Nov. 11, 2006, 7:16 a.m. CST
...so far you're making up nicely for lost time. All the DVD stuff so far has been great, stuff that would never hit the radar on other sites. Love it!
Nov. 11, 2006, 7:21 a.m. CST
...I should have also said, this sort of opinion piece tied in with a review is what I originally fell in love with AICN because of. People who love film, trying to get the word out about stuff that is either great, or being mishandled. This is obviously the latter. I had never heard of this film, but now I know enough to care about its fate.
Nov. 11, 2006, 7:27 a.m. CST
...and he had some choice opinions of Spielberg and Zemekis. Independent artists need to find alternative ways to realize projects. Upon completion license them to the machine. I wish Gilliam would embrace some technology so he could make his damn Quixote movie. The end result is what matters and if technology lets you gewt it done cheaper, why the hell wouldnt you do it?
Nov. 11, 2006, 7:47 a.m. CST
http://tinyurl.com/ydvuu7 ... that should help force a release for a restored version.
Nov. 11, 2006, 7:53 a.m. CST
Nov. 11, 2006, 8:50 a.m. CST
this is what i want to read at sites like AICN. AICN's content is about 70% crap and the design sucks ass, but there is currently nothing better really since the demise of Corona. this is a step in the right direction.
Nov. 11, 2006, 9:11 a.m. CST
...over at 'film ick'. The Spider-Man 3 article from yesterday is something I'm proud of. But AICN does offer a lot of great stuff. At times.
Nov. 11, 2006, 9:24 a.m. CST
I always wondered what happened to Thief and the Cobbler after reading all about it in Starbust magazine about 20 years ago. Would love to know the full story, why not interview Richard for the site sometime?
Nov. 11, 2006, 9:53 a.m. CST
by The Bobman
I knew of this film from way back as a friend dropped out when we were at art school to go and work on it- he did the spears! Years later I was walking through a supermarket and there, free on dvd with Corn Pops- alongside Air Bud, was the theif and the cobbler on Dvd- my heart sank- shame- good its getting a real release now though.
Nov. 11, 2006, 9:56 a.m. CST
I saw the best parts back in the day. Moriarty's take on it is spot on.
Nov. 11, 2006, 10 a.m. CST
by The Bobman
while typing and my daught going nuts shouting for bananas! Ok- wont get this! :) Poor Richard Williams was almost broken by this film- heard a few stories about what was going on at the time- won't tell them here but damn! thing is that they are probably scared to give him the money to do HIS version cos of all the the stuff that was going on last time back in the early 90's damn impressive film though- I know Disney must have thought so when they were "inspired" by parts of it for Aladin
Nov. 11, 2006, 10:09 a.m. CST
There's some pretty interesting stuff about all of this, here: http://tinyurl.com/zqyu6
Nov. 11, 2006, 10:38 a.m. CST
by Osmosis Jones
...the film, originally animated for 2:35.1, is being presented in FULL-SCREEN ONLY.
Nov. 11, 2006, 11:04 a.m. CST
by Neo Technic
but Wow thats sad.
Nov. 11, 2006, 11:02 a.m. CST
A friend of mine found a "restored" version of the film online last year. Forgot who did it but he has commentary track with it on the DVD. It is truly an amazing film, if you can find the correct version that is. Why it's not out in the correct form is just criminal.
Nov. 11, 2006, 11:33 a.m. CST
I too first read of this in "Starburst" a (now defunct?) UK sci -fi film mag, way back in time. And again when Roger Rabbit came along. Just assumed that it would all work out for him in he end.. sad to hear how it really went :-( The Bastards. Anyone know what Mr.Williams is doing now?
Nov. 11, 2006, 11:57 a.m. CST
by Harry Weinstein
Thank you, thank you, thank you Moriarty, for drawing some attention to this crime against cinema. It really is THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS of animation, except unlike the Orson Welles film, it's not too late to save THE THIEF AND THE COBBLER. One thing, though; "you would think that The Weinstein Co. would recognize the value in this property" - based upon what would I think this, exactly? They played a major role in ruining the film in the first place. In Calvert's PRINCESS AND THE COBBLER version, the Thief and the Cobbler still didn't talk. That was 100% Weinstein - see also THE MAGIC ROUNDABOUT, which got the same sort of "improvements" as this film and was transformed into DOOGAL. Or Rene Leloux's GANDAHAR, which got a similar all-star makeover and emerged as LIGHT YEARS - with a co-director credit for Harvey Weinstein himself, which can't mean anything good for the integrity of the film. This new Weinstein Company DVD is nothing but a port of the old VHS transfer from the '90s. And that sucked. This Weinstein disc is shameless even by their standards - they could have at least used their 2.35:1 transfer that was made for the old laserdisc edition. If you want to watch this movie *and you do*, use your preferred BitTorrent search engine and seek out the word "recobbled" - and if that doesn't work try another search engine. It's not perfect, and it's not 100% Richard Williams footage, but it's the best version we've got at the moment.
