I was lucky enough to attend a seminar in Cardiff back in the 90’s where Richard Willams gave an owe inspiring two hour lecture, sharing his best keep secrets with an avid audience of wanna be animators. Much of what he touched on is now laid down in print, “The Animator’s Survival Kit” – a must for anyone wanting to try their hand at animating.
Recently my eldest daughter wanted to watch “The Yellow Submarine” with me and I must say, I had forgetton just how bad it was.
Then I remembered “The Thief and the Cobbler” – If you want to watch a really good film with some of the best surreal animation ever created, you should watch Richard William’s film I told her.
The Thief and the Cobbler is famous for its long, troubled history, part due to it’s unbelievable ambition and part due to the lack of belief and imagination from executives. Richard Willams went over budget and behind schedule so badly that he eventually lost all say, control and ownership of his own film!
There is a petition to Restore and Complete “The Thief and the Cobbler” on Change.org (which I’ve signed) that acurately charts the tradegy of the film’s history, including all the abominations of various releases with thier utterly appauling cuts and edits. Not to mention the Disney/Aladin rip-off.
However, to my suprise and delight, after a quick bit of digging on the internet, I found a fan version that has been cobbled together by film maker Garrett Gilchrist. “The Thief and the Cobbler Recobbled Cut Mark 4” stays as close to Richard’s original vision as possible. I always thought taht only a few of the original scenes had survived – but this version is about 80% complete, with missing scenes patched in with soryboards and line tests.
Richard Williams is insane, when you watch some of his camera moves you can’t believe that he would even attempt to concieve of them let alone animate them – and not a computer in sight! I can’t think of any other tradional animators that can give their characters so much weight and life, so much so that you feel like you could pick them up and hold them in your hands.
So I here it is – I hope you enjoy it as much as my daughter and I did.
Oh – and check out the colour test’s here, gives you a sense of just how insane tradional animation is: