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Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 4

Posted: Wed Jul 10, 2019 11:30 pm
by Dennis196492
I dig the attempted parallax effect they tried to do with the thief on the tightrope (02:27 and 8:03 in the pencil test reel)

Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 4

Posted: Fri Jul 19, 2019 4:49 pm
by Garrett Gilchrist
LM pointed that out too. Shame it's in a rough form here. I wonder if it was finished in time for Arabian Knight but then cut, as that version has clearly been reshot after what appears in the Recobbled Cut from the KA reels.


AniMat has been doing a series of Youtube videos about The Thief and the Cobbler. I didn't look at the script for these until he was basically done, but we decided that I'd do an interview for him to correct a few serious misconceptions I'd noticed, or that usually come up when talking about the film. I think that mostly got cut out of his shorter version, since I recorded a whole hour of stuff.

"Now that I have officially finished Animation Lookback: The Thief and the Cobbler, how about we take the time to chat with the man who introduced the movie to a new generation with his well-known Recobbled Cut. Enjoy this special interview with Garrett Gilchrist!"
https://youtu.be/BwHmcVOwfW0
Also, if you’d like to check out the complete hour-long talk, then you can see that interview here:"
https://youtu.be/iL0dYjbt5q8

Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 4

Posted: Fri Jul 19, 2019 9:08 pm
by Dennis196492
In Arabian Knight they clearly reshot it so the camera doesn't move at the start (but the Thief still moves like it does), my guess is that the full parallax version didn't look too good so they obstructed the start and end of the shot with a flat background and left the middle area for the effect, but either didn't have time to finish it or make it look good, so they just filled it in with blank/rough temp stuff for the KA Reels.

I made a video about it

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jnS9271B_Q

Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 4

Posted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 10:34 am
by Hardback247
RIP Richard Williams.

Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 4

Posted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 10:36 am
by Laukku

Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 4

Posted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 4:39 pm
by Garrett Gilchrist
Tom Sito writes:

For once, it's difficult to find to find the words. I thought he'd always be around, an inexhaustible engine of creativity.

It is hard to sum up how much Richard Williams meant to me, and many animators of my generation. He gave me my career, my approach. Oh, I probably would have etched out some kind of living in animation anyway. But certainly not as much. Over 40 years, at key moments, connecting with him supercharged my development, like a spark plug. He taught me to strive to be better than I thought i could be. To never stop learning. He introduced me to Chuck Jones, Art Babbitt, Emery Hawkins, Vincent Price, Osamu Tezuka, and many many more. You who worked for him, consider what your lives would have been like had he never existed.

Most people I know who worked for Dick can spontaneously do a credible impersonation of him. High voice. Glasses on forehead. Arms waving about frantically. All manic energy and enthusiasm. Hard to think that energy could ever be stilled.

We say in animation you have your biological fathers and your animation fathers. Dick was an animation father to me. Peace and comfort to Mo, Alex, Claire and their families. Thank You for sharing him with all of us animation children. We shall never forget him. He made us who we are.

One of my favorite maxims of Richard Williams: "In the end, the best way to do something is the Hard Way. Too many people waste too much valuable time thinking of cheats and short cuts. Just F**king DO IT. DRAW! You'll find much fewer retakes too."


Patrick Block writes:
It's really too bad they skip over his most revolutionary work, the uncompleted "The Thief and the Cobbler" in many of these remembrances. Williams poured more of his soul and money into this unfinished masterpiece than anything else in his life, and in many ways, he widened the horizons on just what could be accomplished with traditional animation. He sits with a very, very few animator/directors who were uncomfortable about laying back on their laurels and who pioneered pushing the envelope on what could be done. Winsor McCay jumps to mind as an example of another artist/animator who dared to explore like Williams did. Sadly, Williams paid the price of visionaries who put creative notions before profit, which leaves us with obituaries with no mention of his astounding creation. I guess it's up to us, who have glimpsed his genius to try and push to see his masterpiece someday completed in a manner he would find satisfactory. He, and his film, deserve to be remembered forever.

