Which version of Thief and the Cobbler do you reccomend?
Recobbled is the closest version to what Richard Williams wanted, but it’s full of storyboards. However, it actually makes more sense…and in the end, Tak only speaks one sentence, voiced by Sean Connery. (Which is actually my only problem because Sean is so deep voiced)
The best finished product is the one that was released outside the U.S titled Princess and the Cobbler which is the one without SO MUCH TALKING, but Tak still talks, and that is a bit annoying.
THE WORST version is the one I have on DVD, titled Arabian Knight filled with we-totally-ripped-off-Disney jokes and long, dull monologues by the should-be mute characters. Also, Tak is voiced by Matthew Broderick, but that isn’t BAD.
Making this public for other curious people. :D
I MEAN LOOK AT THIS:
THE THIEF AND THE COBBLER (UK, 1964-1995)
This is the film which inspired my search for obscure animated masterpieces, and in turn, this blog. So we will begin here.
The Thief and the Cobbler has a long history spanning over 30 years. It would not be far-reaching to say that the story of the film’s production is grander than the story told in the film itself. It began in 1964 when this really rad Canadian animator, Richard Williams, decided he wanted to make a feature based on Arabian folklore, promising a “100 minute Panavision animated epic feature film with a hand-drawn cast of thousands.” (And it is.)
Soon enough, some girl who translated the novels on which Williams’ original story was based claimed she owned the stories, resulting in some kind of inevitable legal mess and delayed production. Williams kept working on Thief as his side project while struggling to finance the film.
In 1979, Williams screened the unfinished film. It impressed Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis so much that they asked him to direct the animation of Who Framed Roger Rabbit. (Which, incidentally, is another good flick to trip on.)
Williams continued his work on Thief until 1992, at which point it had been passed around from Paramount to Allied Filmmakers and Warner Brothers. It was then that Warner pulled what I would call a douchebag move: they fired Williams and replaced him with someone who could finish the film ASAP.
The results were disastrous. Non-stop dialogue was dubbed over Williams’ original animation, so the characters talk, but their mouths don’t move. New scenes were outsourced to animators overseas on a very low budget. Songs were added to widen its appeal. To add insult to injury, Disney bought the US distribution rights and hacked it down to 70 minutes. They released it as a Miramax picture shortly after Aladdin, a film which had actually taken many of its finer plot points from Thief, as well as a few of its characters.
Thief is, without a doubt, the most epic animated film never made.
Thankfully, Williams’ original workprint of the film survived and made it onto the internet. Thanks to the dedication of fans, a “Recobbled Cut” of the film exists based on this workprint, which removes most of the offending edits and restores Williams’ work as he intended. While some unfinished animation and pencil sketches remain in this version, they are certainly not distracting from the rest of the film, nor are they unpleasant to look at.
As mentioned above, this version of the movie has very little dialogue, which is just fine, as the animation speaks for itself. Most of the quips come from the witty villain Zigzag, who speaks only in couplets, (which is not as annoying as one would think). Our main source of laughs come from the thief himself, along with the fruitflies constantly buzzing about his head.
The animation is truly a feast for the eyes, with one sequence blending seamlessly into the next. I could go on, but continue down the page and see for yourself…
HOW HIGH SHOULD I BE?
The vast, trippy world presented in Thief is both colourful and dark, both hilarious and bleak. The movie is certainly mind-bending no matter what your mental state, but you might get something extra special out of scenes like this one if you ARE a little spaced.
“It is written among the limitless constellations of the celestial heavens, and in the depths of the emerald seas, and upon every grain of sand in the vast deserts that the world which we see is an outward and visible dream of an inward and invisible reality.”
WHERE DO I WATCH IT?
Arabs in Comics - #12
#12. Arabian Knight (Navid Hashim)
No, that isn’t Sayid from Lost.
Born in Nazareth, this Israeli-Arab (or ‘Palestinian with Israeli Citizenship’) works for the Marvel Universe’s Saudi Arabia and is the successor to the first Arabian Knight, Abdul Qamar. I have not read very much about this character, but I enjoy his innovative appropriation of stereotypical Arab items, especially his re-use of Qamar’s magical carpet as protective armor.
I must say, it’s interesting to see that two of the more prominent Arab superhero characters (that are from actual countries, that is) are Israeli-born Palestinians.