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

Posted: Sun Aug 18, 2019 2:47 pm
by Garrett Gilchrist
Steve McCarthy on The Thief and the Cobbler.

Interesting video, but I did have to leave this comment:

You refer to the Recobbled Cut as the "Recobbled Edition," made by "some people" rather than by Garrett Gilchrist (and some people). You're not the only one who has discovered and discussed this film because of my 8 years of work restoring it and Richard's other films, but won't say my name or credit me for some reason. I feel lucky to have brought this film to a wider audience and rehabilitated its reputation as a masterpiece rather than as a film that got butchered and ruined. But I often feel that people are tiptoeing around my involvement because it's "unofficial," which hasn't done much for my own career as a filmmaker and artist to be honest. (An "official" restoration similar to mine would never have happened, and the "unofficial" one had the support of hundreds who worked on the original film, but had to use some inferior sources. Never say never though, maybe someone has friends at a home video label.)

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

Posted: Sun Aug 18, 2019 2:52 pm
by Garrett Gilchrist
Here's my restored look at what Who Framed Roger Rabbit might have looked like before Richard Williams was involved, featuring Paul Reubens, Russi Taylor and Peter Renaday, with Darrell Van Citters and Chris Buck animating.

Tom Sito writes: From my own very personal perspective, I only know that if they had gone with Darrell's vision instead of Dicks, I would not have been on it. I probably would not have had a career at Disney, and we would not have enjoyed the subsequent work of James Baxter, Nik Ranieri, Simon Wells, Russell Hall, Hans Bacher, Harold Sieperman, Jacques Muller and many, many more. So you can guess which version I was rooting for.

Garrett Gilchrist writes: I think only Dick Williams could have made Roger Rabbit the masterpiece that it is, and launched as many careers as he did. He was one of a kind, and always pushed for quality, so his films were one of a kind too.

Darrel Van Citters' team did fun, cartoony animation and deserved better - Seemed like Disney didn't quite know what to do with them. They also did Sport Goofy in Soccermania, which offered an alternate version of what became the Ducktales premise, so they kind of got overlooked twice!

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

Posted: Sun Aug 18, 2019 4:54 pm
by Garrett Gilchrist
Hilary Pritchard was announced at Cannes as the voice of Princess Yum Yum.

As far as we know she was replaced, by the time of the workprint, by Sara Crowe. I'm not sure we have any recordings of her, assuming that's the case.

(Corrected, I'm told that another video I posted wasn't her.)

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

Posted: Sun Aug 18, 2019 7:05 pm
by Garrett Gilchrist
Robert Bahn asks:
"Does anyone want to take the unfinished but storyboarded parts of The Thief and the Cobbler and animate them, as a tribute to Richard Williams?"

Most of the "new" scenes in Fred Calvert's version look very bad by comparison to Richard's work. Even most of the scenes directly based on Richard's pencil work look bad.

If new scenes were ever animated for The Thief I would want them to be done by top professionals, probably people who worked on the original film, and they should be well paid for it! So there'd have to be some budget. (Think The King and the Mockingbird rather than Youtube.)

I think the likes of Neil Boyle, Eric Goldberg, Sandro Cleuzo, Andreas Wessel-Therhorn, Tony White, Darlie Brewster, Uli Meyer, could pull it off. Pros, or people who worked on the original. People who worked on a top animated film in the 90s or thereabouts. I'm not sure that students could do AAA-level work necessarily.

I expect hiring veteran professionals for this work would be controversial as well.

If new scenes WERE ever animated for The Thief and the Cobbler, they should be done with a real budget by people who really know their stuff, and they should stay as pencil tests and never be colored, so that it's harder to judge them by comparison with John Leatherbarrow's work.

The pencil tests in the Recobbled Cut (or A Moment In Time) already vary quite a bit with how finished they are, what the character models are, and what the picture quality is, so I think some new pencil tests wouldn't stand out too much.

We had some new still art made for the Recobbled 4.

Chris Fern and Hailey Lain storyboarded a new scene with the Brigands during the War Machine sequence, since I wanted to give those characters something to do, and Andreas Wessel Therhorn drew the new opening with the hands.

Chris did a new background or two as well (the zoom in to Phido's eye in Tack's cell), I drew a large pan scene with the Brigands and fixed some backgrounds and did special effects and things.

The Thief on the tightrope needs a new background- they never shot the original- and there are some other shots that could benefit from new FX work but we did some of them. (Magicked? The Witch!) I tried redrawing Yum Yum asking about Tack and stomping off, but it looked BAD.

I could probably find some shots here and there in the Recobbled Cut which could benefit from new effects art but it wouldn't be major stuff. (Much of the Witch scene is missing sections at the bottom of frame, only because we don't have a widescreen version of Princess.)

