Give Me A Moment To Nerd About Movies
When I was in college, I studied broadcasting and film. As a result, we talked about, read about and saw many, many movies. One I had always heard about but had never seen is a film called The Thief and The Cobbler.
It has a history not unlike Orson Welles' Don Quixote, languishing in development and budget hell. This man who directed this, Richard Williams, spent over twenty five years working on this movie. Why? Because he had tried to get financing for it, and the backers would drop out every time. So he'd make the movie by hiring his own animation team when he could afford to do so. So, it took years to make. In fact, it holds the world record for longest time spent actually producing a movie.
The animation quality is far superior to anything you might think to see in something that has been worked on piecemeal since the 1970's. Everything is hand drawn and done in three dimensions in many scenes.
Anyway, it did come out, edited and redone and basically ruined by the studios, etc etc. Warner Brothers had set a date for him to get the film done, and he missed it, so they took over and tried to finish it themselves. However, there is a version on the internet that is "recobbled" from a lot of the original work done, pencil tests and storyboards, etc. It was done by the fans of the film, who had gotten different prints or rough sketches, and obscure foreign video copies of the original. Some of it is original film footage, some is cut material that was saved only on low quality formats.
Here is one scene, you'll see what I mean about the animation:
Amazing, isn't it? That's just a piecing together of what they could find of the original footage with some extra stuff added in as they could find it. Imagine how good it would have looked had Williams been allowed to finish it, with the budget and time needed to do something so complicated?
It did come out, the cut/redone version..... after Disney's Alladin had come out. So you can guess how well it did and how much attention it got. After all... have You heard of it?
I bet you've heard of another movie Williams got to actually finish - Who Framed Roger Rabbit?