Nov. 11, 2006, 12:06 p.m. CST
by Harry Weinstein
Calvert's version had the Cobbler talking, but not the thief. I think. Maybe. Doesn't matter, the Recobbled Cut is the only currently available version that counts. Other than bootlegs of Williams' workprint, but that's very, very poor quality, as you'd expect for a continuously bootlegged analog videotape from the early-to-mid 90s.
Nov. 11, 2006, 12:08 p.m. CST
The torrent of the DVD version of the re-cobbled version is on Demonoid. It's the Mk II version which is widescreen. I'd never heard about this film before but Moriarty's article got me intrigued and I checked out the youtube links. While I'm not enamoured by some of the character designs, the character animation itself is unquestionably some of the most beautifully fluid I've ever seen... I have to see the rest in better quality do I'm dl-ing the DVD version and will re-seed for as long as I can - I suggest anyone else do the same, rather than watch the youtube version. I'd love to see this restored full-on properly by Williams though, but "recobbled" will have to do. And when oh when will AICN talkbacks support line-breaks?
Nov. 11, 2006, 12:24 p.m. CST
http://originaltrilogy.com/forum/messageview.cfm?catid=11&threadid=4256 So give him some damn credit, Mori!
Nov. 11, 2006, 12:26 p.m. CST
Nov. 11, 2006, 12:28 p.m. CST
This is like the 'smile' of the animation genre, a great work seemingly never destined to be completed. Oh hang on !! They managed to wheel Brian Wilson out and get that finished so why not get this completed as well. Someone phone John Lasseter from Disney and tell him to do whatever it takes to get this project finished while the principle makers are still alive, what better way to restart a disney 2D revolution than release this masterpiece.
Nov. 11, 2006, 12:29 p.m. CST
by Sasha Nein
Beautiful freaking movie, and such a sad, Gillamesque thing to happen to it.
Nov. 11, 2006, 12:45 p.m. CST
Could anyone who is a demonoid member maybe send me an invite. I am desperate to download the recobbled cut that is on the site, but I cannot get access to the torrent because I am not a member. I would really appreciate it. Please message me if you can help. Thanks.
Nov. 11, 2006, 12:57 p.m. CST
When the Weinsteins split with Miramax, this could have easily ended up in the Disney library, where the current regime would've been the best hope yet to get it restored. But because the Weinsteins "liked it so much" they chose it as one of the titles they took with them to their company. So now it's doomed to forever exist only in this artistic-war-crime of a bastardized version. <p> Miramax are the assholes responsible for turning the mute title character into a non-stop wisecracker (without lips moving) so they are more responsible than even Calvert for ruining this movie. When I watch it I have to keep it on mute, but turn the sound on whenever Zig Zag shows up. At one time there was an Australian DVD of it called The Princess and the Cobbler, which was apparently the pre-Miramax version (so it was still inexcusably mutilated, but at least didn't have the Jonathan Winters commentary track) but even that one wasn't widescreen.<p> Thanks for the article, Moriarty. There needs to be more coverage of this. I really believe that it's one of the greatest artistic injustices of all time. There has never been animation as good as this, and few movies have been so horribly disfigured by the suits. And then it was just dumped into theaters in a way that let everyone believe it was a quickie Aladdin ripoff (even though it was nearly 30 years in the making!). <p> By the way, Ziggy's Gift came out on DVD last year. I feel weird recommending a cartoon about Ziggy, but it's actually pretty great, with Ziggy being animated exactly as drawn in the comic strip, but completely three-dimensional. There is also a mute pickpocket character who is like a contemporary version of the thief.
Nov. 11, 2006, 1:34 p.m. CST
If I'm not mistaken, Warner released Richard Donner's cut of Superman 2 because of an internet petition.
Nov. 11, 2006, 2:06 p.m. CST
by Harry Weinstein
...as was the Japanese DVD under the ARABIAN KNIGHTS title. As for Williams coming back to finish the film... don't hold your breath, as he refuses to even publicly talk about THIEF AND THE COBBLER. His son Alex Williams, also a first-rate animator, worked on THIEF AND THE COBBLER and may be the best hope of actually completing it one day. Pity this didn't remain at Disney...
Nov. 11, 2006, 2:44 p.m. CST
They've just dropped a little in my estimation. Never ever heard of this film or Richard Williams, but I really wanna check out this workprint now! Fantastic story Mori.
Nov. 11, 2006, 3:33 p.m. CST
I hear he absolutely refuses to talk about the project with anyone. It's sad. I was meaning to get this but I forgot...one of these days I will, though.
Nov. 11, 2006, 4:51 p.m. CST
by Harry Weinstein
The similarities between the two films are very, very striking, but Richard Williams was very much a director-for-hire on RA&A, scraping together money to continue work on THIEF AND THE COBBLER. And while RA&A definitely has its moments, TOY STORY is the better movie overall.
Nov. 11, 2006, 5:12 p.m. CST
by drew mcweeny
... no question TOY STORY is the better film. For one thing, it's an actual story. I'm not calling Pixar out or accusing them of anything. I just think it's one of those oddball things where, broken down to basics, they resemble one another quite a bit. When you see them in execution, though, you can see the difference that Pixar story department makes.
Nov. 11, 2006, 8:08 p.m. CST
I've had many problems with this site in general over the years, but DAMN if this ain't a fine piece of writing, with well-placed passion for a savaged work of art. Many kudos to you, sir.
Nov. 11, 2006, 9 p.m. CST
I remember seeing snippets of this film on television years ago-- the animation style was really unique, but I was really put off by the (obviously thrown-in later) voice-overs. It would be interesting to see it as originally intended-- maybe down the road, as so many other movies now are given the "Director's Cut" treatment on dvd.
Nov. 11, 2006, 9:41 p.m. CST
It is pretty good, it is like watching a work print with whole scenes nothing but storyboards or rough pencil animation. It is a real shame because it looks like with minimal effort and a great program like Toon Boom you could finish the whole film for a few thousand dollars. It looks like getting a cohesve soundtrack would be the biggest problem.
Nov. 11, 2006, 10 p.m. CST
by Harry Weinstein
That was in reference to the dirkd13's post a couple of lines above mine, and not in reference to anything you said. But thanks again for highlighting this new Weinstein release as something to avoid. Off topic, is there any rhyme or reason to the films the Weinsteins took with them when they left Disney? Judging from what I read elsewhere it seemed that anything that was unreleased or released direct-to-video, they kept; anything that got a theatrical release, Disney kept. But this got a theatrical release, so the guy saying that obviously didn't have a clue what he was talking about.
Nov. 11, 2006, 11:50 p.m. CST
by Canadian Cricket Team Fanclub
Thank you Moriarty for giving AICN its balls back with a great article. I hope Harry's studio deals to further his career don't castrate AICN again ...
Nov. 12, 2006, 12:54 a.m. CST
That's interesting about Raggedy Ann but if you've ever seen The Brave Little Toaster the "feel" of Toy Story-- the interaction between the objects in the home-- is very recognizable and many parts of their journey/quest have a Toy Story-like feel too.
Nov. 12, 2006, 3:26 a.m. CST
And didn't John Lasseter pitch The Brave Little Toaster to Disney as the first computer animated movie? I can't remember where I read that but I'm pretty sure it's the case. At any rate, he was an animator on the eventually not computer animated version. <p> But again, Toy Story is a far superior movie. To think people had problem relating to the cars in Cars, here is a movie that humanizes appliances. Worse, the story is all about a toaster's attachment to a little boy. That was one I couldn't figure out. A little boy losing his favorite toy has drama, but losing his toaster? I don't get it.
Nov. 12, 2006, 4:29 a.m. CST
by El Fuego
Because if so... HOLY SHIT. Even if not... but that bit with the chase and the black and white... damn. I remember seeing the voiced version of this when I was in 6th Grade, and thinking it was a derivative Aladdin ripoff. Now I know better.
Nov. 12, 2006, 4:48 a.m. CST
a.k.a. Garrett Gilchrist is the name of the guy who put together the "Recobbled" cut of the film. He really does deserve some praise and respect for what he accomplished here... If you read through his forums you'll see just how much time and effort he put into this project: http://ffrevolution.com/InvisionBoard/index.php?s=94ad32d9b5ff3cd94f4260307fe78470&act=ST&f=2&t=1199&st=0
Nov. 12, 2006, 4:54 a.m. CST
My signed Richard William's Animator's Guide thingy book is much treasured. The man is the greatest director of cel animation of all time.
Nov. 12, 2006, 9:34 a.m. CST
by Boba Fat
Never heard of Mr Williams and will now check him out. Thanks
Nov. 12, 2006, 11:18 a.m. CST
The "Recobbled" thread at originaltrilogy.com is one of the most amazing filmland stories I've ever read. Just epic, with more and more important figures from the production getting involved as it goes on. NotthatIsupportpiracy or anythinggodforbid...
Nov. 12, 2006, 8:46 p.m. CST
by half vader
Bryan, I have that OZ DVD which I think is the British cut. I had the VHS too and was broken-hearted to find them cropped to pan & scan - how many years of work do you think that equals?! Then I was really excited to get the widescreen Laserdisc. Until the Jonanthan Winters voiceover for the thief made me so angry I had to turn it off (I did come back later and watch it muted). What was that that Chuck Jones used to say about 'Animated radio'?! Winters commits the number one cardinal sin of animation by describing to us exactly what he's doing onscreen, which is simultaneously redundant and moronic. I know this sounds nasty, but it actually sems like he's a bit drunk (but not acting drunk) during all that supposed ad-libbing. Gah. Anyway Bryan, was that Ziggy DVD an OZ region 4 thing or US region 1?
Nov. 12, 2006, 8:53 p.m. CST
by half vader
I meant to say that when I went to the Aussie masterclass many years back he said he was working on his own 'experimental' film and had learned his lesson from Thief so wouldn't breathe a word about it (in reference to Aladdin I guess) until it was done. The masterclasses and the book got in the way for years I guess and as I recall I think he was making it by himself (or maybe with his wife Mo - trying to remember) so we probably won't see it for a while yet. I hope I remembered that right.