Wednesday, 4 May 2011

The Thief and the Cobbler Review (Updated)

The Thief and the Cobbler

Release Date: 30th June 1994 – Australia (as The Princess and the Cobbler)

Production Companies
Allied Filmmakers
Richard Williams Productions

Genre: Animation

Rating: PG (Work-print/Re-cobbled Cut)
            G (Australia)

Runtime: 91 minutes 
              77 minutes
              (Allied Filmmakers

Budget: $28,000,000

Plot Summary
The story is around a nameless thief who unleashes an ancient prophecy of destruction and death by releasing 3 magical golden balls on the top of a minaret that protects the magnificent Golden City causing it to be in danger of invasion by an army of one-eyed men. The only one who could save the city is a young and shy but poor shoemaker named Tack and with the help of Princess Yum Yum along with her nanny, a band of brigands and most unlikely the Thief himself. Together they must attempt to find the 3 golden balls and prevent the one-eyed army and the evil grand vizier ZigZag from conquering the Golden City.

Voice Cast (All Versions)
Vincent Price – Zig-Zag the Grand Vizier
Windsor Davies – Chief Roofless
Donald Pleasence – Phido the Vulture
Joan Sims – Mad Holy Old Witch

Voice Cast (Original Version)
Felix Aylmer – Narrator
Sara Crowe – Princess Yum Yum
Anthony Quayle – King Nod
Joan Sims – Princess Yum Yum's Nanny
Chris Greener - Mighty One-Eye

Voice Cast (Allied Filmmakers Version)
Steve Lively – Narrator/Tack the Cobbler
Bobbi Page – Princess Yum Yum
Ed E. Caroll – The Thief
Clive Revill – King Nod
Kevin Dorsey – Mighty One-Eye
Mona Marshall – Princess Yum Yum's Nanny/Mad Holy Old Witch

Writer/Producer/Director/Lead Animator – Richard Williams
Completion Producer/Director: Los Angeles – Fred Calvert
Executive Producer – Jake Eberts
Producer – Imogen Sutton
Writer – Margaret French
Additional Story & Dialogue – Parker Bennett, Terry Runte, Tom Towler & Stephen Zito
Additional Story & Dialogue/
Completion Producer: Los Angeles – Bette L. Smith
Art Director – Roy Naisbitt
Background Styling – Errol Le Cain
Master Animator – Ken Harris
Director of Photography – John Leatherbarrow
Lyricist: Songs – Norman Gimbel
Composer: Songs/Music – Robert Folk
Editor – Peter Bond

THE THIEF AND THE COBBLER known as THE PRINCESS AND THE COBBLER in Australia was a magnificent but unfinished animated film by Richard Williams who did the animation for WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT. I liked the film's M.C Escher like backgrounds as well its animation style which almost feels like CGI except that it's done in two dimensions by hand, but it's such a shame that it was taken away from its creator after 28 years in production. The film was cheaply finished, edited and half of the footage was changed, it was made into a rip-off of ALADDIN by adding these stupid songs and the full dialogue for the silent character Tack which I felt were too unnecessary.

I do praise the surviving original content of the film such as Vincent Price's marvelous but last performance as Zigzag. Keeping the Thief and Phido silent as well as the character of the Witch in most scenes. Best of all, its moments including a scene where Tack chases the Thief after he steals Princess Yum Yum's shoe and most of the War Machine.

If you have and haven't seen THE PRINCESS AND THE COBBLER, try the RE-COBBLED CUT version instead of the Australian version except that it doesn't have any forgettable songs. THE RE-COBBLED CUT shows what the original version could have been if it was finished and it's available now on You-Tube.

Star rating: (3/5) Average

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