Who Framed Roger Rabbit: With Melissa Franklin



  • December 9, 2013
  • This event has passed.
  • Offering Format: Public Event
  • Recommended for grade 12 and adults
  • Coolidge Corner Theatre
  • Members, students, and seniors: $9; general admission: $11
  • Associated Persons

    With Melissa Franklin, Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics at Harvard University


Director Robert Zemeckis’s popular 1988 film broke new ground with its seamless mix of live action and animation. Based on classic LA private eye movies, Who Framed Roger Rabbit is set in 1947 Hollywood, where gruff gumshoe Eddie Valiant (Bob Hoskins) takes the case of Roger Rabbit, a zany, fast-talking cartoon star framed for the murder of Marvin Acme, gag factory mogul and owner of Toontown. The film also features cartoon stars Betty Boop, Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse, Woody Woodpecker, and more.

The suspension of disbelief and the normal laws of physics has been part of animated cartoons almost from the start. As Roger explains, cartoons are allowed to bend or break natural laws for comedic purposes. In one classic example, a cartoon character runs or dives over a cliff and hovers in midair until he looks down. Only upon realizing he is suspended over empty space do the rules of gravity take over, and he plummets to the ground.

Prior to the film, speaker Melissa Franklin discusses how cartoon physics deviate from our own laws of physics — and what happens when you separate cartoon characters from their natural setting and vice versa.

With Science on Screen, the Coolidge Corner Theatre creatively pairs a feature film or documentary with lively presentations by notable figures from the world of science, medicine, and technology. The Science on Screen series is co-presented by the Museum of Science, Boston and supported by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, with additional support from Gesmer, Updegrove LLP, and Richard Anders.

Photo © Touchstone Pictures/Photofest

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Additional Information

Melissa Franklin is the Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics at Harvard University and Chair of the Department of Physics. She is an experimental particle physicist who studies proton-proton collisions produced by the Large Hadron Collider. She has worked on the Collider Detector at Fermilab since 1983. She is also a collaborator on the ATLAS experiment where she works in collaboration with more than 3,000 physicists. She is currently studying the properties of the Higgs boson. Professor Franklin, born and raised in Canada, received her BSc from the University of Toronto and her doctorate from Stanford University.