The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 5

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DaveHolmes
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Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 5

Post: # 12052Post DaveHolmes »

Garrett Gilchrist wrote: Fri Sep 22, 2023 9:16 pm I've also never heard the name "Lateef the Thief" before. I assume this is the same Thief from this project.

Nasrudin-era boards refer to him as "Abdul Salaam," a Muslim name.
Maybe a reference to jazz musician Yusef Lateef?

Lateef did a one-month residency at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in London from December 1965 to January 1966, which was one block away from Richard Williams Studios - I'm sure Richard would have been all over that:

https://www.setlist.fm/setlists/yusef-l ... ml?page=17

A live recording of his January 15, 1966 set was released as an album in 2016:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xqsbmrQPao
A remarkable and previously unreleased live club performance from the brilliant multi instrumentalist accompanied by the Ronnie Scott’s house band of pianist Stan Tracey, double bassist Rick Laird and drummer Bill Eyden. Recorded by Les Tomkins at the request of Ronnie Scott - the musicians were unaware they were being recorded as Scott believed they would be at their best and most unselfconscious this way.
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Garrett Gilchrist
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Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 5

Post: # 12053Post Garrett Gilchrist »

Yes, I think you're right.
DaveHolmes
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Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 5

Post: # 12056Post DaveHolmes »

I did some digging - turns out Latif the Thief and The Magic Horse were two separate follow-up movies that Shah and Williams were going to make together after Nasrudin.

From a review of Shah's 1973 book The Subtleties of the Inimitable Mulla Nasrudin:

https://www.google.com/books/edition/Id ... frontcover
He has nailed his standard, in fact, to this project in cooperation with Shah - after that, he looks forward to a series of Shah-Williams films, among them already announced, being "Lateef the Thief," and the "Magic Horse," both from the Shah books.
Image

I found the relevant stories and uploaded them -

"The Magic Horse" by Idries Shah (1968)

"I'll Make You Remember" by Idries Shah (1971)

"Latif and the Miser's Gold" by Idries Shah / "When Dishonest is Honest" by Idries Shah (1977)

I'm blown away by how good "The Magic Horse" is - well worth a read
DaveHolmes
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Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 5

Post: # 12062Post DaveHolmes »

"The Magic Horse" was adapted by Idries Shah from Hanna Diyab's 1709 folk tale The Ebony Horse, and the same story has already been adapted into film twice:

Magic Bird (1953, animated - Russian) (Watch on YouTube)

Princess Jasnenka and the Flying Shoemaker (1987, live action - Czech) (Watch on YouTube)

I should note that Lataif-e-Sitta is a concept in Sulfism that's roughly synonymous with "subtlety" - so after reading Shah's Latif stories and how the character steals from others through mind games and not in the physical sense, we can safely say "Latif the Thief" and "Abdul Salaam" were not the same character. Quite possible either Dick or Idries verbally said Latif the Thief to an interviewer and they misspelled it as "Lateef" since the jazz musician was popular at the time. Also possible Dick made the subtle (ha!) change in tribute to the musician.
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Garrett Gilchrist
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Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 5

Post: # 12069Post Garrett Gilchrist »

This is terrific research, DaveHolmes.

Okay, lightning round, since I'm getting some questions via email again. I'll summarize the questions instead of reproducing them.

QUESTION: ANIMATING ON ONES, TWOS, AND THREES

Dick Williams talks about working "on ones" in his book "The Animator's Survival Kit." He felt that, if the budget was there, "it was always better on ones" although slow actions in this film are on twos (as well as most material animated under Fred Calvert).

This fits with Williams' own style, as detailed in his book, which is a "combination" of "pose to pose" (inbetweened) animation, and improvised animation done straight ahead. He was fond of shaky hands and other unusual elements which could not be done with straight flowing inbetweens. Many characters have additional elements to their design which must be handled "on ones," such as, in theory, the extra details on Princess Yum-Yum. (In practice, very little of Yum Yum was finished under Williams.)

QUESTION: LIGHTING IN BRIGANDS SCENES

Most scenes done under Williams were photographed multiple times (by John Leatherbarrow) to allow for glow, transparency, metal and lighting effects (multiple exposures). You can see footage without this in the Color Tests (video tests) reel.

