The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 4

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

Postby Garrett Gilchrist » Wed Dec 18, 2013 1:43 am

Photos by Sam Sleiman:
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On Tuesday, December 10, at 7:30 p.m. at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, Richard Williams presented his May 13, 1992 workprint of The Thief and the Cobbler for the first time publicly, over twenty years since production on his intended animated masterpiece famously shut down. Williams labored for 25 years on the now legendary feature film, inbetween working on commercials and other projects like Who Framed Roger Rabbit, for which Williams won two Academy Awards, and the 1972 Oscar-winning animated short “A Christmas Carol,” which was also screened at the event.

The success of Roger Rabbit helped revitalize Disney and kick off its 90s animation renaissance. It also led to Warner Bros. financing Richard's dream project. Most of The Thief and the Cobbler was completed from 1989 to 1992, but at least six months was needed to complete the film when production shut down. The film was dropped into other hands and never completed as intended.

This night was a triumph for Williams, nearly fifty years after he first conceived the Thief character and his world while illustrating a series of books by Idries Shah about the humorous Sufi wiseman Mullah Nasrudin. Richard is now 80 years old and still animating.

Over 1000 people turned out for the event, including animation notables like Eric Goldberg, Chris Wedge, June Foray, Alan Menken, David Silverman, Phil Roman, Art Leonardi, Tom Sito, Mark Kausler, John Musker, Ron Clements, Theodore Thomas, Charles Solomon, Bob Kurtz, Chris Wedge, 96-year old Looney Tunes painter Martha Sigall, Kevin Kurytnik, Carol Beecher, Jerry Beck, Yvette Kaplan, Carl Bell, Andreas Wessel-Therhorn, and Dick Williams’ daughters Claire and Holly Williams.

In the lobby, visitors could see the Academy’s public exhibition “Richard Williams: Master of Animation,” which had been on display since October. Original art, paintings and cels from Richard's career were there, as well as HD screens displaying a new documentary about Richard. Clips from The Thief and the Cobbler were included, along with Richard speaking about the film, and apparently a lengthy clip from the secret film Richard is working on now. I wasn't able to simply stand and watch the new material, but there were high-quality clips from "The Little Island" and "Love Me Love Me Love Me," and cels from those films on the wall. There was a giant painting of Roger Rabbit, and tiny reproductions of Thief and the Cobbler storyboards. It was a great tribute to Richard's work, which I perused while chatting with friends.

The digital transfer of A Christmas Carol was excellent quality. We were told that for the short's theatrical release, the color timing had been altered, to look more like "parchment," compared to what was seen on television. That color timing is also seen on our 16mm copy, as transferred by Peter C. for The Thief Archive, although the Academy transfer is warmer and less blue.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTzyC9CZuOA

The Oscar-winning short looked terrific, and very clean, with subtle colors and accurate contrast, very much ready for home video release. It lacked somewhat in vertical stability, however, seeming to vibrate slightly especially during the opening credits.

Then it was time for the long-delayed premiere of The Thief and the Cobbler.

"I'm here to thank Randy," Richard began by saying. "He's been on this case for many years. At least 14 years. And he is the reason that this has been redigitized, and gone through tremendous expense and work. So thank you very much." The audience applauded. "I also want to thank my lifelong friend from high school Carl Bell, who's been a Governor of the Academy." Carl Bell is a Governor of the Academy's Short films and feature animation branch.

While fans of the film have seen a slightly earlier workprint version of The Thief and the Cobbler on VHS for two decades now, this later May 13, 1992 workprint, struck on the last day of production, is similar but different. Yes, this is a version the public had not seen before, and I will detail all those differences at the end of this post.

For comparison, here is the VHS workprint:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H_aHoRGr8KQ

Most people here, and many in that audience, will be more familiar with my restored version, The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut, which you can see here, as released in September 2013. The Recobbled Cut has much more finished footage and sound.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZibUpH- ... 620B61D076

The workprint as screened was of course an unrestored version, though digitally transferred from Richard's own 35mm copy with loving care. Being a duplicate workprint it did suffer from very high contrast, with detail lost in the highs and lows. During the war machine finale, the One Eye soldiers were mostly black without other details, and dark scenes such as The Thief walking into the Cobbler's shop and The Thief rejoicing that his hands haven't been chopped off were heavy with digital noise, from the transfer technicians trying to show what detail was still left in the print and transfer. The workprint is known for having a golden yellow color to it, but this transfer was a bit more green. The opening scenes of the film looked a bit sickly rather than lush. Other scenes, like The Thief flying with yellow "wings," looked excellent and worthy of home video release, because they hadn't taxed the transfer too far into the black or white areas.

