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The Thief and the Cobbler, Richard Williams, 1964-1995 (with ongoing recobbling by Garrett Gilchrist)
So it's my birthday! And I like to do special things for my birthday, even though I have had lots and lots of them. And I like to bring you all treats on my birthday, though this one is bittersweet.
I think we all suppose, at one time or another, that it must be a fine thing indeed to be a genius. But as liberating and wonderful as genius can be, it can also quite often be a curse.
The story of Richard Williams' film The Thief and the Cobbler has been written about by much more erudite and educated people than myself.
There is a recent documentary which I did not get to see at the Minneapolis/St.Paul International Film Festival, because there is no justice in this world (i.e. the only screening was when I had to work, which was total bullshit.)
The short and sloppy version is this: Williams began the film in 1964, struggled along to secure independent funding for two decades. In 1988, Warner Brothers agreed to finance and distribute the film, but pulled out when it began to run late and over budget. The rights were taken from Williams, and the project was handed over to Fred Calvert, who was pretty much instructed to finish it as quickly and cheaply as possible. Calvert completely re-edited the whole thing, some slapdash animation was added to make the whole thing into a narrative, and it sucked.
Recently, an effort is being made to restore Williams version to his original vision. This valiant effort is being spearheaded by animator Garrett Gilchrist, who is also doing the lion's share the work himself.
ENOUGH OF MY BLATHERING. Here is the rough of The Recobbled Cut, from The Thief Archive.
NOT the final version. An early rough cut of the new restoration of the unfinished animated masterpiece from 3-time Oscar-winning animator Richard Williams (Who Framed Roger Rabbit, A Christmas Carol). Almost no music has been added yet, and most audio is just the audio from Richard Williams' workprint. Color correction is not final, HD material has not been cleaned up to remove dirt and splices (apart from a few scenes), SD material has black level issues. We will also be doing some additional work, cleanup and new artwork here and there.
(Rumor had it that "The 35mm reel of (the last) sequence was found in Warner Animation head Jean Macurdy's trash by a former "Thief" animator."
And a comparison of the HD restoration:
Oh check it out deleted scenes:
There's more at The Thief Archive. You must run and subscribe to their channel immediately.