Dean Kalman Lennert writes:

I am incredibly saddened to hear about the passing of Director, Teacher and Master Animator, Richard Williams.

He was a self-described "greedy artist" who, in his middle-age, sought out all the information he could about the craft of animation from those artists who originated much of it during the "Golden Age" of the 1940's. But, it wasn't Dick's goal to replicate what these great Master Animators had done before. Instead, he took this new found understanding and proceeded to push the art and the Principles of Animation as far as he could until they broke (and then maybe push them a little further). This constant hunger for animation knowledge and his fearlessness to explore the techniques he learned made him forever a student of the art form. And while I remember him saying, "I finally understand this!" at least three separate time over the last 20 years, I'm sure that this feeling was fleeting because he was also fond of saying, "You don't know what you don't know." and the search for further discover and understanding would continue.

Thank you, Dick. It was an honor to have you as a friend and teacher. You will be dearly missed.

Tony White writes:

The king is dead, long live the king! Honored to have apprenticed with this amazing man at the beginning of my career. Dick was the animator's animator! He was, is and will always be my animation idol. Pretty heartbroken right now but have a huge archive of memories of him in my heart to comfort me. Sincere condolences to his family and his fans. Truly the end of an era. <:(


Elyse Pastel writes:

Such a sad loss. I worked in Dick’s Hollywood studio for a year on his amazing commercials that financially supported his dream project, The Thief and the Cobbler. They were wonderful, exhausting times. Dick in his forties could out work any of us in our twenties. And he could animate, drink a cocktail and play the saxophone at the same time. When I think of Dick I always think of the dreaded phrase, “wouldn’t this scene look better on ones?” Which would invariably be asked after and all-nighter! Rest in peace.

Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 4

Posted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 8:03 pm
by Garrett Gilchrist
https://news.avclub.com/they-butchered- ... 1837337839

"Luckily, we live in an era where “lost” films don’t necessarily have to remain so, and so it’s been a delight today to dip into the beauty of clips from The Thief And The Cobbler that have been circulating from fans online. Many of them taken from Recobbled, animator Garrett Gilchrist’s 8-year effort to recreate Williams’ original film, which you can easily view on YouTube. Looking at the clips, it’s easy to see just why Cobbler took so much time, energy, and money to make: In an era before all but the most rudimentary computer-assisted animation, Williams and his artists created some of the most ludicrously beautiful and jaw-dropping animated vistas imaginable."

"It’s dazzling stuff, and while it’s hard not to be haunted by the specter of what might have been, we’re indebted to Gilchrist, not just for his restoration work, but for hosting all of it (along with much of Williams’ other work, as well as a documentary about him, The Thief Who Never Gave Up) on his YouTube channel."

Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 4

Posted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 8:28 pm
by Garrett Gilchrist

Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 4

Posted: Sun Aug 18, 2019 11:20 am
by Garrett Gilchrist
Cameron Byerly on The Thief and the Cobbler.
https://youtu.be/LlQvMnmpLEw



I enjoyed Cameron Bylerly's video, but I also feel a need to address what I feel are inaccuracies in it, or things that he asks about in the video itself:


About Princess Yum Yum having a twin. Princess Mee Mee and Prince Bubba were cut from the script at Warners' request. I left her in the bath scene in the Mk4 (to show more of Tissa David's animation!) but cut her in one older version. Some deleted footage exists including weird Emery Hawkins animation of the Witch and company (Hawkins was getting too old at the time), and some mentions of Zigzag coveting both princesses.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6jVJdLFKfA

Here's some deleted and alternate Zigzag material. The lip sync was still not in place for the rewritten script during the famous tower scene, which is why Calvert's "final" animation here looks a little funky.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cH7RIGZzzf8

About The Thief's earlier design, which is mainly visible when he steals the emerald and maybe when Nanny beats him up (and some War Machine segments): Dick had largely switched to only animating The Thief in pencil for budget reasons, so he and the team were able to redraw the 70s-styled scenes in the 90s.