QUESTION: MARK 1 VS MARK 4 EDITING DECISIONS

I don't even have a copy of the "Mark 1" Recobbled Cut myself, so I'm not sure what you're looking at. I certainly haven't uploaded anything like that myself. (I do have the first reel of that version somewhere.)

You should be comparing things to Richard Williams' U-matic workprint. You can also look at Fred Calvert's versions of the film. (Arabian Knight, Princess and the Cobbler.)

Most changes I made, from one version to the next, were intended to be more accurate to Richard Williams' original workprint and intentions, as closely as possible given the footage available to me.

This required some compromises, and using footage from Fred Calvert's versions of the film ... more so in my earlier attempts to edit the film. Until the Mark 4, I was not able to accurately convey what the opening sequence was supposed to be like. Animator Andreas Wessel-Therhorn drew some new art of the hands for us, although we could not afford full animation.

I believe the edit got more accurate over the years, although some scenes were also extended or reworked. (For example, additional material with the Brigands was added, including a new, invented scene of them during the War Machine segment, storyboarded by Chris Fern and Hai1ey Lain.)

QUESTION: WHY SO LITTLE FOOTAGE OF PRINCESS YUM YUM IN THE WORKPRINT?

Princess Yum Yum and Tack the Cobbler's designs were finalized very late, and storyboarded very late. They were not present in the original storyboards for the Nasrudin film "The Majestic Fool." (Tack, vaguely, replaces Nasrudin, and there were princesses in the Nasrudin film, including MeeMee who was cut from the WB production.)

Anything of them, apart from possibly the first test shots (Tack in the palace and "Rose of the land"), was animated during the WB production in 1989-92.

There was some earlier animation of the characters with a different design, but their final design didn't come together until 1989 or so.

By comparison, a lot of The Thief's footage predates the WB production and is present in the "KA Reels."

QUESTION: COULD THE FILM BE FINISHED?

I believe the remaining footage could be finished if given a budget of a million dollars or higher. This will not happen.

QUESTION: WHY DIDN'T RICHARD USE STORYBOARDS?

The idea that Richard didn't use storyboards at all is a misconception. An early version of the film was storyboarded in the 60s and early 70s as "The Amazing Nasrudin, or the Majestic Fool." This idea was dropped around 1973.

It was a much more complex and wordy script (episodic with many more characters, and no single storyline.) When the Thief script was written (sometime before 1980, by Margaret French), Richard insisted that the better ideas from the existing storyboards be integrated, as much as possible, into the new story.

Since the film was never funded fully until 1989, Richard continued to use certain, selected, old storyboards up until storyboarding the film properly around 1990. He was secretive about this, concerned that his ideas were already being stolen, and because the old storyboards were not up to his current standards (but were enough to work from up until that point). And also because this was supposed to be an entirely new production.

The animators were also doing layouts and roughs to figure out how scenes would play out. Older veterans Ken Harris and Art Babbit were "teaching animators," and Harris was animating the early material of The Thief, so they were given much more free reign to develop their own ideas.

I have written about the subject many times and if you search for the words "personal" or "radio" in the first post in this thread, you'll see links to some of my posts and articles.

QUESTION: WHY DIDN'T RICHARD USE MODEL SHEETS?

Generally, Richard's model sheets for the characters were not traditional model sheets, but rather compilations of drawings from the first scenes animated establishing the characters. Richard wanted a certain freedom early on, and then when some animation of the characters was completed, these became the model sheets. (This is also how some characters evolved over the years, in the pre-1990 footage).

That being said, there absolutely were model sheets and expression sheets done for the earlier versions of Zigzag and other characters. However, the style of the film evolved over time, going on hiatus while Richard was working on other projects. So the model sheets that are compilations of drawings were intended to show how Richard saw the characters now, at his current level of artistic skill. (Sometimes scenes were redrawn to use the new models, sometimes they weren't.)

The original Nasrudin production (1963 to 1973 ish) was done in a relatively straightforward and traditional way, as was the actual WB production in 1989/1992ish. That is to say, they were making an animated film.

Inbetween, the production did not have full funding (outside of Richard's own pockets, and the War Machine sequence), and Richard's ideas about the film evolved inbetween other projects. This has led to a lot of confusion and misconceptions, with people filling in the blanks and deciding that production of the film was very unusual, unstructured and strange ... more so than it actually was.

