Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Thief and the Cobbler: A History

Do the names "Tack", "Zigzag", and "Yum-Yum" ring any bells for you? If not, then you haven't seen Richard Williams' magnum opus, "The Thief and the Cobbler". This animated film has a very interesting history behind it, which I was not aware of before watching the review that the Nostalgia Critic went and did.

At first I thought he'd verbally beat this movie to a pulp like he does in his other videos, but Doug Walker has actually taught me something about my old childhood favorite (the term "favorite" is used very loosely here, btw).

The movie was conceived in 1964 by Canadian animator Richard Williams, who would later go on to be the Director of Animation for "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" among other things.
Due to its independent funding and complex animation, "The Thief and the Cobbler" was in and out of production for over two decades. In 1990 Richard Williams went and secured a deal to have Warner Bros. finance and distribute the film.
Warner Bros. backed out in 1992, however, after the project went past deadline and Disney's "Aladdin" gave them all a run for their money. Still the movie had to be finished, so producer Fred Calvert took over the whole operation. Whole scenes were removed and replaced. Unnecessary musical numbers and voice-overs were inserted. To make a long story short, Richard Williams creation was changed beyond recognition.

2 different versions of the movie was released: one issued in Australia and South Africa in 1993 as "The Princess and the Cobbler" and the other in the U.S.A. in 1995 as "Arabian Knight" (which was later re-released on home-video with the original title, "The Thief and the Cobbler"). Talk about confusing!

Neither version received much financial success or positive reception, but the film has earned cult-status among animation-circles for it's rich history and creator's original intent.
Personally, I remember watching it with my sister when we were both little. It mustn't have made much sense to us at the time, but it was a piece of both our childhoods. "The Thief and the Cobbler" was just one of those movies that stay with you long after you outgrow it. I am glad that Nostalgia Critic decided to do this review.

Now I have more animated-movie trivia than I know what to do with. What now?
I know! *publish post*

There, now the rest of you know what I know. Thanks for reading!

*~Information courtesy of the "Thief and the Cobbler" and "Richard Williams" Wikipedia articles.~*