 miles (370 km)  - Length 298 miles (480 km)  - % water 1. ... El Reno is a city located in Canadian County, Oklahoma in the central part of the state. ... Times Square Broadway at 42nd St. ... Prostitution is the sale of sexual services (typically manual stimulation, oral sex, sexual intercourse, or anal sex) for cash or other kind of return, generally indiscriminately with many persons. ...


Writing

Darius James writes that Coonskin "reads like an Uncle Remus folktale rewritten by Chester Himes with all the Yoruba-based surrealism of Nigerian-author Amos Tutuola."[4] The film directly references the original African folk tales that the Uncle Remus storybooks were based on in two scenes that are directly reminiscent of the stories The Briar Patch and The Tar Baby.[4] Writer and former pimp Iceberg Slim is briefly referenced in the dialogue of Preacher Fox, and the Liston-Ali fights are referenced in the film's final act, in which Brother Bear, like Sonny Liston, is sold out to the Mafia.[7] The film also features a pastiche of cartoonist George Herriman and columnist Don Marquis' "Archy and Mehitabel," in a monologue about a cockroach that leaves the woman who loves him. Bakshi has stated that Herriman, a light-skinned African American Creole, is his favorite cartoonist.[3][4] According to Bakshi, the scene "is based on personal experiences of black men I knew who couldn't afford to feed their families, so they left because they couldn't stand to see them suffer."[3] Chester Bomar Himes (July 29, 1909 – November 12, 1984) was a famous African American writer. ... The Yoruba (Yorùbá in Yoruba orthography) are a large ethno-linguistic group or ethnic nation in Africa; the majority of them speak the Yoruba language (èdèe Yorùbá; èdè = language). ... Yves Tanguy Indefinite Divisibility 1942 Surrealism[1] is a cultural movement that began in the mid-1920s, and is best known for the visual artworks and writings of the group members. ... Amos Tutuola (June 20, 1920 - June 8, 1997) was a Nigerian writer famous for his books based in part on Yoruba folk-tales. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Iceberg Slim (August 4, 1918 – April 28, 1992), also known as Robert Beck and born as Robert Lee Maupin, was an African American writer who started out as a pimp and whose writings were particularly successful among black audiences; his descriptions of the pimp lifestyle had considerable influence on African... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Charles L. Sonny Liston (May 8?, 1932 – December 30?, 1970), was a formidable boxer who became world heavyweight champion in 1962 by knocking out Floyd Patterson in the first round, the first time Patterson had been knocked out for a count of 10. ... Don Marquis (July 29, 1878 - December 29, 1937) was an American poet, artist, newspaper columnist, humorist, playwright and author; best known for creating the characters Archy and Mehitabel. Archy was a cockroach who left poems on Marquiss typewriter by jumping on the keys, and Mehitabel, a cat, was Archy... This article is about an ethnic culture in Louisiana, USA. For uses of the term Creole in other countries and cultures, see Creole (disambiguation). ...


Of the writing process, Bakshi stated "The way I worked was that everyone recorded the script. But then I would change my opinion over the course of the year I made the film. I read every black culture book I could get a hand on. Then my opinion on these matters would change. I ran my own studio—I had no boss. I was the director and the writer. I would write and rewrite and record all year. I was always in a state of flux in my films; the process was as important as a finished project."[3] In another interview, Bakshi stated "In Coonskin, I was able to stop an entire movie and integrate Miss America poems. I would do two or three movies within a movie. I would use subtext of ideas and go with it wherever I felt it should go. That, to me, is extremely exciting – improvisational almost poetry, in a sense. I love Bukowski."[12] Henry Charles Bukowski (August 16, 1920 – March 9, 1994) was an influential Los Angeles poet and novelist. ...


Music

The film's musical score was written and performed by jazz drummer and bandleader Chico Hamilton. The film's opening credits feature Scatman Crothers performing a song called "Ah'm a Nigger Man." Crothers wrote the music, and its lyrics were written by Bakshi himself, containing the lines "Ah'm the minstrel man/Ah'm the cleaning man/Ah'm the poor man/Ah'm the shoe shine man/Ah'm a Nigger Man/Watch me dance!" Bakshi had also wanted to use the song "Maggie's Farm" by Bob Dylan in the film, but was unable to get the rights.[13] There has been no soundtrack album released to date. For other article subjects named Jazz see jazz (disambiguation). ... Bass drum made from wood, rope, and cowskin A drum is a musical instrument in the percussion group that can be large, technically classified as a membranophone. ... A bandleader is the director of a band of musicians. ... Foreststorn Hamilton, better known as Chico Hamilton (born September 21, 1921 in Los Angeles) is a jazz drummer. ... Maggies Farm is a song by Bob Dylan. ... Bob Dylan (born Robert Allen Zimmerman, May 24, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter, author, musician, and poet who has been a major figure in popular music for five decades. ... A soundtrack album is any album that incorporates music from a particular feature film. ...