You'll be curious how this compares to The Recobbled Cut. Of course most of the Recobbled Cut is from VHS and DVD sources, and doesn't even begin to compare to 35mm, although since the DVD sources are from the "official" releases of Arabian Knight and Princess and the Cobbler, they don't suffer from contrast issues. We transferred about 30 minutes of the film from 35mm workprint reels for the Mark 4 Recobbled Cut, and these reels also suffer from contrast issues with detail lost in the black areas. However, they do look better, and truer in color, than the Academy workprint. I also hand-restored this footage for use in the Recobbled Cut, removing the splices and jumps which appear on every cut, as well as dirt and damage.

The ideal solution to restore The Thief and the Cobbler would be to get a 35mm print of The Princess and the Cobbler or Arabian Knight and transfer that as well. As well as any negatives that might exist. A workprint just can't compare in terms of picture quality, as it was never intended to be a released version of the film.

At the Academy, this was the first time I, or anyone else, had seen most of these scenes in full 35mm quality. All the footage looked clean, clear and terrific as you'd expect.

This was also a later version of the film than the familiar workprint, so there were a few pleasant surprises. In the opening "crystal ball" sequence, there was finished color footage of clouds, although a bit rough-looking and not done on "ones." The scene of Phido attacking Tack in his cell featured two pencil-test closeups of Tack, and a full-color shot of Phido's eye seen through the cell door - a shot Chris Fern and I had recreated for the Recobbled Mark 4! A pencil test of Roofless digging in the ground was more complete than in the familiar workprint, and we saw pencil tests that we've only seen in the obscure "Keramidas Cut" of the film, such as Yum Yum confronting Phido, the Eunuchs sleeping, and the Brigands laughing at the war machine. Similarly from the Keramidas Cut, there was also complete color footage of Tack walking down a hallway and making Yum Yum's face out of thread. It's clear that the "Keramidas Cut" was made from this version.

It's not a lot of footage; the May 13 workprint isn't much different from the familiar workprint. But it's there.

I was of course excited to see these short bursts of unseen "Thief." For a public screening, though, the familiar workprint would have been slightly better to show an audience. The familiar workprint was clearly at an editing stage where Richard felt happy showing it to people. This workprint was struck because Richard was losing the film, and there are some oddities about it.

I am not sure how much of this is intentional, but there are many points on the soundtrack where dialogue, music, sound effects, or some other important element are absent from the mix, making many scenes less effective than they should be. Many scenes have also had a blue line drawn on them, for unknown editing reasons - the scene of The Thief in Yum Yum's bedroom is rife with this. Many scenes also are in the process of being retimed, and thus have a few frames of blank film spliced in somewhere. This was so common I didn't keep track of it. So it's a bit more "damaged" or worked on than the familiar workprint.

I was told by several people afterward that they wished I'd been there to "recobble" and restore the film at least a little - that is, get rid of any mistakes, fill out the sound mix and present a much more complete film. I can't help but agree.

But these are minor quibbles. Here it is at last, the Thief and the Cobbler workprint, in a public screening, and it went over very well with the audience.

I'm so overly familiar with the material now that it was a pleasant experience hearing the audience roar with laughter at the Thief's exploits throughout, and cheer at the destruction of the War Machine. Not all of the humor of the film got laughs from this audience, who sometimes seemed at sea in the unfinished presentation, but the Thief's scenes in particular were very popular indeed, and that's a testament to the skill of Ken Harris, Dick Williams, Holger Leihe and all the animators.

The film featured no front or end credits, or a logo, apart from two very simple text cards at front calling it "The Thief and the Cobbler: A Moment in Time."

The credits in the program given out to us were very brief and very incomplete, written up from Richard's memory. The older master animators who had taught the younger crew were listed, and a handful of the newer animators, but not many.

Even so there was one surprise, with Princess Yum Yum credited to Sara Crowe - which the production notes of the film (scanned with thanks to Dane Becker) confirm.

