The Magnum Opus That Never Was: The Thief And The Cobbler

The Magnum Opus That Never Was: The Thief And The Cobbler

A celebrated director that spent 31 years creating a disastrous film.
92
views

Richard Edmund Williams is one of the most celebrated and prolific animators over the past 60 years. He worked on his first animation film back in 1957, The Little Island, being a director, writer, producer, animator on the whole project, before it was released in 1958 or 59, depending on the source. He would continue working on various live action and animated films, before he truly made it big in 1988 when he multiple credits in the animated classic Who Framed Roger Rabbit, being an animator, director, and the voice of Droopy on the feature. In 1993, five years later, The Thief and the Cobbler was released, another film directed by him. The film takes place in an Arabian city, the Golden City, led by the ever tired and senile King Nod. As the prophecy predicts, if the 3 golden balls uptop of the tallest minaret, chaos and anarchy will sweep the city. It could only be saved by the "the simplest soul with the smallest and simplest of things". From there, a cobbler named tack, and the King’s daughter, Yum Yum set out to save the city, while Grand Vizier ZigZag tries to take over the kingdom, while an invading army comes ever closer to the Golden City’s gates.

This was not loved like Roger Rabbit in the slightest. A film that I have not watched, but has been ridiculed by many, including Doug Walker/the Nostalgia Critic a few decades later, out of the 28 million dollar budget, it only made $670,000 at the box office. What might’ve been unbeknownst the moviegoers in Australia (before it arrived upon America’s shores in 95) was that it went through absolute production hell. Self-funded, he started production on it in 1964. It took 31 years before it got released, due to various setbacks, delays, and WIlliams’ involvements in other projects. Over the three decades, various names were thrown around; Sean Connery, Vincent Price, Felix Aylmer, Steven Spielberg, Anthony Quayle, and even an Arabian Prince were one way or another involved in production. Along with that, several companies were involved in production and distribution, first starting out with Williams’ own production company, Allied Filmmakers, Majestic Films, and Miramax. Artists from three different countries were all involved. It was truly Revolving Door: The Movie.

Many criticized the film for being a cheap knock-off of Aladdin; with strikingly similar plot structures, locations, and character designs, and well, that’s somewhat true. Williams’ was inspired by the novel Arabian Nights, and started coming up with the plot. And while animators came in and out of the door, two of them, Andreas Deja and Eric Goldberg found their way onto Aladdin production, being inspired by their previous project under Williams. Then, as Aladdin was released 3 years before its American release, the production focused onto copying the film that their production originally inspired.

As stated previously, the film did not do well in the slightest. Poor Richards Williams has been working in the animation field for 60 years, 31 of which were spent during the production of this film. That must drive madness into the mind of a man. Though, during production, when at one point when Warner Bros. was involved, a bunch of reels were thrown away into the trash of the company’s head of animation. An animator working there managed to save some of it; 40 minutes, in fact. This’ll become relevant later.

In 2006 a very dedicated animator fan and independent film maker by the name of Garrett Gilchrist managed to start to restore the original film. You see, Richard Williams didn’t want it to be some sort of run-of-the-mill kids film. I doubted he would’ve spent 31 years in torment to get this film developed. He saw it as his magnum opus - a more artistic film targeted towards adults. Gilchrist would make a couple more “recobbled” editions over the years, with ones in 2007 and 2013, as he gathered more and more footage, drafts, and drawings over the years. I’m assuming one of the more useful ones were the 40 minutes recovered from one head of animation’s trash. Though they aren’t 100% what Williams envisioned. Some of the music was added from the other editions, and some plot changes were made, in order to make the story make more sense, according to Gilchrist, though they don’t seem to be anything that major. Best of all, this labor of love was released for three, posted on YouTube where anyone can watch it.

I watched the Nostalgia Critic episode a few years ago, talking about Cobbler, I watched maybe the first 14 minutes before I got distracted. When I saw someone talk about it on my Tumblr feed, I decided to give it a second shot, which was well worth it. Gilchrist is a hero, and the cut is genius. The artwork is very trippy, with optical illusions, contrasting colors to the max, and constantly changing perspective. This is the best part of the movie, I’d say. Just looking at everything. When the thief and the Cobbler start chasing one another through black-and-white corridors that make your eyes question what exactly you’re looking at, it’s pretty amazing.

When the Vizier is introduced, it’s this grand event, with red carpet and celebrations, all being captured at strange 2D angles and perspectives, which you don’t really see. The tips of the shoes of the advisor roll out, and roll back in, with jewels all over it. The character design of the various trumpeters and the cronies of the Vizier are also strange.

Though what I love the most is the design of the invading army at the climax of the film. It’s all black and red, which giant machinery, mixing an industrial modern feel with complex contraptions for war, with a more medieval feel, with gargantuan catapults. And as the climax happens you see how the machinery works, with a Rube Goldberg machine feel to it, while the thief runs through it all, trying not to get killed. The ending of the film is cliche, but I was truly amazed by just how everything looked. The only criticism I can give involving the animation is sometimes how the characters move awkwardly at points, but I’ll put that on the production, and they couldn’t be worked on.


This film is beautiful, and if you want to check it out, you can find the full cut here.
Cover Image Credit: Flickr

Popular Right Now

11 Things You Understand If You Hate Physical Contact

Please keep your hands and feet away from me at all times.
93182
views

We currently live in a world where EVERYONE LIKES TO TOUCH EACH OTHER. People enjoy hugs, high fives, tapping others on the shoulder, pokes, ect. For someone like you and me (I'm assuming you too since you clicked on this article), this is the WORST thing in the world. Whenever I think of someone touching me (even just a poke) without my permission my reaction is like Sofia Vergara in Modern Family.

I mean, when I take that love languages quiz, physical touch is always on the bottom of my preferences. So I thought to my self, you know I can't be the only person in the world that hates physical touching. So here are 11 things every person who hates physical touch will understand:


1. When people tickle you

I don't care that it's just for fun and jokes; I'm not laughing because I want to, you are literally forcing me to laugh. I hate you, get your greasy hands off of me before I make you get them off of me.


2. When people think they need to tap your shoulder to get your attention

As if simply saying "Hey" followed by my name wasn't enough. I don't need your grubby little fingers touching me. Now I'm annoyed with you before this conversation even started, what do you want?


3. When someone you barely know reaches in for a hug

I don't know who the heck you're thinking you're about to hug because it sure isn't going to be me. Hugs are reserved for people I know well and like, not you. Okay release me now, I am not enjoying this. LET ME GO.


4. When people tell you that you aren't an affectionate person

Are you aware there are ways to show my affection without constantly being all over you like a koala bear? Yes, I'm affectionate, hop off.


5. When someone is in your personal space

We could be best friends, we could be complete strangers. We could be lovers, I could hate your guts. We could be in private, we could be in public. I don't care what the situation is, if you're in my personal space uninvited GET OUT. There is no reason to be so close to me unwarranted.


6. You don't know how to comfort people

When you see an upset loved one, most people think they you should comfort then by pulling them into a long lasting hug. But, that's the kind of things that your nightmares are literally made out of. So, you stand there confused how you should comfort your friend/relative while also not sacrificing your touch moral code.


7. When people say you "look like you could use a hug"

Um no. I never could use one, get off of me. I will let you know when I want one.


8. When you're hugging someone wondering how soon you can release

Please end my suffering.


9. When you arrive at a social gathering and people rush to greet you with hugs

Let's not.

10. When you try to leave a social gathering by just waving to get out of goodbye hugs

Please no one make me hug you.


11. That one person who is allowed to hug you/touch you

This person, typically a significant other or best friend, gets to break all the "no touch" rules and we gladly accept their hugs and cuddles and public displays of affection. But only them, no one can copy them.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

15 Thing Only Early 2000's Kids Will Understand

"Get connected for free, with education connection"

1635
views

This is it early 2000's babies, a compilation finally made for you. This list is loaded with things that will make you swoon with nostalgia.

1. Not being accepted by the late 90's kids.

Giphy

Contrary to what one may think, late 90's and early 00's kids had the same childhood, but whenever a 00's kid says they remember something on an "only 90's kids will understand" post they are ridiculed.

2. Fortune tellers.

Giphy

Every day in elementary school you would whip one of these bad boys out of your desk, and proceed to tell all of your classmates what lifestyle they were going to live and who they were going to marry.

3.Bunnicula

1.bp.blogspot.com

You could never read this book past 8 o'clock at night out of fear that your beloved pet rabbit would come after you.

4. Silly bands.

upload.wikimedia.org

You vividly remember begging your parents to buy you $10 worth of cheap rubber bands that vaguely resembles the shape of an everyday object.

5. Parachutes.

btckstorage.blob.core.windows.net

The joy and excitement that washed over you whenever you saw the gym teacher pull out the huge rainbow parachute. The adrenaline that pumped through your veins whenever your gym teacher tells you the pull the chute under you and sit to make a huge "fort".

6. Putty Erasers

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/385972630558152185/

You always bought one whenever there was a school store.

7. iPod shuffle.

cdn.pixabay.com

The smallest, least technological iPpd apple has made, made you the coolest kid at the bus stop.

8. "Education Connection"

You knew EVERY wood to the "Education Connection" commercials. Every. Single.Word.

9. " The Naked Brothers Band"

www.youtube.com

The "Naked Brothers Band" had a short run on Nickelodeon and wrote some absolute bangers including, "Crazy Car' and "I Don't Wanna Go To School"

10. Dance Dance Revolution

live.staticflickr.com

This one video game caused so many sibling, friend, and parent rivalries. This is also where you learned all of your super sick dance moves.

11. Tamagotchi

assets.rbl.ms

Going to school with fear of your Tamagotchi dying while you were away was your biggest worry.

12. Gym Scooters

assets.rbl.ms

You, or somebody you know most likely broke or jammed their finger on one of these bad boys, but it was worth it.

13. Scholastic book fairs

c1.staticflickr.com

Begging your parents for money to buy a new book, and then actually spending it on pens, pencils, erasers, and posters.

14.Go-Gurt

assets.rbl.ms

Who knew that putting yogurt in a plastic tube made it taste so much better?

15. Slap Bracelets

media.rbl.ms

Your school probably banned these for being "too dangerous".

Related Content

Facebook Comments