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The Thief and the Cobbler

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The Thief and the Cobbler, starring Vincent Price, Matthew Broderick, Jennifer Beals, Clive Revill, Jonathan Winters
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The Thief and the Cobbler, starring Vincent Price, Matthew Broderick,  Jennifer Beals,  Clive Revill,  Jonathan Winters

Editorial review of  The Thief and the Cobbler courtesy of

 Directed by Oscar-winning animator Richard Williams (Who Framed Roger Rabbit), The Thief and the Cobbler began production in 1968, so it actually predates 1992’s Aladdin. Also known as The Princess and the Cobbler and Arabian Knight, Fred Calvert completed the film after Williams lost the rights to his dream project. Narrated by Matthew Broderick (replacing Sean Connery) as Tack the Cobbler, the CinemaScope-shot story takes place in ancient Baghdad. When Tack upsets Zigzag the Vizier (Vincent Price), the wizard drags him off to the royal castle, where Princess Yum Yum (Jennifer Beals) falls for the bashful boy and saves him from execution. Unfortunately, Zigzag plans to marry the princess in order to succeed her father, King Nod (Clive Revill). The Thief (Jonathan Winters), meanwhile, is more interested in gold than love and takes off with the protective orbs topping the palace. Together Tack and Yum Yum attempt to retrieve them in order to prevent Zigzag and the One-Eye army from conquering the city. Despite the fanciful hand-drawn animation, which borders on Yellow Submarine-style surrealism–a film with which Williams was involved–the finished full-screen product represents a compromised version of his original widescreen concept. The added dialogue and songs, which have a generic bent, make for an awkward fit with Williams’ more distinctive work. Rife with intricate patterns and M.C. Escher-like optical effects, his intended audience was adults rather than kids. Still, The Thief and the Cobbler is a must-see for the inventive material that remains. –Kathleen C. Fennessy

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