Entertainment Earth


Entertainment Earth


"I once dated Jessica. She dumped me for the rabbit."

- W.J. Flywheel, Webporium Curator


Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a 1988 film, produced by Disney subsidiary Touchstone and Amblin Entertainment, that combines animation and live action. The film takes place in a fictionalized Los Angeles in 1947, where animated characters (always referred to as "Toons") are real beings who live and work alongside humans in the real world, most of them as actors in animated cartoons. At $70 million, it was one of the most expensive films ever at the time of its release, but it proved a sound investment that eventually brought in over $150 million during its original theatrical release.

The film is notable for offering a unique chance to see many cartoon characters from different studios interacting in a single film and for being one of the last appearances by voice artists Mel Blanc and Mae Questel from animation's Golden Era.

The live-action sequences were directed by Robert Zemeckis and mostly filmed at Elstree film studios in Hertfordshire, England. The animated sequences were directed by Richard Williams and produced at his London animation studio. The film stars Bob Hoskins, Christopher Lloyd, Joanna Cassidy and the voice of Charles Fleischer. The screenplay was adapted by screenwriters Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman from the 1981 novel Who Censored Roger Rabbit? by Gary K. Wolf, and the music was composed by perennial Zemeckis film composer Alan Silvestri and performed by the London Symphony Orchestra. It was released by Buena Vista Distribution under its Touchstone Pictures division.

The lack of question mark in the title is allegedly due to a superstition that films with a question mark in the title do badly at the box office.

The plot of the film is derived from the infamous General Motors streetcar conspiracy, in which General Motors, Standard Oil and Firestone Tires allegedly formed the National City Lines holding company that bought out and deliberately destroyed the Los Angeles Red Car trolley system in the 1940s and 1950s. (Similarly, the Key System trolley cars in the San Francisco Bay Area suffered the same fate.) In the film, the real-life role of NCL is filled by the fictional "Cloverleaf Industries," owned solely by Judge Doom.

Much of the cinematography and several scenes of the film are a homage to Roman Polanski's Chinatown.

As many as 100 separate pieces of film were optically combined to incorporate the animated and live-action elements. The animated characters themselves were hand-drawn without computer animation; analogue optical effects were used for adding shadows and lighting to the Toons to give them a more "realistic," three-dimensional appearance.

A slightly earlier draft of the screenplay revealed Judge Doom also to be the hunter who mortally shot Bambi's mother, thus providing more insight into his sadistic, cruel, and calloused nature towards his fellow Toons. However, Disney allegedly nixed the idea, most likely believing the idea to be overkill and not wanting to scare younger audiences with the character more than necessary for the emotional purpose of the movie. In the graphic novel Roger Rabbit: The Resurrection of Doom, it is revealed that Doom's real name was Baron von Rotten, and that he played villains in old cartoons, until one day, he was knocked unconscious and woke up thinking he was a real villain.

The film's credits run for nearly ten minutes. At the time of its release, Roger Rabbit held the record for having the longest end credits sequence in cinema history.


Official Shop of Cartoon Network

Although test screenings proved disastrous, Roger Rabbit opened to generally positive reviews on June 21, 1988. Both Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert included the film on their lists of ten favorite films of 1988, with Ebert calling it "sheer, enchanted entertainment from the first frame to the last - a joyous, giddy, goofy celebration" The movie won four Academy Awards: Best Effects, Sound Effects Editing; Best Effects, Visual Effects; Best Film Editing; and a Special Award for Richard Williams for "animation direction and creation of the cartoon characters". The film received four further nominations: Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Best Cinematography and Best Sound.

Jessica Rabbit's look was designed after Veronica Lake. Jessica even sports Lake's trademark "Peek-a-Boo" hairstyle.

The film featured the last major voice role for two legendary cartoon voice artists: Mel Blanc (voicing Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny, Tweety Bird and also Sylvester in a one-line cameo) and Mae Questel (voicing Betty Boop, but not Olive Oyl, as none of the Fleischer characters appear in the film). Blanc (who would shortly pass away at the age of 81) did not do Yosemite Sam's voice in the movie, done instead by Joe Alaskey. (Blanc had admitted that in his later years he was no longer able to do the "yelling" voices such as Sam's, which were very rough on his vocal cords. There was a Foghorn Leghorn scene recorded but cut which also utilised Alaskey for the same reason.) Blanc also does Porky Pig, who gets the last line of the film, dressed as a policeman. That last line, naturally, is "That's All, Folks!" The Disney character Tinkerbell then brings the film to a close with the wave of her pixie-dust splashing wand.

Despite being produced by Disney's Touchstone Pictures division (in association with Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment), Roger Rabbit also marked the first (and to date, only) time that characters from several animation studios (including Universal, MGM, Republic, Turner Entertainment, and Warner Bros.) appeared in one film. This allowed the first-ever meetings between Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse. A contract was signed between Disney and Warner stating that their respective icons, Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny, would each receive exactly the same amount of screen time. This is why the script had Bugs, Mickey, and Eddie together in one scene falling from a skyscraper; in this scene, the mouse and the rabbit speak the same exact number of words of dialogue, as per the contract. However, a split-second shot of Bugs is seen just before the scene changes to the red car stopping. Also the speakeasy scene features the first and only meeting of Daffy Duck and Donald Duck performing a unique dueling piano act.

The film was disliked by Chuck Jones, the famed animation director best known for his work at Warner Bros. Jones himself storyboarded the piano duel between Donald and Daffy Duck, but he felt that the version of the scene in the final film was horrible. Jones also felt that Richard Williams had become too subservient to Robert Zemeckis.

Eventually, several additional animated shorts featuring Roger Rabbit, Jessica Rabbit, and Baby Herman would be released. These shorts were presented in front of various Touchstone/Disney features in an attempt to revive short subject animation as a part of the movie-going experience. These shorts include Tummy Trouble released in front of Honey, I Shrunk The Kids (this was included on the original video release of the film), Roller Coaster Rabbit shown in front of Dick Tracy and Trail Mix-Up shown in front of A Far Off Place. They were all released on video in 1996 on a tape called The Best of Roger Rabbit, and in 2003 on a special edition DVD of Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Tummy Trouble was produced at the main Walt Disney Feature Animation studio in Burbank, California and the other two shorts Roller Coaster Rabbit & Trail Mix-Up were produced at the satellite studio located at Disney-MGM Studios in Orlando, Florida.


General- Disney Collectibles

GameStop, Inc.


Save 10-20% on kids comics and graphic novels at TFAW.com!

My Neat Stuff Hall of Fame Look


Content intended for informational and educational purposes under the GNU Free Documentation Areement
and is not affiliated with the Walt Disney Company.
Disney logos, content and images copyright © Walt Disney


Original material © Copyright 2024myneatstuff.ca - All other material © Copyright their respective owners.

When wasting time on the interweb why not visit our Kasey and Company Cartoon site?