On Tuesday night I ventured out to
meet some old NYC animation pals
and watch the first public screening of
THE THIEF AND THE COBBLER.
It's not really a director's cut, though.
Technically it's the last surviving workprint
before the film was
taken away from Mr. Williams in 1992
by the company that was financing the film.
Seeing no end to the film's ambitious production
(it started in 1964)
they decided to steal away with Mr. Williams' baby
and hastily hack and slash it into a more mainstream
Needless to say,
it didn't do well
at the box office.
That's not to say that
Mr. Williams' version
(if ever finished)
would have done well.
It's one of the most
gorgeously animated films of all time,
especially taking into account that there were
no computers used
to create the most
technically and organically
drawn by hand.
But where the design and animation shines,
the story and characters fall down and go pbbbbbt.
Scenes and sequences are gratuitously looooooong
and lead us far, far away from the plot.
Too much time is spent on execution instead of emotion.
Perhaps that would have all been solved if the film was finished.
But we'll never know.
All we've got is this time capsule
showing an unfinished labor of love.
all fans of animation should watch this cut.
There are copies around.
(most of us in the business saw pencil tests and workprints
on illicit videotapes that were floating about
before the internets)
And while you may have missed the screening,
an exhibition of Mr. Williams' work
is still up in the
Go check it out if you get a chance!
And if you're interested in being an animator,
ANIMATION SURVIVAL KIT