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How can Tod be in two places at once? Will this destroy the universe?
The Fox and the Hound marks the beginning of what we like to call the ‘Passing the Torch Era’. The 1980s was a major transitional phase and there was a lot of experimentation taking place, not all of which worked, but we will get to that. For the first time, they had serious competition; beforehand there had been of course many independent animation producers like Ralph Bakshi, Martin Rosen, etc … but Disney was still considered to have the monopoly over mainstream animation. However, during production of The Fox and the Hound, Don Bluth, Gary Goldman and John Pomeroy, three of the most talented animators at the studio, left Disney to form their own studio: Don Bluth Productions, taking eleven animators with them.
Gary Goldman: ‘We found out that convincing the management (during the ‘70s) that we wanted to add more special effects, cast shadows on the character, water, rain, and other environmental phenomena, it was discouraged. They wanted us to cut costs, not increase costs. It seemed as though the more we tried to return to the beauty of the older films, the more difficult our jobs became. We finally decided that maybe we could turn them around if we started our own company and challenged Disney on the big screen, that maybe then they would see what we were talking about … We loved Disney, but the company was failing and at the time … management was running the show, not the artists. So, we chose to leave’.
When this major event took place, it was such a shock to the studio that production on The Fox and the Hound was delayed for a year. On top of all this, another prominent change was taking place at the studio. The older animators were retiring and the younger, less experienced animators were getting ready to take over. The former led the first half of production, while the latter led the second half, with the older animators officially stepping back, finishing their careers on the film and passing the torch. This was a real beginning for those who would go on to be some of the greatest contributors to animation in film history, such as Glen Keane, John Lasseter, Chris Buck, Ron Clements, Ron Husband, John Musker, Brad Bird, Tim Burton, and many, many more. They were eager to learn, as they were mentored and taught by the older animators …
Based on Daniel P. Mannix’s novel of the same name, The Fox and the Hound truly is a loose re-telling of Mannix’s story. You think Disney’s adaptation is bleak? Spoiler alert: In Mannix’s novel, the fox dies from exhaustion while being hunted down (plus his mate and children are all killed), and the hound is shot when his owner has to go into a nursing home where dogs are not allowed. Truly the Les Miserables or the Titus Andronicus of the animal world … albeit on a much smaller scale. But of course, Disney does go off course plot-wise, creating a less miserable version of the story – note that we say less miserable. The Fox in the Hound is definitely one of Disney’s most melancholic films. How so? Let’s find out! But first as always …
Original Trailer Time!
- Woah! Something’s different! We have a new Original Trailer Man
- Possibly the cheapest opening to a trailer so far, as we see the title of the film loom blurrily forward on a cheap blue background
- Original Trailer Man is giving a tongue-twistingly awkward speech
- TWENTIETH? What films have they attempted to airbrush from history??? And bearing in mind The Black Cauldron hasn’t even happened yet!
- We hear The Fox and the Hound, and the first thing we see is The Caterpillar and the Bear … now why was THAT never released? Seriously it writes itself:
‘We’re … we’re still friends aren’t we?’
‘Squeaks … those days are over. I’M A BIG BLACK RAINCLOUD NOW!’
- ‘Look out. Here it comes’, as we see images of WACKINESS … Yeah! Boy does that capture the essence of this movie!
- ‘Hot’ out of Walt Disney’s Productions … pardon? ‘HOT’? Cool your jets new guy!
- Amos’s bright red face interrupts Tod and Copper’s touching declaration of their everlasting friendship
- The rest of the trailer from here on out is BIG SPOILERS as we see just about everything that happens … cheers editors
- ‘A real killer’ – chipper cartoon music accompanies Tod’s moment of horror
- ‘But never can sneak up sooner than you think’ … seriously where did they find this guy?
- ‘Best friends!’ As they snarl at each other, ‘Make the worst enemies!’ Wow … signing off this trailer like a horror movie … wait hang on it’s still going?
- Jarring cut from Tod’s snarling face to rootin tootin wacky music! Dangling keys time! Forget those scary mean old animals – IT’S FUN! LOOK AT THE FUN WE’RE HAVING!
- Original Trailer Man starts emphasising how great DISNEY is … hmm could this have something to do with the fact that they now have competition?
- Original Trailer Man and the editors seem to think that we may not know that this film is about a fox and a hound, so they keep telling us that … again … and again … AND AGAIN! It’s almost as excessive as this: