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Who Framed Roger Rabbit

It's the story of a man, a woman, and a rabbit in a triangle of trouble. 

Year: 1988 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC U Cert – Universal 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  

Most people remember Who Framed Roger Rabbit as being an enjoyable kids film. However few remember that the film collected four Oscars, with many thinking director Robert Zemeckis was unlucky not to get the fifth, though he eventually made up for this by getting his hands on the small statue for the far shallower and more childish Forest Gump.

The story takes place in 1947, with the feel of a combination of Howard Hawks, Humphrey Bogart and Raymond Chandler gangster movies, where cartoon star Roger is worried that his wife Jessica is playing pattycake with someone else, so the studio hires detective Eddie Valiant (Hoskins) to snoop on her. But the stakes are quickly raised when Roger is framed for murder.

What sets Who Framed Roger Rabbit out from the crowd is it's groundbreaking interaction between the live and animated characters, a feat so grand that Terry Gilliam considered directing this movie, but decided it would be too difficult. Despite the lack of one of Hollywood's most left-field directors the film still managed to stray from the mainstream and whilst a scene where Jessica pulls off her stocking as she was sitting cross-legged was cut the censor missed the brief few frames where some slightly perverted animators revealed that she was wearing very little under that dress. (Just after the taxi crashes into the lamppost before you ask.)

The film is also the first and only time that Warner Bros and Disney allowed their top cartoon characters to appear in the same film, making the café scene with Robert De Niro and Al Pacino in Heat seem pretty small fry by comparison. Hence we get to Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse on screen at the same time, Donald and Daffy Duck performing a riotous piano routine and Betty Boop pouting because she is only in black and white, unlike the glamorous Jessica, whose voice was performed by an uncredited Kathleen Turner.

Bob Hoskins and Christopher Lloyd have a field day with their characters, relishing the chance to let rip in the ultimate knockabout movie. Whilst the common wisdom dictates Toy Story, Snow White or Fantasia are perceived to be the greatest animated features there are many who justifiably give Roger Rabbit that title. And with a top-quality 70mm print to appreciate the technical trickery you'd be a fool to miss it.

David Goody

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Screenings of this film:

2000/2001 Spring Term (35mm)