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British Movie Toons

The Thief

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   The Thief and
  the Cobbler   
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Miramax / Allied Filmmakers
                     & Majestic Films
cel animation
      run time: 71mins


"Once in a golden land about to be invaded by a race of One-Eyed
    Men, lived a poor Cobbler called Tack and a homeless Thief. The
    Thief triggers the invasion by stealing the Kingdom's Three Golden
    Balls of Fate. With the help of a Mad Witch, Tack the Cobbler
    gains the courage to save the city and wins the hand of the
    gorgeous Princess Yum Yum..."

                                                                                    - promo brochure synopsis

    "The Thief and the Cobbler" was an animated feature destined for greatness.
     Work on this Arabian extravaganza spanned three decades and some of the 
     most talented animators of any generation toiled away on its intricate scenes.
     It was to be a showcase presentation, filmed in widescreen ratio (the first such
     picture since "Sleeping Beauty") and voiced by a gallery of stars including
     Sean Connery, Vincent Price, Anthony Quayle, and Donald Pleasance. 

     One key sequence, "The War Room" contains perhaps, the most intricately 
     realised sequences of hand-drawn and painted cel animation ever put on film.
     Animation supremo Richard Williams ("Pink Panther" titles, "Who Framed Roger
     Rabbit") and his dedicated crew in London devoted 27 years to its production,
     only to lose control of their all-consuming creation with just a few minutes of
     material left to shoot.

     In 1995 Miramax released "Arabian Knight" a heavily edited, re-dubbed, re-titled,
     song-injected version of "Thief" with additional out-sourced animation used
     to finish the uncompleted scenes.

     So what happened in the intervening years? - How did this master-
     piece end up at the mercer of the financiers? - You can read the
     tale here...

       A Barbarian


There are two distinct sets of production credits for this film:

                      Thief / Once                        Arabian Knight      

      director:      Richard Williams                       Richard Williams
Richard Williams                      Jacobus Rose
                      Imogen Sutton
Margaret French                   Margaret French
                      Richard Williams                    Richard Williams
                      (and John Patrick Shanley)     Terry Runte
                                                               Stephen Zito
 Uncredited                                  Robert Folk

      Voice credits are more complex, with characters edited and other unspeaking
      creations (like the Thief) given voices in the "Arabian Knight" version:

      The Thief And The Cobbler / Once (1988 cast)

      ZigZag the Grand Vizier:       
Vincent Price
      Phido the Vulture:                  
Donald Pleasance               
      Tack the Cobbler:                   
Sean Connery
      King Nod:                                 
Anthony Quayle          
      Mad Holy Old Witch:              
Joan Sims
Joss Ackland
      Goblet and Tickle:                   
Kenneth Williams
      Gopher and Slap:                   
Stanley Baxter
      Princess YumYum:                
Hilary Pritchard
      Princee MeeMee:
               Catherine Schell
      Prince Bubba:
                    Thick Wilson
George Melly
      Chief Roofless:                        
Windsor Davies
Felix Aylmer
Eddie Byrne
Thick Wilson
      Goolie: Fred Shaw
      Hoof: Eddie Byrne
      Maiden from Mombassa:       
Miriam Margolyes
      Mighty One Eye:                      
Paul Matthews
      Dying Survivor:
                  Clinton Sundberg
      Other Brigands:
                  Dermot Walsh
                                              Declan Mulholland
                                              Peter Clayton
                                              Mike Nash
                                              Derek Hinson
                                              Ramsay Williams   

      Arabian Knight  (changes + additions)

      Tack the Cobbler:             
Matthew Broderick
      Phido the Vulture:        
   Eric Bogosian
      King Nod:                      
    Clive Revill
      Princesss Yum Yum:    
  Jennifer Beals
                                        Bobbi Page (singing voice)
      Nurse / Good Witch:     Toni Collette
      Thief:                          Jonathan Winters
      One Eye:                     Kevin Dorsey


      On the web

Eddie Bowers
       This is an excellent site dedicated to the original film, with a history,
       images and Quicktime clips...

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© Miramax Films / F2006