I typed up a full credit list for the Recobbled Cut Mark 4, and I have to admit that watching the workprint made me appreciate my years of hard work on the Recobbled Cut. I found myself missing all the little touches I'd put in to make the film play better with an audience. I worked very hard and created a damned good version of the film. It was actually odd seeing the film in its raw state.

It was "A Moment in Time," and a triumph for Richard Williams, as the audience got on their feet to give him a standing ovation.

He then sat for a Q&A session, which Sam Sleiman recorded here:
http://www.sendspace.com/file/f7yk8o

And some brief videos:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivpaLTVOVKw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EREKvwRgLoM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H9hqroKTORc

Richard didn't mention Nasrudin or Idries Shah or Fred Calvert. No, this was a celebration of the sort of stuff about The Thief that you'd want to remember, with emphasis, as ever, on the film's earlier development with the great Ken Harris, Art Babbit, and so on. I feel that the (mostly young) animators who worked on the film during major production from 1990-1992 get overlooked, as they did exceptional work learning and living up to Richard's standards. Andreas Wessel-Therhorn, who animated Zigzag's lackeys, was in attendance and was singled out for credit by Williams.

While there were many animation notables there I failed to recognize, I did spot legendary voice actress June Foray, and said hello to Eric Goldberg, Tom Sito, Mark Kausler, Jerry Beck, Yvette Kaplan, Allen Battino, and Persistence of Vision director Kevin Schreck (and his aunt and uncle). Kevin, Margaret Williams and I had had lunch the day before. I also spoke to people I knew, like Sam Sleiman and Marcus Brenneman, Disney licensing artist John Loter, Alexander McDonald of the Cinefamily, and others.

I also spoke to Richard Williams himself.

My trip to Los Angeles had been very kindly paid for by forum members, and I feel very lucky and privileged to have such friends and such support that I could be there at this historic moment in time. I was staying under the kind hospitality of Margaret Williams, Richard's ex-wife who wrote the film's screenplay in the mid-1970s, which helped me not go completely broke in Los Angeles.

Margaret had spoken to her daughter - Claire, I think, or Holly - and had heard that Richard Williams didn't want to stick around to meet and speak to people before or after the screening, as he had been mobbed at the event in October. That event sold out, and this one nearly sold out as well. Certainly the large theater was largely full.

That's a shame, I thought. After eight years of restoring his work it would be nice to meet Richard Williams. These chances don't come along often.

But he did stick around, albeit briefly. He didn't leave the stage, and was surrounded by security guards and his wife, Imogen Sutton, but he stayed long enough to speak to four or five people among the many who had come up to the stage below him. He had a deer-in-headlights look in his eyes, but it seemed that he was sticking around long enough to be polite and talk to a handful of people, which seemed to me like the best way to handle the situation. It seemed to me that with all his security he could have left at any time.

One fan asked him for his autograph. He said if he did that he'd have to sign for everyone and never stop.

Well then, I thought. I suppose this is my one chance to meet him. I think someone behind me even said, go, you have to go, go ahead. I suppose I also wanted to come back with a good story for all the forum members and friends who had supported me coming here.

He was talking to people on his right. I was on his left, and it wasn't all that easy to get closer and get his attention.

I was the last one to speak to him before he left. I think he was already turning to leave.

I shook his hand and told him I ran a community of fans on the internet who loved his work, and that I'd eight years restoring The Thief and his other work. He put his hands on my shoulders and said, "Do your own stuff!" I said, I do. I mentioned Kevin Schreck and his film, and handed him three DVDs of The Recobbled Cut and his business card. Then his wife finally stepped in to lead him away.

It was awkward enough, but it happened, and I'm glad it did. It was odd handing him copies of his own film, as I restored it. I still have no idea what knowledge he has, or doesn't have, of the Recobbled Cut and Thief Archive and everything we've done here to promote, restore and rehabilitate the reputation of these films.

Afterward, I've been told, Richard went out for drinks with about fifteen people that Imogen Sutton invited, including NYU animation teacher Dean Kalman Lennert, filmmaker Scott Storm, and Walking Dead actor Scott Wilson.