Controversy

In order to attempt a contract killing on Brother Rabbit, white mobster Sonny disguises himself in blackface and clothing representative of minstrel show iconography, and uses a gun hidden in a banjo.
In order to attempt a contract killing on Brother Rabbit, white mobster Sonny disguises himself in blackface and clothing representative of minstrel show iconography, and uses a gun hidden in a banjo.

When the film was finished, a showing was planned at the Museum of Modern Art. In a 1980 interview, Bakshi stated, "the museum had seen the film and loved it, a breakthrough in animation. They set up a very special night to screen it for film people."[2] The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) surrounded the building before anyone had seen it yet, in a protest led by Al Sharpton.[3] According to Bakshi, "The room was filled, although there weren't many protesters from CORE there, eight or nine. Screaming, 'You can't watch this film!' People pulling people out of their seats. It was that kind of night. The audience was very frightened. They were being attacked verbally throughout the movie. People kept running up and down the aisles in pitch blackness."[2] Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... A contract killing (also contract murder or murder-for-hire) is a murder in which a killer is hired by another person to murder for material reward, usually money. ... Whites redirects here. ... Mobster is a slang term for a person who participates in organized crime, which is known as belonging to the Mob. In western stories and movies, cowboys as mobsters are known as outlaws. ... This reproduction of a 1900 minstrel show poster, originally published by the Strobridge Litho Co. ... Detail from cover of The Celebrated Negro Melodies, as Sung by the Virginia Minstrels, 1843 The minstrel show, or minstrelsy, was an American entertainment consisting of comic skits, variety acts, dancing, and music, performed by white people in blackface or, especially after the American Civil War, African Americans in blackface. ... Look up Iconography in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... A gun is a common name given to an object that fires high-velocity projectiles. ... For other uses, see Banjo (disambiguation) A modern 5-string banjo The banjo is a stringed instrument of African American origin adapted from several African instruments. ... View across garden, in new MoMA building by Yoshio Taniguchi. ... The Congress of Racial Equality or CORE is a U.S. civil rights organization that played a pivotal role in the Civil Rights Movement of the 20th century. ... Alfred Charles Al Sharpton Jr. ...


In a 1982 interview, Bakshi stated "I had finished the film on a Friday, I screened it in California for the museum on a Monday, and on Wednesday when I came to New York to screen it there were pickets there. I brought the film on the plane with me, and no one had seen it but my animators and two guys from the museum. But there were pickets there, shouting that the film was racist. I never saw anything so set up in my life, but the press never picked up on that."[2]


Bakshi asked Sharpton why he didn't come in and see the movie. In response, Sharpton announced, "I don't got to see shit; I can smell shit!"[3] According to Bakshi, "[Sharpton] brought in some bruisers, and I could hear them asking, 'Should we beat him up or cool it?' 'Ah, let's watch the film.'"[3] "They were geared to dislike it" says Bakshi. "They were booing at the titles! I guess it was an easy target. Or they were paid to do it. I don't know. It was very unusual. They were booing at something they hadn't even seen. This was interesting to me."[4] After the screening, Sharpton charged up to the screen, but according to Bakshi "there wasn't anyone behind him. He could hear voices behind him, 'It wasn't that bad!'"[3]


Gregg Kilday of The Los Angeles Times interviewed Larry Kardish, a museum staff member, and Kardish recalled that "About halfway into the film about ten members of CORE showed up. They walked up and down the aisles and were very belligerent. In my estimation they were determined not to like the film. Apparently some of their friends had read the script of the movie and in their belief it was detrimental to the image of blacks [...] The question-and-answer session with Bakshi that followed quickly collapsed into the chaos of a shouting match."[14] The Los Angeles Times (also L.A. Times) is a daily newspaper published in Los Angeles, California and distributed throughout the Western United States. ...