QUESTION: NEW ANIMATION IN MARK 4 VS MARK 5

There isn't anything in the Mk4 that I would call new animation done by us. The changes were more minor than that. Many scenes were altered for the Recobbled Cut Mk4 in some way, and storyboards were drawn for the opening hands (by Andreas Wessel-Therhorn) and the Brigands during the war machine (Hai1ey Lain and Chris Fern). Phido's eye in Tack's cell was animated by Chris Fern. I did some new art here and there. But we didn't do proper new animation.

An attempt is in progress to do some new animation for the Mk5, which you can see on Youtube as a WIP. This includes new shots by Dennis Van Hout and Kiko Pablo, and a bunch of shots in progress by myself.
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Garrett Gilchrist
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Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 5

Post: # 12106Post Garrett Gilchrist »

Jacob Tjaden writes:
A few weeks back I bought a few press photos from the production of ttatc off of ebay. They are black and white 8 x 10 prints of various concept art that's already available online. However when I received them I was taken aback at how much detail these contained. One of these prints was of the gigantic drawing of the Golden City. When inspecting it under a magnifying glass I could make out every detail down to each individually drawn brick. I decided to scan these prints and upload them to the internet archive and I thought I'd give you a heads up about it. I scanned them at placebo levels of quality. 1,200 pixels per square inch roughly.

https://archive.org/details/ttac_press_scans
Thanks. A few photos of Richard Williams himself turned up a few months ago, which had been considered for his interview in FunnyWorld magazine back in the day. It bugged me a bit that I didn't buy them.

viewtopic.php?p=12034#p12034
https://www.ebay.com/str/chimerapublish ... =10&_pgn=4

These Scrapbook collections contain whatever we'd managed to find prior to the Mk5 production.

https://archive.org/details/@ocpmovie?query=scrapbook
https://archive.org/download/roger-rabb ... pbook%207/

The seventh edition includes "The Thief Who Never Gave Up Portfolio," an Ebay find which has some of the early concept art in color, which this group was able to collect.
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Garrett Gilchrist
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Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 5

Post: # 12119Post Garrett Gilchrist »

"The Recobbled Cut is perhaps the greatest endeavor in lost media recovery of all time, with animation fans and enthusiasts being the ones to truly bump the lamp in their efforts to bring together someone's stolen passion project in the knowledge that it truly could've been great. "

https://collider.com/the-thief-and-the- ... lost-movie
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Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 5

Post: # 12140Post Garrett Gilchrist »

https://www.tumblr.com/usssnarfblat/731 ... f=tygerbug

It's interesting to include "The Thief and the Cobbler" in this list of 2D-animated Muslim heroes. The film was a major inspiration for Disney's "Aladdin." Aladdin was Chinese in prior versions of that story, but is here depicted as Persian, in a fictionalized kingdom inspired by Iran. Disney got this idea from "The Thief and the Cobbler."

It is difficult to talk about ethnic and religious identity in "The Thief," because the film is seen very much through a white British and Canadian lens, but also based on a sincere appreciation for traditional Persian and Indian art styles. "Aladdin" has the same basic problem. The depictions of some background characters are questionable or stereotypical, and characters are somewhat white-coded to appeal to UK and US audiences. It can be accused of Orientalism, although considering its origins in Richard Williams' 1960s illustrations for Idries Shah's Nasrudin books, we can consider the project well-intentioned for its time.

Anyway, here is what we know, or can infer, about these characters.

The film was originally developed in the 1960s in a very different form, as "The Amazing Nasruddin, or The Majestic Fool." While "The Thief and the Cobbler" is a fairytale set in the fictional "Golden City," the Nasruddin film takes a satirical look at a war between Persia and India. The invading army are nearly inhuman in "The Thief," while in Nasruddin both kingdoms have many similarities and are both satirized. This gives us a clearer sense of place. (The Miramax version states that The Golden City is Baghdad, in Iraq, which is incorrect.)

(The Majestic Fool screenplay exists, and is very overcomplicated compared to the final film, which is elegantly simplified.)