Lennert asked Richard a few questions - notably whether Richard himself dubbed Zigzag's voice on certain lines to replace the ailing Vincent Price. Richard said he did for the line "What a wonderful swing." He couldn't recall if he did on "We'll see who wins at the end of the day." Lennert also asked Williams if Sean Connery ever managed to record his one line as the Cobbler - "I love you." Richard said no, and that's a shame.

After the screening, Margaret Williams needed to get home and rest. I wound up getting a ride back later with screenwriter Ernie Vecchione, and we had a very nice chat.

The next day, Margaret heard that I was one of a mob who had "stormed the stage" to bother Richard. I'm not sure who phrased it that way. When she'd told me that Dick didn't want to stick around after the screening, I hadn't realized that was her (and the family, perhaps) requesting that I not try to speak to Dick specifically. She wasn't happy, to say the least, and I gather that I'm not to be forgiven for this. I had to stay at a hotel that night, gotten at the last minute at more expense than I could really afford. The lamp in the room looked very much like the Three Golden Balls. I took a picture.

She's defriended me on Facebook. It's clear that Richard and his film are still a touchy and emotional subject for her, and probably other members of the family, with a lot of conflicting emotions involved. I stepped right into that with the grace of a rhinoceros, but my actions seemed innocent and logical enough at the time. Even now I don't think I really did anything wrong. But these things are tricky. We're a tricky species.

I'm snowed in, now, after digging myself out of snow yesterday. It's been snowing a lot. My flight to Los Angeles was delayed twelve hours, and I barely made it, since the Philadelphia airport was closed for snow and the Dallas airport had been all but shut down for several days. I was in the Dallas airport overnight, unable to sleep because of the snow. There were no shuttles available to hotels if I'd wanted one. I was told that if the early-morning flight I'd been booked on didn't come off, it would be another two days before I could get another. But the flight went, and I got to Los Angeles. And Margaret's hospitality was hospitable, until she got sick of me, which I do blame on myself. The flight back to Connecticut went off without delay, thankfully, though it took an hour to dig my car out from under the ice in the parking lot. I drove two hours back to New York and arrived home at 3:30 AM, exhausted and feeling I'd barely made it back alive.

I always feel that way about Los Angeles.

On the way back I read a book called Families and How to Survive Them, by Robin Skynner and John Cleese. Some of its ideas are so outdated now as to be offensive, but I felt I learned something from it, about people. Heaven knows I could use the help sometimes.
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Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 4

Postby Garrett Gilchrist » Wed Dec 18, 2013 1:43 am

Here are some editing notes on the May 13, 1992 workprint of The Thief and the Cobbler, as compared to the familiar, and widely-bootlegged earlier workprint of the film. These notes were taken at the Academy screening on Tuesday, December 10, 2013. These are not complete but will give a sense of this edit, which was sometimes missing audio elements.

* During the opening "crystal ball" sequence, there is more finished color footage of clouds. The animation looks a bit rough in a 1970s sort of way, and I don't think it's on "ones." It's also larger than the surrounding footage.

Blue lines, as if to signal a wipe, are drawn across some scenes for unknown editing reasons. There is writing on the first scene of the Thief and Cobbler.

There's an extra musical note ending the scene when The Thief is unable to enter the palace gates at the beginning.

The "and" is missing from "And now, oh greatest of the great …"

Shot of Tack "tripping" Zigzag is in color (as in the released versions), with Zigzag's first "ugh" absent from audio (I think; my notes are hard to read here). The Keramidas cut would be a good guide for which shots are in color now.

The "love theme" music is absent until Nanny's line "Your bath is ready, my dear," at which point it kicks in abruptly.

I believe the shot of the Thief being expelled from the drain pipe is cut shorter.

Chiming sound effects are heard on the closeup of Yum Yum's back scratcher as its gems glint in the light.

Yum Yum's line "Maybe something died" is a different, slower take.

The first shot of Tack in his jail cell, showing a cat's cradle of thread that forms the face of Princess Yum Yum, is finished in color and longer than in the Calvert versions. This is present in the "Keramidas cut" and was restored from low quality material for the Recobbled Mark 4.

The final shot of The Thief running away from the Polo ponies is cut in two, and possibly shortened in general. The scene of Yum Yum throwing an apple at Zigzag occurs later, then cuts to the second half of this Thief shot, at the point where he is in closeup running toward us (there is already a splice at this exact point at 23:55 on the workprint). It's an odd structure for the scene.