Dick was often criticized as insane and a perfectionist for wanting to reanimate scenes that had already been animated in the 70s and 80s, but these versions were often extremely rough and not up to the standards of the 1990ish production. The emerald scene at least looks okay, but as you note, it really stands out as being in the old art style, and shows WHY all this stuff had to be reanimated.

We have evidence of a lot of scenes being animated early on in a "Hanna Barbera" sort of way, as you say, closer to the standards of the Nasrudin film. Especially by Art Babbitt.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B15s-WOX0ac

You say it's strange that, with The Thief and the emeralds (and being beat up by Nanny) a character's "proof of concept scene" turns up in the film itself.

Also true of the Superman 2 Donner Cut, come to think of it.

Dick had many Thief scenes redrawn to not look like that.

Dick also had to redraw all the old Nasrudin-era (or later) storyboards and layouts during the 1990ish production. This led to a misconception that there were no storyboards until 1990ish, repeated in Persistence of Vision. He had still been using the old boards during the two decades when this was just a side project without funding. As long as he hadn't finished all those scenes yet, he didn't need new boards.

When I met Alex Williams in 2006 (I think) he showed me storyboards from Nasrudin which had been used for The Thief even in the 90s production - including Zigzag's entrance into the city - and the 1990ish work reels of the Brigands and the like are full of Nasrudin era boards still being used.

It's often said that Dick had no plan and no script, but the script was in place with scene numbers in roughly its final form ten years before production properly began, and older scripts had been boarded in full. He was so much better and so much worse than he's ever given credit for. He could be difficult, but he certainly had a plan, that he wasn't sharing with outsiders.

I think at the time Kevin was making his film in 2010, I would have been similarly jokey about Dick's work (compared to the people interviewed in the documentary, who often characterize Dick as somewhat out of control).

But LM kept looking at the documents and debunking every joke! So I'd have to say, wait, Dick had this planned in more detail than people think, because of course he did. A film like The Thief and the Cobbler doesn't just happen. But that took a lot of research and hindsight rather than taking everyone's memories at face value.

Cameron, I like your delivery and humor a whole lot, and a lot of this video is very accurate, but some important parts of it are inaccurate, in my opinion. There are, I think, some common misconceptions with this film that I addressed on the channel of a Youtuber called Animat recently.

Here, in fact:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iL0dYjbt5q8

It is supposed to be the case that Tack gets a tan in the desert and changes design gradually throughout the film to look more heroic. Model sheet roughs define this, but unfortunately almost all of Tack past a certain point in the film is Calvert work so it's hard to judge.

This is more confusing in the Calvert edits, which miscolor Tack as pink when they're LEAVING for the desert - something fixed via Chroma Key in the Recobbled Mk4.

The models for Tack the Cobbler and Princess YumYum weren't finalized until the 1990ish Warners production, when the film had funding. Their scenes are disproportionately unfinished compared to The Thief and Zigzag and the like, and boards for their scenes may not have existed at all until the famous storyboards done in 1990ish for the workprint. This also allowed these characters to be in more of a 90s style.

Tack has more of a 60s "Hawaiian Punch" design in the early work before 1989 and the Princesses are not very distinctive compared to the sexier final Yum Yum design. (Tissa David's earlier animation of the Princesses is interesting though, some of which survives in the bath scene in the Recobbled.) All the finished color animation of Tack and Yum Yum looks brilliant and it's a shame there's not a lot more of it (and that some footage was finished but not included in most cuts- I salvaged a few very rare shots from very obscure VHS tapes for the Recobbled Mk4, some of which are in A Moment In Time but that's not available to the public).

The Thief's design came together very early on, and the Brigands also retained their early designs. The pre-Warner Bros 35mm reels feature The Thief very heavily, and all the footage of him in the War Machine is present and complete. Zigzag was redesigned several times but was well in place before the 1989 production. King Nod and Phido were redesigned by the time of the 1989 production.