If anyone can prove you can trace Richard Williams' storyboards and make it look exactly like a cel from the final film, I'd be interested in seeing that!

I'd also like, for fun, to see 3D versions of the characters.

Even answering this question feels like sacrilege, but people are asking so I'm answering!

As another note: I always find fanmade Reanimated collabs (where every shot is done in a different style) to be a complete mess, and I wonder why people don't do a proper short instead like Super Turbo Atomic Ninja Rabbit.

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

Posted: Sun Aug 18, 2019 8:30 pm
by Garrett Gilchrist
Patrick Block asks: Is there a written score for the missing music?

Garrett Gilchrist writes: I don't have any documents about the musical score. Almost everything we know would come from watching the workprints themselves. We do have some (low quality) music tracks provided by one of the composers. The workprint's music consists of existing classical tracks, and some original pieces. I assume that finishing the score would have been one of the last things done on the film. The Recobbled Cut uses more music than the workprint, using similar classical pieces (or other sections of the same classical pieces) as well as the "Princess and the Cobbler" score. It's possible that the score as it stands would be tough to clear for home release, which might inspire a new score to be created.

Jonathan Baylis asks: Whose choices were Scheherezade and Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis? Were those with the workprint? Or were those yours, Garrett? (Scheherezade is one of my all-time favorite classical pieces and of course a natural for this tale)

Garrett Gilchrist writes: Scheherezade appears in the workprint, and in I Drew Roger Rabbit, a 1989ish documentary. I used more of it. I don't think Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis is in the final workprint, but a similar original piece is used as the opening, and I believe it's the opening theme in the KA reels, dating from 1990 or so.

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

Posted: Sun Aug 18, 2019 10:54 pm
by Garrett Gilchrist

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

Posted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 12:25 am
by Garrett Gilchrist
A personal note, if you'll allow me.

I was seven, on vacation in Martha's Vineyard, when I saw Who Framed Roger Rabbit. I was probably too young for that film but it sure blew my young mind. I slept on Roger Rabbit bedsheets. I had toys, and the inscrutable NES game.

I read about Richard Williams' work in a Comics Scene magazine the next year, and that he'd spent 25 years on a film he intended as his masterpiece, called The Thief and the Cobbler. That stuck with me, and then I saw the film's trailer in 1995 (or so) and realized that something horrible had happened to it.

I ended up spending 8 years restoring that unfinished film, and Dick's other obscure work. Worth it, I think. I met a lot of interesting and talented people, and was able to honor the work that so many had put into Richard's films by essentially forcing the internet to actually watch them.

At one point (we retain this in the Recobbled Cut) Richard Williams called his film "Once." As in "Once Upon a Time" but also that it, like Roger Rabbit, was a film he could only do once. He made "one offs." He put all his effort on the table, and he, like his films, was one of a kind.

Richard Williams' work always inspired me. It showed that animation is artwork - it's not a genre - it can be and look like anything. His animated advertisements could be any genre and style, and those who worked with him in the 70s and 80s were frustrated by his high standards and shifting moods, but also tended to learn quickly and start their own studios and go on to greater things. It was a golden age for commercial animation in London and most of that is unseen today.

You can't even get A Christmas Carol on modern home video and that won the Oscar. It had originally screened on television and they changed the rules afterward so no film could win the Oscar after doing that. Dick was not always well treated in the industry. He had a habit of accepting budgets that were just a little too low, and getting 90% of the way through production on a masterpiece before the money ran out. Raggedy Ann & Andy, A Christmas Carol and Who Framed Roger Rabbit got finished anyway. Warners got cold feet, and The Thief and the Cobbler didn't.

He wanted to be the greatest animator of his time and he more or less accomplished that. His book on animation is the guidebook for almost every animator working today. He was difficult and temperamental and irreplaceable. He always pushed for higher standards. His influence on animation cannot be understated. Through sheer force of will, he forced the entire industry to do better work.

In the 60s and 70s, television was king and the standards of what an animated film should look like had plummeted. Even Disney was repeating itself, and the best animators from the 40s were older then. Richard hired some of the best of them, to pass on their knowledge not just to him but to his competitors. Eventually he became an old master himself.

The industry was never quite ready for him. In Raggedy Ann & Andy, you can occasionally see great animation poking out from an otherwise cheap-looking production. Roger Rabbit was beyond what anyone else was doing, and set a new standard that others copied. He never made another feature after The Thief and the Cobbler was taken away from him. He focused on life drawing and becoming a teacher. It's tempting to think of what could have been, but what he left behind is a staggering legacy, most of which is not available to watch legally.