We hear snoring during Zigzag's "Happy is the kingdom" speech.

* The scene of the One Eyes on the devastated battlefield cheering "One Eyes! One Eyes!" is longer and contains additional animation and shots, all in pencil test form. There is at least one shot here which is in no other version of the movie.

The scene of the dying soldier trying to mount his horse is much shorter and cut in two. We would cut back to The Mighty One Eye (with a "SCENE MISSING" card) for the line "The day of death …"

There is a blue editing "dissolve" line drawn on almost every shot of The Thief in Yum Yum's bedroom, for unknown editing reasons.

* The scene of Phido attacking Tack in his cell is more finished. The two closeups of Tack are now pencil tests rather than storyboards, and the shot of Phido's eye looking through the cell door window is finished in color. This shot was recreated in color by Chris Fern and Garrett Gilchrist for the Recobbled Cut Mark 4.

It's worth saying that the audio was extremely clear in this presentation, letting us really hear lines like this one from Zigzag: "You can have the head to start, then the neck and then the heart. Such a tasty little man, eh (laughs), my flying garbage can?"

I think my notes say there is music over "Get me Zigzag! Now!" and that the King says "ugh."

Many shots are in the process of being retimed in this edit, so black screen is used for a few frames to fill out the shot. The storyboard of Phido burning is one of these.

"The balls are gone! My kingdom will come to destruction and death!" Two lightning crashes during the big pullback are very loud indeed.

Tack hits a trick brick on the palace wall and walks down a secret passage. This is pencil test in the familiar workprint but finished in color here, as in the Keramidas cut. The last few frames feature an animation error where the lighting suddenly drops out, so they are omitted from Arabian Knight and Princess and the Cobbler. These were restored to an extent for the Recobbled Cut Mark 4.

The sound mix is different for the Thief stealing the Emerald and getting arrested (which is not extended at the end, as it is in the Recobbled). In the familiar workprint, the sound mix is just of The Thief. In this workprint, we continue to hear Zigzag's Lackeys for awhile, and the "Golden City March" music continues in the distant background for the entire length of the scene for some reason.

* "Oh, I see who did it" - Pencil test of Yum Yum coming down the stairs to confront Phido. This shot is also in the Keramidas cut (in low quality) and the Recobbled Mark 4.

As Zigzag enters to speak to the King, "Have no fear" is a different audio take.

King Nod's angry reaction to Zigzag is shortened. "You? … Never!" In the familiar workprint it's "You want my daughter? Never!"

It's often been theorized that Richard Williams voiced Zigzag for "We'll see who wins at the end of the day." He's admitted to voicing "What a wonderful swing," and this is a similar voice, although on the big screen it holds together and doesn't sound like a different voice taking over at least.

I think my notes say that we hear the King muttering "Hm, hm, hm, hm!" before the line "Magicked? The witch!" I believe this was accompanied by exterior storyboards of the palace, as in the released versions. Editing in the scene of the King talking to Yum Yum about the witch is a bit different. There is a previously-unseen storyboard of Tack listening at the curtain. Yum yum doesn't gasp after asking "How did you get free?" and that scene is cut shorter. There is a pencil test of Yum Yum hugging her father at the end, and I think a pencil test of Tack earlier.

The shots of Hook shouting "A caravan is coming!" are in color as in the released versions.

* "Consult the Brigands' handbook!" The pencil test of Roofless digging into the ground is unfinished in the familiar workprint but a finished pencil test in this workprint, and in very low quality in the Calvert WIP.

A key shot of the film is when we pull out from Zigzag's eye to reveal the entire One Eye camp. The music that accompanies this even survived into the Calvert WIP, although in a different recording. But there is no music here, only drumming, which is very surprising. We don't hear One Eye say "Throne!" either. The music, and familiar audio in general, only fades back in when Zigzag snarls "Phido!"

Zigzag's awkward laugh in response to One Eye's laughing was not as loud as I expected.

I believe my notes say there's an extra musical sting at the end of the Zigzag / One Eye scene, as Phido laughs.

* An extra pencil test of the Eunuchs snoring appears here, as in the Keramidas Cut (in low quality) and the Recobbled Mark 4.