Most of what we see in the Recobbled Cuts was animated or reanimated within those two years or so.

Richard Williams was - indisputably - on track to finish his film within 6 months to a year. (Alex Williams used to say four months.) This would have raised the budget accordingly. Warners screened a version which was (accidentally) missing the climactic reel and still had very little footage of the Cobbler or Princess, who were designed late. They pulled the plug.

There are a bunch of shots which don't appear in the familiar VHS workprint but do appear, usually as pencil test, in Richard's "A Moment In Time" workprint, which was made slightly after (when Dick was fired), or which have turned up partially as cels, or were clearly finished based on what appears in Calvert's cut. Many of these shots turn up in the post-Williams attempt to cut down the film which we call the Keramidas Cut, or in Calvert's Work In Progress of Princess and the Cobbler. They are therefore in the Recobbled Cut, but in low quality.

So these are the last shots Dick managed to complete before being fired, and the vast majority of them are of the Cobbler and the Princess. Those characters had become a priority and footage was being created at great speed - too late for Warners' liking I expect.

You - like a lot of people - really let Calvert off the hook for disrespecting the film so thoroughly in his "finished" version that it became unrecognizable. Calvert had been hired to "keep an eye on" Williams during the last stages of his production, and tell Warners if Dick was out of control. Calvert saw Dick as extravagant, and always had. Calvert was also looking for work at the time. My take on Fred Calvert was that he was all too keen to take over, and helped sabotage the Warner production by saying Williams was out of control and that he could do it cheaper. Calvert had a lot of his own ideas and it would have been simpler to just finish Williams' intended edit.

In your video, the "Arabian Knight" scenes are also shown in lower quality, which is another reminder to me that our restoration of Arabian Knight is hard to find these days (PM me, I've got a download somewhere).

https://youtu.be/LlQvMnmpLEw?t=1775

The video stretches pretty far to say Calvert was not disrespecting the film as intended (which he clearly was), and to say they added animation showing characters looking at each other from afar, which is actually Williams stuff present in the workprint.

People who saw the film as kids also have an attachment to the Calvert versions and find it hard to see him in too negative a way. They take his words at face value, which, nah.

Calvert's interviews after the film's release were damage control. He knew he'd altered the movie beyond all recognition into a much cheaper and changed form, and also that it had a reputation as being a masterpiece, so he had to live up to that in his interviews, paying lip service to its brilliance, when really he had cut out so much of the "good stuff." Why is most of the Thief's material just outtakes in the credits?

When I was talking about The Thief and the Cobbler in 2005, I think I said something like "You have never seen a movie ruined so thoroughly," and that doesn't just happen. It's hard to draw an exact line between Williams work and Calvert work because some of it is accurate to what Williams intended, just done smaller and in lower quality. There are some Zigzag scenes which are pretty accurate versions of the Williams pencils. But in general, Williams was always pushing for higher quality standards in everything he did, and Calvert was pushing for lower quality and for it to be cheaper. A few Calvert-only scenes stand out, because they were done by Neil Boyle or someone else who cared - at a smaller size but with more attention. (I've always liked the wedding shot of Tack and Yum Yum.) Overall, Calvert didn't give a damn about what Williams intended and his own "workprint" of The Thief, before he'd really animated anything apart from a couple tests, is even more ridiculous. I posted it on Youtube as a guide to "Ruining The Thief."

Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 4

Posted: Sun Aug 18, 2019 2:31 pm
by Garrett Gilchrist
So, BFI, when are you releasing The Thief and the Cobbler: A Moment In Time (the unrestored workprint) and Richard Williams' other short works on Blu-Ray in the UK?

I believe there's a good chance that Richard Williams' workprint, A Moment In Time, will be released in HD within the next few years, as well as a Calvert version of the film, which is almost all you need for a better-quality version of The Thief and the Cobbler than currently exists.