The first Recobbled Cut was a VHS which suffered so badly from VHS-copying Macrovision issues that you couldn't actually make a copy of it ...

In 2005 The Thief and the Cobbler was not well known outside of animation circles and I figured no one would watch a restoration. Its quality, as a film, is what lured people to it, even beyond the strange story of its production.

I've listened to hundreds of people tell their stories about Dick. That he could be emotional and impossible and his own worst enemy, but also the greatest teacher they ever had. He was beloved, and the people who knew him best loved him best, and were fiercely protective of him and his legacy. He was so much better and so much worse than he's given credit for, and I've never heard a recounting of the story of the making of The Thief and the Cobbler that I fully agree with. I always wanted to hear Dick's side of things instead, because the story of the making of that film is really the story of a big chunk of one man's life. Even if Dick's account of things wouldn't be entirely true, it would still be the right one to listen to. The film reflected him in so many ways. I'm sad we'll never get to hear that story.

People - especially people who knew him only briefly - like to talk trash about Richard Williams and have funny anecdotes that paint him as crazy. These are usually easy to debunk if you look at the facts.

From the outside, Dick seemed out of control, but he was always completely in control, on his own terms. People joke about him not storyboarding the film until 1990, or about constantly changing the script, or constantly changing the character designs. But as we examined his documents over many years, we realized the easy punchlines weren't true. He had a plan, he just wasn't telling everyone about it.

He had storyboarded an earlier version of the film in its entirety and apparently felt no need to update everything until he ran out of usable boards. The script was in place with scene numbers ten years before production officially began. And the character designs evolved as he became a better animator. They had to, since times had changed too.

I've heard a rumor, though I can't confirm it, that Richard Williams watched my Recobbled Cut sometime in 2013 and had mixed feelings - presumably including pain and rage - about seeing a version of his demolished masterpiece that wasn't his.

And it wasn't, you know. I didn't make it for him. I made it for everyone else in the world. Richard Williams had the best version of The Thief and the Cobbler in his head, and he's the only one who ever got to see it.

I can confirm that around that time he started talking about the film, for the first time in 20+ years, and screening his unfinished workprint as "A Moment In Time." When asked about my work in London, he said simply "Don't fuck with my hustle." A unique man.

I'm finally crying. I think I just needed to find the words first.

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

Posted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 12:31 pm
by Garrett Gilchrist

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

Posted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 12:36 pm
by Garrett Gilchrist
Tahsin Özgür writes: He was far from being an easy director to work for, a workaholic who demanded the same, a commander who excpected you to charge uphill happily against insurmountable odds: the more hopeless the battle, the more glorious the fight! If not necessarily the quintessential animator, he was the quintessential animation artist. It was an honor and a privilege to have worked for him.

Tom Sito writes:

Raggedy Ann & Andy in 1976. There was an animator on the film named George Bakes, who used to work with Bill Tytla when Tytla had a commercial studio in New York City in the 50s.

One day for lunch, Bakes offered to show us where Tytla liked to eat lunch. Dick joyfully led us all to the spot, a dingy greasy spoon luncheonette on w. 46th St that had seen better days. That didn't matter to Dick. As soon as he heard it was Tytla's favorite, Dick stood in the doorway, then dropped to his knees and began to bow, chanting "TYTLAAAA...TYTLAAA...!" Fun times.

Richard Williams was not just one of the best animators ever. He was one of the greatest animation students ever. He just didn't admire a great animator. He studied them. He analyzed their technique. He would clean up a Ken Harris or Grim Natwick scene. " Because when you assist someone," he'd say," You get into their minds and watch them solve problems."

Once in LA, I was working on a milk shake commercial for him. A mutual friend in the Disney training program had xeroxed a Milt Kahl Shere Khan scene for Dick. I walked over to Dick's office to confirm a field size. And when I walked in, the xeroxes were spread our all over the floor, Dick on his hands and knees studying them like Napoleon going over battle maps. "Look! Look at what Milt is doing. He labored over this pose.... and this pose...and the other keys are breakdowns...."

He also gave some of the best portfolio critique ever. He could go right to the center of your problem. He once went over my samples in 1978. He went on to London, and I went to New York and Toronto. Four years later I was back in town and showed him my stuff. " I see you took my advice.." He smiled.

Gary Dunn writes:

So so sad to hear about the death of Dick Williams this weekend.

His energy and passion for OUR craft was so great that he seemed like he'd just continue animating forever.
It's true, he had a huge influence in making London and Soho, the centre of modern animation excellence, and that green building with Georgian windows in soho square..a mecca for world class animation talent.

Dick's legacy, and contribution to the artform will forever continue to inspire new talent.