During the storyboard scene of Tack and the Brigands first noticing the hand-shaped mountain, there is no music from Scheherezade or Yum Yum saying "Tack?" The Brigands' dialogue is more prominent and has the extra line "Who would be putting that up there?"

When Roofless asks "Ahem, Princess, perhaps me and my men ought to be stayin' here," the beginning of the line is cut, starting with "Me and my men …"

As The Thief flies around the mountain, we don't hear Nanny shout "Giant bird! Giant bird!" robbing the scene of its punchline.

Similarly, after Yum Yum says "We'll pay," The Witch does not say "Okay!"

As the mountain falls apart and The Thief walks away with springs on his feet, there is music playing. The music continues, and my notes say that we no longer hear the Brigands panicking at the scene's end.

As the Thief retrieves a new cloak from the trash, we don't hear the Brigands getting ready to charge in the background, so that scene also ends abruptly in terms of audio.

Zigzag and One Eye: "Tomorrow, I strike!" This scene is much more finished as pencil tests than in the familiar workprint.

As the One Eye War Machine reveals that it has the Golden Balls, the audio mix is much sparser, lacking music. Music is missing or mixed lower in general as the One Eyes attack. The shots of the One Eyes' feet marching are based much more around the thumping of their feet than the music. "Ruins it," my notes say.

* A color, distant wide shot of the One Eye War Machine with the Golden City in the background has a lightning effect over it, echoing over the clouds, as in the Keramidas cut and Recobbled Mark 4.

Something odd happens to the music and audio right before the Brigands, Nanny, Tack and Yum Yum shout and come to a stop in front of the War Machine. I think the War Machine footage has been cut down a bit here, but its music and sound effects still continue behind these storyboards when they shouldn't, so that two different sound tracks are playing at once and the audio becomes a mess. Different or strange audio mixing also affects Kind Nod's "My daughter" scene to an extent.

The music for the One Eye march is also handled differently, with an "echo" effect on the editing. We'll hear a bit of musical phrasing, then that phrase will repeat as a duller echo of itself. "Ugh," my notes say.

* I believe we get more pencil tests of the Brigands reacting to the War Machine, as finished in the released versions.

The showdown between Tack and Zigzag is being reworked, with lots of "spacer" black frames for where footage is retimed. The audio is still all over the place here. There is no "tearing" sound as Zigzag's spear tears Tack's clothing, one of many missing sound effects in this cut.

* A color shot of Tack's tack ricocheting off of One Eye Soldiers' helmets appears here. It's pencil test in the familiar workprint, appears in color in the Keramidas Cut and Calvert WIP and Recobbled Cut Mark 4 (in lower quality), and is cut from the released versions.

* Two brief pencil tests of the Brigands pointing and laughing at the War Machine appear in the Keramidas Cut. I believe only one of them was in this workprint, and it may have been one longer shot here.

"The U.S. Air Force" theme does not play when The Thief flies in an accidentally-built airplane. We hear only sound effects.

Phido eating Zigzag has some black "spacer" frames in it at the end. There are lots of these throughout but I didn't make note of them.

The triumphant music as Tack gets the golden balls is missing, replaced with what my notes call "worse music" - a quiet portion of Scheherezade that we originally heard when discovering the hand-shaped mountain.

There are lots of black spacer frames in the ending, as Tack says "I love you."


There you go.

On a side note … In the clearer big-screen presentation, the Thief bumps into a sign at the Buddha Ruby which I still can't make out on the Princess DVD but which says something like FRENCH [COAST?] FOR SALE/RENT [CALL?] MARIE [2?].




EDIT:
PAW wrote on June 1, 2014:

Strange hearing such a different sound mix. I noticed a lot of added sound effects for things like impacts, such as the thief landing on awnings, and wind whooshing type effects. It felt more like a surround mix from the 90s (not that I think it was actually surround), whereas the VHS workprint feels more like mono from the 60s, partially, but not only, because of the quality. Where it doesn’t have missing elements or inferior music, I’d say the 13th May mix is better. The problem is, it has a lot of those problems. One major line of missing dialogue, which I couldn’t remember reading about in Garrett’s notes, was Zigzag saying “It’s not time to get up, too early to rise, too early to open the king’s sleepy eyes”. There were points where the sound seemed to switch quality, with a few scenes sounding hissy, the cuts to different sound qualities seemed to occur in sync with cuts between shots. The sound most of the time was pristine, with no hiss.
There were three shots in storyboard, which are in pencil tests in the Keramidas cut. The second overhead shot of the brigands, princess, cobbler etc. reacting to the war machine, the overhead shot of Zigzag charging tack, and the second shot of the brigands pointing and laughing at the destruction of the war machine. And of course in most cases it is the other way round, with the May 13th print being more complete. Which, along with the different sound mixes, leads me to believe there were two workprints in existence in 1992.
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Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 4