According to animation historian Jerry Beck, he did not recall any disturbance during the screening, but there were racist catcalls during the question-and-answer session, and Bakshi's talk was cut short. "It wasn't much of a madhouse, but it was kind of wild for the Museum of Modern Art."[2] According to Bakshi, "there were five people who were very angry at me and were very vocal. There were two hundred people sitting in their seats that applauded the film tremendously. It's always the five people in a room that want to scream, and those are the ones that are going to be heard. That's what really happened. I laughed at the controversy."[15] According to Ruddy, he had been told that "there were about four hundred people there. I think ten or fifteen blacks took objection to some of the things, and they had somewhat of a scream-out with Ralph at the end [...] It was also for the board of the museum. They loved it. They thought it was a classic."[2] Jerry Beck (born February 9, 1955) is a well known animation historian, with ten books and numerous articles to his credit. ...


Following the showing, the Paramount Building in New York City was picketed by CORE. Elaine Parker, chairman of the Harlem chapter of CORE, had spoken out against the film in January 1975. She told Variety that the film "depicts us as slaves, hustlers and whores. It's a racist film to me, and very insulting [...] If it is released, there's no telling what we might do." The Los Angeles chapter of CORE demanded that Paramount not release the film, claiming that it was "highly objectionable to the black community."[16] The NAACP had written a letter describing the film as a difficult satire, but supported it.[4] Bakshi has stated, "The film was positive black in a huge way. It shows what white people think of blacks. I'm not a racist. I couldn't understand it and I still can't. If I were a racist for the Ku Klux Klan, I could understand it. But how could I understand the booing?"[4] New York, New York and NYC redirect here. ... Variety is a daily newspaper for the entertainment industry. ... The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), is one of the oldest and most influential hate organizations in the United States. ... Members of the second Ku Klux Klan at a rally during the 1920s. ...


With Paramount's permission, Bakshi and Ruddy got contractually released, and the Bryanston Distributing Company was assigned the rights to the film.[2][4] Two weeks after the film opened, the distributor went bankrupt.[2][4] According to a May 1975 issue of The Hollywood Reporter, Ben Gage was hired to rerecord Barry White's voice track, in order to remove "racist references and vulgarity."[17] Coonskin was given limited distribution, advertised as a blaxploitation film. Roger Ebert wrote in his review of the film: This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Ben Gage (b. ... Roger Joseph Ebert (June 18, 1942) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American film critic. ...

Coonskin is said by its director to be about blacks and for whites, and by its ads to be for blacks and against whites. Its title was originally intended to break through racial stereotypes by its bluntness, but now the ads say the hero and his pals are out "to get the Man to stop calling them coonskin." The movie's original distributor, Paramount, dropped it after pressure from black groups. Now it's being sold by Bryanston as an attack on the system. [...] Coonskin is provocative, original and deserves better than being sold as the very thing it's not.[18] The Man does not usually refer to a specific individual as such, but instead to the government, leaders of large corporations, and other authority figures in general, such as the police. ...

According to Bakshi, when Martin Scorsese was filming second-unit material for Taxi Driver near Times Square, a smoke bomb was thrown into a theater showing Coonskin, and Scorsese sent Bakshi footage of audience members running out of the theater. "I didn't know whether to laugh or cry, but it's okay now."[3] Martin Marcantonio Luciano Scorsese (IPA: AmE: ; Ita: []) (born November 17, 1942) is an Academy Award, Golden Globe, BAFTA, and Directors Guild of America award winning American film director, writer and producer and founder World Cinema Foundation. ... This article is about the 1976 American film. ... Times Square Broadway at 42nd St. ... Home made smoke powder burning Smoke bombs are a firework designed to produce colored smoke upon ignition. ...


In a 1982 article published in The Village Voice, Carol Cooper wrote "Coonskin was driven out of theaters by a misguided minority, most of whom had never seen the film. CORE's pickets at Paramount's Gulf + Western headquarters and, later, a few smoke bombs lobbed into packed Broadway theaters were enough; theater owners were intimidated, and the auxiliary distributor, Bryanston, couldn't book the film. Bye-Bye Coonskin."[19] The Village Voice is a weekly newspaper in New York City featuring investigative articles, analysis of current affairs and culture, arts reviews and events listings for New York City. ... Gulf and Western Industries, Inc. ...


