The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 5

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Garrett Gilchrist
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Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 5

Post: # 12007Post Garrett Gilchrist »

I believe several scenes with The Thief himself are from the Nasrudin years, such as the opening getting beat up by the Nurse, and the attempted stealing of the Emerald. (Especially in the KA reels version which has a different first shot.)

Probably some of the other Thief material as well, although it would be hard to say exactly what. Much of that dates back to Nasrudin at least conceptually.

There is some Nasrudin-era stuff in the AMPAS archive and the Thief Scrapbooks available somewhere here:

https://archive.org/details/@ocpmovie

The One Pair of Eyes clip is better known, featuring the early Kenneth Williams character of Anwar, who became Zigzag (along with elements of at least two other characters).
https://youtu.be/9jIrNI11eHw

Some of the pencil test reels also contain Nasrudin-era stuff as reference for the redone versions (such as a glimpse of the magician Zappo). Much of the action in the final film is based on stuff that was attempted in some form during the Nasrudin years, or at least written and storyboarded at that time.
DaveHolmes
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Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 5

Post: # 12008Post DaveHolmes »

COAGULOPATH wrote: Tue Aug 08, 2023 7:16 pm This is a truly incredible and awe-inspiring amount of work for a fan restoration—firm handshakes all around.

A question for Thief buffs: what's the EARLIEST piece of animation or art to exist in the film? Does anything from the Nasruddin years (for example) remain in the workprint? Just curious.
Most shots were redone at some point or another - part of the reason for the endless delays was Ken Harris's scenes being reworked after he died because Richard wanted the Thief character to be more on-model

Ken's Thief looked much different - you can see how Ken originally drew the character in Mark 5 of The Recobbled Cut from 44:15-45:15 (one of the only surviving shots without an updated Thief model). Very likely this was one of the non-sequitur Nasruddin segments Ken was doing with the Thief character that ended up getting salvaged for The Thief and the Cobbler

The tightrope scene was the last thing Ken animated for Nasruddin, but the version in Mark 5 (36:56-37:58) appears to have had the Thief redrawn at some point
Last edited by DaveHolmes on Thu Aug 10, 2023 4:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
COAGULOPATH
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Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 5

Post: # 12009Post COAGULOPATH »

Thanks Dave and Garrett.

I remember watching the credits of the Princess and the Cobbler as a child and thinking "wow, the thief looks weird" in the emerald
scene. Good to know I wasn't imagining it.

On the Thief blogspot, Holger Leihe says that the animation of the thief crawling through pipes was possibly done by Ken in the 60s. No reason it wouldn't have been touched up or redone, though.
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Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 5

Post: # 12010Post COAGULOPATH »

I only asked because I've often found myself arguing about this film online. Everyone believes wrong stuff about TTATC. It attracts misconceptions like the thief does flies.

You constantly hear the "in production for 25 years" factoid, which is technically true but misleading, conflating Richard Williams doodling sketches with full production. There wasn't a 100+ person team slaving away on TTATC for nearly THREE DECADES without results. Warner Bros would have never sunk money into such a ridiculous project. Most of the film came together from 1989-1992.

People love to imagine the film as a grand narrative of artistic excess and hubris, and Williams as a mad genius. While this has a grain of truth, in reality the movie was nearly completed. There is a universe right next door to ours where Williams finished TTATC in 1993, somewhat over budget. The film was bolt-gunned nearly at the finish line.

I've often found myself saying variations of "the bulk of the film was animated or re-animated in three years. Pick a shot at random. It probably post-dates Roger Rabbit. It's the end result of a long conceptual process, but the amount of 1969 footage in the Fred Calvert cut is probably literally zero".

But then I thought "eh, I should probably check with someone smart that this is actually true." Reversed stupidity isn't intelligence, and when arguing with a falsehood it's surprisingly easy to state falsehoods of your own.
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Garrett Gilchrist
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Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 5

Post: # 12011Post Garrett Gilchrist »

What you're saying is broadly true, and has been a source of great frustration for me. In the first post of this thread, I link to a number of essays I wrote upon Richard Williams' passing including "The Devil's Radio" which covers this subject. People make a lot of assumptions based on Richard having worked on this movie for 25-ish years, off and on. These assumptions were happening at the time, as well, and are a big reason why the movie never got finished.

In the "KA Reels" version of the movie, and a similar construction which turned up on Youtube, almost all of the reels predate the Warner Bros production in 1989 and were used to sell the movie to the studio. The full collection runs 50 minutes and contains maybe 30 minutes of useable footage, most of which predates 1989 (but not all).

This does not mean that they're "from the Nasrudin era" -- much of the material self-evidently isn't -- but they were boarded and begun during the Nasrudin era, and completed in the 70s or 80s, prior to WB getting involved.

You can also, often, find Ken Harris versions of scenes still existing somewhere -- as single drawings or sometimes pencil tests and other footage -- which were refined further for the final film.

These Thief scenes are the only ones you could plausibly date to the 70s.
OldBenKenobi
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Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 5

Post: # 12012Post OldBenKenobi »

I consistently find that whenever folks talk about this sort of thing, the accepted truth is rather significantly more dramatic than the actual truth.

One example is Blade Runner; what people online say vs what people who actually worked on it say, you end up with two very different stories of that movie's production.

Doesn't surprise me that something as legendary as the Thief would get mythologised in a similar way.
COAGULOPATH
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Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 5

Post: # 12016Post COAGULOPATH »

Just for fun I looked up some old Fred Calvert stuff. I'm beginning to suspect that his "contributions" to The Princess and the Cobbler were actually the best work of his career!

The Ruby Eye of the Monkey God (directed in 1969 for Terrytoons) has interesting parallels to both Thief and Aladdin. (Accidental parallels, I should say. It's a mishmash of Oriental tropes similar to what you'd see in a TinTin comic book or whatever. But a "Princess Jasmine" with a pet tiger and an elephant named "Rajah" gave me pause, as did the giant golden statue with ruby eyes.)

I also learned that he's the nephew of legendary Depression-era magician John Calvert, who was touring and performing on Broadway in 2011, at the age of one hundred. Fred directed a movie about his uncle's life which is on his Youtube channel.
OldBenKenobi
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Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 5

Post: # 12021Post OldBenKenobi »

Only had time to quickly skim that second one, since it caught my eye...
We got the email around seven months ago. It came from an animation researcher in Britain. His name is Daniel Aguirre Hansell and, back in 2022, he made headlines for finding the lost Richard Williams film Sailor and the Devil (1967). That was a big deal.
Sailor and the Devil? As in, the full version? Is it available anywhere? I LOVE that short, but the copy I've seen is really shit and probably incomplete. I think you uploaded it to YouTube a couple of times and I argued with you in the comments the second time cos I personally didn't like how the noise reduction sounded. (I am a certified picky git)

EDIT: Did some googling and saw a Vimeo upload detailing the rediscovery of a film negative, which now resides at the BFI... Damn does that make me happy. Hope we get to see it transferred someday. It's a wonderful short.

I've thought for a little while about seeing if I could do a little volunteering in film restoration to get into the industry. Wonder if I could help with restoring this.
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Garrett Gilchrist
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Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 5

Post: # 12025Post Garrett Gilchrist »

I spent a lot of time restoring the only publicly available video source to be told that it's "really shit" but okay. You can compare my first upload to my second. It is incomplete.

The BFI worked with Daniel Aguirre Hansell on the Sailor and the Devil film restoration, which is not available online, currently.
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