Postby Jules » Wed Dec 18, 2013 3:44 am

Thank you Garrett, for an excellently written report.

I feel confused about why Margaret WIlliams (and family) would not want you to meet Richard, and why she is so offended that you did. Considering you weren't told this outright and she settled on making cryptic remarks that Richard didn't want to meet people afterwards, I hardly feel you are guilty of anything. And whoever told her that you "mobbed" Richard is a poisonous prick.

Try not to worry too much about the Margaret incident. I believe you still have good contacts with Richard's son, Alex, no?

Also glad to hear that you met some other animation greats. You didn't by any chance see Andreas Deja, did you?
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Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 4

Postby Garrett Gilchrist » Wed Dec 18, 2013 7:52 am

Not Andreas Deja, no. Alex seemed pleased enough that I'd met his father.
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Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 4

Postby Oliver Judd » Wed Dec 18, 2013 11:21 am

Thanks for the report. That's certainly a shame about Margaret Williams... just seems like a simple misunderstanding. But it's lovely that everything else went the way it did. Thanks for those links!
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Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 4

Postby mowen4892 » Wed Dec 18, 2013 4:17 pm

A few questions for you, Garrett, about your opportunity to speak with RW. What was his overall tone when meeting him, was he nice? You handed him your business card or Kevin's? You gave him 3 DVDs, all copies of the Recobbled Cut Mark IV? Did he say anything when you handed him the DVDs before Imogen led him away? And what was her tone when leading him away, was it like "it's time to go" or more like "you're bothering him"? I don't see why it'd be the latter, because he's gotta be used to people telling him they're huge fans and the fact that you've spent years restoring his hard work should be intriguing, not the least bit bothersome. And I'm sorry about what happened with Margaret, I still feel like that whole situation makes no sense: if she invited you to stay with her but didn't want you to say anything to Richard, why wouldn't she say anything about it besides "he didn't want to stick around afterwards"? I guess misunderstandings just inevitably happen sometimes. Hoping RW takes a look at that Recobbled DVD and gets some ideas.
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Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 4

Postby Emulgator » Wed Dec 18, 2013 6:04 pm

Happy to hear the news !
I was indeed thinking of flying from Berlin to LA to attend this event,
but then got sick and was unable to go anywhere.
Well, much better now, taking up work again.
Yes, it is interesting to see how many people worked on the same theme, sometimes not even knowing each other's names,
just crossing the right place at the right time, and then seem to vanish.
Opinions may be shared, interpretations may differ, one thing seems to be the constant: the work in progress.
I will enjoy further recobbling, lets see where this ship goes.
Garrett, I will send you a small 1TB HDD. Let me know if you want me to put something uncompressed onto it.
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Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 4

Postby Garrett Gilchrist » Wed Dec 18, 2013 10:20 pm

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZibUpH- ... 76&index=1

On September 19, 2013, The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 4 was released to Youtube and download by filmmaker Garrett Gilchrist. This painstaking frame-by-frame restoration of what was intended to be Richard Williams' masterpiece represents the culmination of eight years of work and research, and took over two years to complete. Rare video and film sources were found and restored from all over the world, with sequences cleaned up and reconstructed in Photoshop, After Effects and Final Cut Pro, on a frame by frame basis. Entirely new shots and scenes were created to tell the story like never before. Done without any official assistance, it is perhaps the most complex and unusual restoration of a feature film ever attempted.