Princess Yum-Yum: Her father (King Nod) is a Persian King who presumably fought a war in India. Her late mother (seen only briefly in the non-canonical Calvert version) was Indian, and Yum-Yum clearly takes after her, as her appearance is a caricature of the Indian actress Rekha (Bhanurekha Ganesan) in the film Muqaddar Ka Sikandar (1978). Yum-Yum has a twin sister Mee-Mee who was mostly deleted from the film, appearing briefly in the Recobbled Cut. She is noticeably darker-skinned than her father. He has brown eyes, and she has unusual purple eyes. She is Muslim.

Tack the Cobbler: A Sufi-mystic Muslim originally from Turkey, living in the Golden City (originally in Persia, or modern-day Iran). Tack replaces the deleted character of Nasrudin, a well-known folk-hero Sufi mystic, and the original "wise fool." (For more on him, you can find Idries Shah's 1960s books illustrated by Richard Williams.) Tack is somewhat white-coded for the benefit of the film, as Tack has blue eyes and was inspired by silent film comedian Harry Langdon. He also has paper-white skin, but this is because he doesn't go outside; he tans quickly in the sun later in the film, and ends up with a skin tone similar to Yum Yum's. (It is possible that King Nod and Zigzag are also coded this way.)

Sufism (Arabic: الصُّوفِيَّة‎ aṣ-ṣūfiyya), also known as Tasawwuf (التَّصَوُّف‎ at-taṣawwuf), is a mystic body of religious practice found within Islam which is characterized by a focus on Islamic purification, spirituality, ritualism, asceticism, and esotericism.

The Thief: The Thief is nameless in the film, but his name on the Nasrudin-era model sheet is "Abdul Salaam," a name heavily coded as Arabic / Muslim. Richard Williams drew himself similarly to The Thief, and also believed the character resembled original lead Thief animator Ken Harris. Harris had been Chuck Jones' top animator, and the Thief has the persistence (and bad luck) of Wile E. Coyote, but is almost an unknowable force of nature like the Road Runner. He "existed" in The Golden City (originally in Persia, or modern-day Iran).

Chief Roofless and His Brigands: This band of thieves were originally the forty thieves of Ali Baba. (This is stated outright in a line of dialogue cut from the film but retained in the Recobbled Cut from Mk4 onward.) They are storybook characters, of myth and legend, who have gotten lost, wandering in the desert, and forgotten themselves. They are coded as drunken Irishmen, at least in their vocal performance. In deleted dialogue present in the "KA Reels," the Brigand Hoof dreams of the apocryphal Biblical temptress Salome. It is tempting to say that the Brigands are from "where stories come from," but we can also say that Salome is from New Testament-era Israel, and became a Queen of Armenia. "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves" is a folk tale in Arabic added to the One Thousand and One Nights in the 18th century by its French translator Antoine Galland, who heard it from Syrian storyteller Hanna Diyab, in what is modern-day Aleppo. We can make some inferences here as to where the Brigands are from, generally.
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The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 5

Post: # 12160Post sonicbeta3 »

Hey guys, found this one the Prop store website. It's the first draft for Who Framed Roger Rabbit and it's dated back to January 23th, 1984.
https://propstoreauction.com/lot-detail ... S42MC4wLjA.
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Garrett Gilchrist
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Re: The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut Mark 5

Post: # 12165Post Garrett Gilchrist »

Tony White writes:
I was sooooo lucky apprenticing with Ken [Harris] for two summers at the Richard Williams Studio in London. Dick Williams would bring him to the UK, to work on "The Cobbler and the Thief) (mainly animating the Thief), or "The Return of the Pink Panther" titles (animating some of the Panther with Dick of course), or "A Christmas Carol" (animating Scrooge). I was assigned his assistant - ostensibly to learn the "Warner Brothers style of animation" and then share what I learned from him with the rest of the animators in the studio once he'd returned to the States. I just loved working with Ken anyway. He was a warm, friendly and generous man who really didn't like the big, loud parties that Dick would throw to welcome him to London - preferring instead to watch British TV soap operas, or go to the Wimbledon tennis when he had free time. I learned as much about "life" from him, as I did animation. He had his "Warner Brothers style" down to pat of course - often giving me two key drawings, a partial breakdown drawing, and then requiring me to put anything up to (sometimes) 17 inbetween drawings linking them up! That's why his footage rates were so high. It was also why he was so good - as those three drawings he gave me were essential to the action and couldn't be bettered IMHO!
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