At 21, straight out of college,( there was a spell at FRO7 before that! ..more on that another time!)
I had the opportunity to work for Dick on his masterpiece.. The Thief and the Cobbler.
Assisting Alex his son, then becoming Animator soon after, I now see what a great honour that was, and such an incredible opportunity at such a young age.
Two years passed quickly, (72 hr weeks will do that..)..we were young and obsessed and on an accelerated apprenticeship like no other.
No lie, It wasn't an easy job, it was a volatile place to work some days, but a joy on others
I've made friends for life from that experience.

Then it ended..the film after 26 years in production of some form, was taken over by the completion bond guarantors..The American producers had rolled into the studio..production had ceased..we were told we were finishing at the end of the week, and to box up scenes and to leave notes for whoever/wherever they were going to be finished..then about 40 mins later we were told to leave instantly..the studio was being locked.
So we did what any studio being shuttered would do..the crew headed to the know how it goes.

All this this chaos..Dick was sitting at his desk..headphones on..Drawing.

My lasting memory of that day wasn't ..where do i get another job? was...Where do i learn it now?...

But i had, I learnt a work ethic, I learnt method, i learnt process, I had the chance to learn from amazing animators and assistants..Dave Byers Brown, Roy Naisbitt, Taschin, Sahin, Andreas Wessel-Therhorn, Graham Bebbington ,Alyson Hamilton, Jurgen Gross, Judy Howieson, Denis Deegan,Iain Gardner, the late Roger Way, Alex Williams, Brent Odell, Dave Cockburn, Tanya Fenton Sharon smith, Robert Malherbe, Tara Donovan, steve evangelatos, Michael Schlingmann, Lynette Charters Serembe, John Cousen, Bob Wilk, Ian Anderson, Robert Somerville, and Dean Roberts and Tim Watts and Neil Boyle..all amazing People..

For that I'm deeply grateful, and today i will be drawing, and i shall listen to Bix and Hoagy Carmichael...

My sympathy goes to Alex, Claire and Moe at this time.

Lynette Charters Serembe writes: It was a magical way to learn, Dicks passion was infection. Such a great crew, I remember them to be like some weird and wonderful international family at the time, and such precious memories. Thanks for bringing them back Gary. XO

Mark Naisbitt kept working too while someone handed out beers and we packed up our scenes and naively wrote notes thinking someone in LA was going to finish it the way we started it. Mark said he felt like the orchestra on the Titanic

Andreas Wessel-Therhorn I often thought of that day. first we were told that the studio would close at the end of the workdays we trotted off to linch. Then we came back and suddenly it was' we are closing right now'. People were carrying out what they could via the backstairs, total pandemonium, with Dick sitting in the middle working on a scene.Broke my heart

Do you remember the crowd scene we shared? One of Dick's nicest compliments to us ' there was no wanking around on this'

In November 1990, after 6 months of working as Assistant animators, Dick took all four Germans ( Michael Schlingmann, Holger Leihe, Dietmar Kremer and myself) to a Greek restaurant. We were as flattered as we were confused. He ordered the 'run-over chicken', talked about The little Mermaid ( it's not very good ) to which we said with one voice' we love it' and had a bit of small talk.Then he promoted all four of us to Animators. To quote Yentl ( as I'm prone to do )' there are moments, you remember all your life'

Steve Evangelatos writes: It was an open studio and I think many will remember my first day when Dick screamed at me for ten straight minutes for being an hour late (I was new to the London underground). It was eventually mended, he even apologized, and I like to think we became friends. Working with Dick was well worth the struggles of time and effort. I've heard of soldiers who'd follow their general anywhere into battle. I think I know that feeling.

Sue Kroyer writes: (About Raggedy Ann) I was so happy to be part of this crew in New York! I met so many wonderful people, including Tom Sito, Eric Goldberg and Kevin Petrilak in NY, and Karen Marjoribanks in LA.These folks have become lifelong friends! Dick was such an inspiration to us all. We pretty much worshipped the ground he walked on!! The loss of Richard Williams in our lives in unspeakably sad. I am so glad I have gotten to see him and Mo again over the past few years! I am also glad Bill and I got to visit him in his office at Aardman Studios. He was animating Prologue at the time, and he said he was more excited about that than anything he had ever done!

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

Posted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 1:21 pm
by Garrett Gilchrist
The BFI has responded to my Tweets about releasing The Thief and the Cobbler "A Moment In Time" workprint, with what looks like a meaningless intern reply.

"Hi Garrett, it's a great idea but unfortunately we have no plans at present. Keep an eye on our channels for all upcoming announcements."

I'm not reading much into it.

Also, if people are making fanart in tribute to Richard Williams, how about some 3D models of his characters? It would be interesting to put a T-posed Tack the Cobbler into Mixamo.