The first true Recobbled Cut was edited together in January 2006, at the request of one of the film's original crew. Garrett Gilchrist had been a fan of the film for many years, but the would-be masterpiece only survived on very poor quality VHS bootlegs, as well as Arabian Knight and Princess and the Cobbler, versions of the film which didn't come close to reflecting what Richard Williams intended. The idea was to edit together a watchable version which gave a better idea of what Williams had in mind. While the film had a cult status in animation circles, it was largely unknown to the general public. Gilchrist assumed that only about fifteen people would be interested in his edit of the obscure film. Instead, the Recobbled Cut became a cult film in its own right, being featured at Cartoon Brew, Mythbusters' Tested.com, Cracked, The Nostalgia Critic, and in many film festival screenings, introducing it to a new generation on the internet with over a million Youtube views.

Eight years later, Gilchrist's restorations and his continued work and research into the animated legacy of Richard Williams for The Thief Archive has made a serious impact into the way the film is perceived. While the "Arabian Knight" version of the film had sold itself as something of a joke, a bargain-basement, direct-to-video version of Aladdin, Gilchrist has worked hard since 2006 to present the film as a major animated work to be studied alongside classic films like Disney's Fantasia. It also inspired a documentary film by Kevin Schreck, "Persistence of Vision."

On December 10, 2013, Richard Williams screened his unfinished 1992 workprint of The Thief and the Cobbler publicly through the Academy in Los Angeles. This was the first ever public screening of the film, over twenty years after production famously shut down and nearly fifty years after the Thief character and his world were first conceived. Williams received a standing ovation and Gilchrist was there to shake his hand. Richard Williams, now eighty, is known as the three-time Academy Award winning animator of Who Framed Roger Rabbit and A Christmas Carol, and author of The Animator's Survival Kit, which is considered the greatest instructional book ever written about how to animate. He has been called "The Animator's Animator," and The Thief and the Cobbler is, perhaps, the animator's animated film. It contains some of the most complex hand-drawn animation ever attempted in any animated film, and is certainly the most ambitious independent animated production ever undertaken.

My name is Garrett Gilchrist, and at the moment I am hanging up my hat and calling The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut finished. Oh, there's plenty more that could be done. There's half a film's worth of dirt and splices I could spend another year or two painting out. There's missing music, missing credits, special effects and things we could redraw and fix. I could easily, and happily, keep on working on this for ages, as Richard did.

But there comes a time when you have to say, it's good enough. No, not even good enough, but good. Excellent, actually. What this restoration accomplished, with the help of so many friends and talented colleagues, is quite unlike anything else I've ever seen the Internet age accomplish. We had no official support and I did it for no other reason than I liked the film and wanted people to see it, and it seemed like the right thing to do. It's a work of art and I don't regret a single moment of it.

Regardless of what happens from here on out, this film has had a happy ending, and shows that good art, good filmmaking, and good work will survive, in spite of the politics and personalities that can doom a film to big-screen obscurity.

Most people haven't seen it, you know. Not this version, the version I spent two years restoring in HD. They've seen the old versions of the Recobbled Cut, which weren't nearly as good. The war machine finale was viewed 760,717 times on Youtube.

And some spammer stole and posted my old version as the "Original Cut - Full Length!" and has 390, 503 views to date.

The actual, good, Mark 4 Recobbled Cut? That's got 7,758 views as I'm writing this, for part one. By part 4 it's 2,841 views.

I think we did something really special and different here, something that is as unique in terms of film restoration as The Thief and the Cobbler is unique in animation history.

I'd quite like people to see it. Tell your friends.

And to everyone who's helped out and supported this film and me for the past eight years, thank you, thank you, a thousand times, thank you.


"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.

Once upon a time, there was a golden city. In the center of the Golden City, atop the tallest minaret, were three gold balls. The ancients had prophesied that if the three golden balls were ever taken away, harmony would yield to discord, and the city would fall to destruction and death. But, the mystics had also foretold that the city might be saved by the simplest soul, with the smallest and simplest of things.

In the city, there dwelt a lowly shoemaker, who was known as Tack the Cobbler. Also in the city existed a thief, who shall be nameless …"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZibUpH- ... 76&index=1
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Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 4

Postby GeoNine » Wed Dec 18, 2013 10:57 pm

With all the work you've put into this, you should be proud. And that includes everyone who's put effort into making this an amazing piece of animation and a great restoration.
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Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 4

Postby Hardback247 » Thu Dec 19, 2013 12:23 am

So, that's it? No more Recobbling? I feel a little sad now... :'-(
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