Critical response

Initial reviews of the film were negative. Playboy said of the film, "Bakshi seems to throw in a little of everything and he can't quite pull it together."[2] A review published in The Village Voice called the film "the product of a crippled hand and a paralyzed mind."[20] Arthur Cooper wrote in Newsweek, "[Bakshi] doesn't have much affection for man or woman kind—black or white."[21] Eventually, positive reviews appeared in the New York Times, the Hollywood Reporter, the New York Amsterdam News (an African American newspaper), and elsewhere, but the film died at the box office.[2] Richard Eder of The New York Times wrote, "[Coonskin] could be his masterpiece [...] a shattering successful effort to use an uncommon form—cartoons and live action combined—to convey the hallucinatory violence and frustration of American city life, specifically black city life [...] lyrically violent, yet in no way [does it] exploit violence."[22] Variety called the film a "brutal satire from the streets. Not for all tastes [...] not avant-garde. [...] The target audience is youth who read comics in the undergrounds."[23] A reviewer for The Los Angeles Herald Examiner wrote "Certainly, it will outrage some and indeed it's not Disney. I liked it. The dialogue it has obviously generated—if not the box office obstacles—seems jotingly healthy."[24] Playboy is an American Mens magazine, founded in 1953 by Hugh Hefner and his associates, which has grown into Playboy Enterprises, Inc. ... The Newsweek logo Newsweek is a weekly news magazine published in New York City and distributed throughout the United States and internationally. ... The New York Times is a daily newspaper published in New York City by Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The New York Amsterdam News is a weekly newspaper geared for the African-American community of New York City. ...


Legacy

Coonskin was later re-released under the title Bustin' Out, but it was not a success.[2] The film developed a cult following through home video releases and film festivals. According to Bakshi, "The film was very popular with black audiences. Let 'em laugh at what they always laugh at, then catch them off guard, which is what I do in all my films."[4] Fans of the film include film directors Spike Lee[3] and Quentin Tarantino, who spoke about the film for thirty minutes at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival, where he presided as president of the jury,[25] and the Wu-Tang Clan, who expressed interest in producing a sequel[25][26] Bakshi is quoted as saying "Coonskin had a very early [form of] rap. I called it shouting because I read in black history [that] slaves used to shout their frustration."[25] According to Bakshi, Richard Pryor was also a supporter of the film. Darius James quotes Bakshi as saying "Pryor loves it! He thinks it's great!" James' book also states that Bakshi wanted to work with Pryor on a live-action/animated film based on Pryor's stand-up comedy.[4] Bakshi is quoted as saying "I get emails from new fans all the time on it. Some can't believe I'm white."[7] In 2003, the Online Film Critics Society ranked the film as the 97th greatest animated film of all time.[27] Coonskin was released on VHS by Academy Entertainment in 1987, and later by Xenon Entertainment Group in the 1990s, both under the re-release title, Street Fight.[2][4] Home video releases in the United Kingdom, however, used the original theatrical release title.[28] The film has not been released on DVD. This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The home video business rents and sells videocassettes and DVDs to the public. ... This section has been identified as trivia. ... Quentin Jerome Tarantino (born March 27, 1963) is an American film director, actor, and Academy Award-winning screenwriter. ... // Quentin Tarantino, President (United States) Emmanuelle Béart (France) Edwidge Danticat (United States) Tilda Swinton (United Kingdom) Kathleen Turner (United States) Benoît Poelvoorde (Belgium) Jerry Schatzberg (United States) Tsui Hark (Hong Kong) Peter Von Bagh (Finland) 2046, by Wong Kar-wai Clean, by Olivier Assayas Le Conseguenze DellAmore... // The Wu-Tang Clan is a New York-based rap group, consisting of nine American rappers who are Grammy winners, multiplatinum-selling solo artists, multiplatinum record producers, film stars, screenwriters, TV stars, product spokespersons, business owners and, most recently, major motion picture composers. ... Richard Franklin Lennox Thomas Pryor III (December 1, 1940 – December 10, 2005) was an American comedian, actor, and writer. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... The Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) , the professional association for film journalists, scholars and historians who publish their reviews, interviews and essays exclusively or primarily in the online media. ... Xenon Entertainment Group is a distribution company. ... DVD (Digital Versatile Disc or Digital Video Disc) is an optical disc storage media format that can be used for data storage, including movies with high video and sound quality. ...


