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SLCC FanX: 'Roger Rabbit' is still a colorful noir after over 25 years

"Who Framed Roger Rabbit" is celebrated at Salt Lake Comic Con Fan X
"Who Framed Roger Rabbit" is celebrated at Salt Lake Comic Con Fan X
Courtesy of Touchstone Pictures

Having celebrated its 25th anniversary last year, Who Framed Roger Rabbit is still one of the most celebrated films of all time. Not only a remarkable, ground-breaking achievement in filmmaking, but an unforgettable benchmark in cinema, Roger Rabbit still touches audiences of all ages, making it relevant still after two-and-a-half decades.

It was this fact, among others, that were discussed in great detail during the panel entitled “Why Who Framed Roger Rabbit is One of the Greatest Noir Films Ever Made”. Along with Big Shiny Robot's Bryan Young and Granite Flats sound mixer Michaela Ball, moderator Jeff Vice (Cinephiled.com) discussed the many virtues of the film.

“It has all the makings of a great film noir,” Vice said. “It has the flawed hero in Eddie Valiant, the femme fatale in Jessica Rabbit, and a Dashell Hammond-like plot.”

“Even now, I trip over my words trying to explain how amazing Roger Rabbit is,” Young enthusiastically confessed. “For animators, this is sort of a gateway drug for them in its filming techniques, and it was my first foray in film noir, opening the doors to films like Chinatown and Double Indemnity.”

The panelists weren't afraid to talk about Gary Wolf's original novel Who Censored Roger Rabbit, which the movie was very loosely based upon.

“With any [novel] adaptation,” Ball explained, “obviously there are going to be things that the movie is not going to include, so the filmmakers made the best movie they could at the time.”

“And let's think of it this way,” Vice added, “had Roger Rabbit been closer to the book, we would probably not be here talking about this movie. It's possible it wouldn't have been as compelling a film.”

To the surprise of everyone attending the panel, Charles Fleischer, who had voiced Roger Rabbit, Benny the Cab and weasels Greasy and Psycho in the film, arrived halfway through to give behind-the-scenes stories and first-hand info about the film. Expounding on the genius of director Robert Zemeckis and the sheer enjoyment of the production, Fleischer was a firecracker of energy while discussing the film.

“I enjoyed the beginning, middle, and end of it,” Fleischer said when asked about his favorite part of production. “I was there on the set everyday and enjoyed every minute of it.”

While there are only rumors circulating around it, Fleischer was jovial and glib in his responses about if he would return for a sequel if it ever happened.

“Of course not!” Fleischer said in mocking derision. “Why would I want to do something that is fun that would give me money and become beloved by audiences around the globe?”

Fleischer then got serious and confirmed that there is no current truth to the rumors.

“Right now,” he explained, “that's all they are. Rumors. I would love for it to happen, but it obviously wouldn't happen for some time now. It's about as likely as an E.T. 2.”

For now, Charles Fleischer will be appearing at his own panel on Friday, April 18 (11:00 AM MST) in Room 355 at the Salt Palace, and will be signing autographs at his booth throughout FanX.