References

  1. ^ a b c d e Release info for Coonskin (1975). Internet Movie Database. Retrieved on 2007-05-25.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Cohen, Karl F (1997). Forbidden Animation: Censored Cartoons and Blacklisted Animators in America. North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc., pages 84–88. ISBN 0-7864-0395-0. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Busack, Richard von. Here He Comes to Save the Day: An interview with Cinequest Maverick Spirit honoree Ralph Bakshi. San Jose Metro. Retrieved on 2007-03-25.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u James, Darius (1995). That's Blaxploitation!: Roots of the Baadasssss 'Tude (Rated X by an All-Whyte Jury), pages 117–123. ISBN 0312131925. 
  5. ^ a b Kanfer, Stefan (2001). Serious Business: The Art and Commerce of Animation in America from Betty Boop to Toy Story. Da Capo, page 205. ISBN 9780306809187. 
  6. ^ a b Puchalski, Steven (2002). Slimetime: A Guide to Sleazy, Mindless Movies. Critical Vision, pages 72–73. ISBN 1900486210. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Busack, Richard von. Monstrosious! Rudy Ray Moore and Coonskin at Cinequest: the black hero of the 1970s on the fringe. San Jose Metro. Retrieved on 2007-03-25.
  8. ^ a b c Biography. Ralph Bakshi.com. Retrieved on 2007-03-25.
  9. ^ Knight, Arthur (August 8, 1975). Review of Coonskin. The Hollywood Reporter. 
  10. ^ Charles Gordone filmography. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved on 2007-06-10.
  11. ^ Philip Michael Thomas filmography. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved on 2007-06-10.
  12. ^ P., Ken (May 25, 2004). An Interview with Ralph Bakshi. IGN. Retrieved on 2007-03-25.
  13. ^ Bakshi Board Exclusive Interview #6. Ralph Bakshi Forum (November 02, 2006). Retrieved on 2007-03-25.
  14. ^ Los Angeles Times (June 8, 1975). As cited by Karl F. Cohen in Forbidden Animation: Censored Cartoons and Blacklisted Animators in America. 
  15. ^ (June 8, 1975) Paramount Turns Back Release on Coonskin. The Hollywood Reporter. 
  16. ^ Variety (January 15, 1975). As cited by Karl F. Cohen in Forbidden Animation: Censored Cartoons and Blacklisted Animators in America. 
  17. ^ The Hollywood Reporter (May 9, 1975). As cited by Karl F. Cohen in Forbidden Animation: Censored Cartoons and Blacklisted Animators in America. 
  18. ^ Ebert, Roger (January 1, 1975). Review of Coonskin. Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved on 2007-03-25.
  19. ^ Cooper, Carol (August 17, 1982). Coroner's Inquest into the Killing of Coonskin. The Village Voice. 
  20. ^ (August 22, 1975) Review of Coonskin. The Village Voice. 
  21. ^ Cooper, Arthur (August 18, 1975). Review of Coonskin. Newsweek. 
  22. ^ Eder, Richard (August 24, 1975). Review of Coonskin. The New York Times. 
  23. ^ (August 13, 1975) Review of Coonskin. Variety. 
  24. ^ (August 20, 1975) Review of Coonskin. The Los Angeles Herald Examiner. 
  25. ^ a b c King, Susan (April 24, 2005). Bakshi's game of cat and mouse. LA Times. Retrieved on 2007-03-25.
  26. ^ Epstein, Daniel Robert. Ralph Bakshi Interview. UGO.com Film/TV. Retrieved on 2007-01-16.
  27. ^ Top 100 Animated Features of All Time. Online Film Critics Society. Retrieved on 2007-03-25.
  28. ^ ASIN: B00004CYNR. Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved on 2007-06-06.

The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) is an online database of information about movies, actors, television shows, production crew personnel, and video games. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ... is the 145th day of the year (146th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Richard von Busack is a film reviewer based in San Jose, California. ... The San Jose Metro is a free weekly newspaper based in San Jose, California, that serves the greater San Francisco Bay Area. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ... is the 84th day of the year (85th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Richard von Busack is a film reviewer based in San Jose, California. ... The San Jose Metro is a free weekly newspaper based in San Jose, California, that serves the greater San Francisco Bay Area. ... 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