Some background information: (compiled from Wikipedia and imdb and my own knowledge of the movie).
Official Title: The Fox and the Hound
Release: July 10, 1981 (Two theatrical releases this year)
Running Time: 83 minutes
Estimated Cost: $12 million (yes, that is 12 million!)
Estimated Revenue: $29.9 million
Overall Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
A lost fox is taken in by Widow Tweed after meeting his life long friend Big Mama (owl), Boomer (woodpecker) and Dinky (finch). Widow Tweed adopts the fox and calls him Tod. At the same time, Tweed’s neighbor, Amos brings home a hound dog named Cooper. Cooper and Tod become fast friends. But Chief (Amos’ older hunting dog) and Amos try to keep them apart, a hound dog and fox can’t be friends.
Right before the hunting season, Cooper and Tod promise to be friends forever. But when the hunting season ends, and Cooper returns (both animals are full grown) they are no longer able to play. And after an intense chase scene, Chief almost dies while chasing Tod and Cooper tells Tod that if they ever see each other again, Cooper will kill him.
Amos threatens the Widow, and threatens to kill Tod the next time he sees the fox. Then, in a heart-wrenching scene, the Widow says goodbye to Tod and releases him to the game preserve. While there Tod struggles to find how to survive as a wild animal, and thanks to the help of Big Mama again, he is introduced to girl fox Vixey.
The two work well together. But Amos has plans to enter the reserve. And with Cooper in tow another chase scene happens. But when all hope is lost, Cooper protects Tod from Amos. And in the final scene, Cooper and Tod separately recall the wonders of their friendship.
# "Best of Friends"
# "Lack of Education"
# "A Huntin' Man"
# "Appreciate The Lady"
# "Goodbye May Seem Forever"
Goodbye May Seem Forever is possibly the saddest song in the Disney cannon! I wept like a baby as the Widow Tweed thought about how important Tod has been in her life.
Plot Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Here we go with the problem stories again! This was great. It seems that WDAS has taken a nice break from the comedies and truly getting back to the character driven pieces that Walt himself oversaw in the beginning of the studios.
Animation Rating: 4 out of 5
I think they’ve finally got it right. The colors were rich (something we haven’t truly seen since Alice). There weren’t stray lines that made the animation look sloppy. The back grounds were detailed and reminded me again of Bambi!
But why only 4? As the Xeroxing has become more advanced, the lines are looking a lot different, there were some non-black lines that still were sloppy (take for instance, Chief’s head in the soft purple line that sometimes bleeds into the coloring).
The Test of Time:
A mid-quel has extended the story, but I don’t think this movie lives up to those to come (and those that have been) because of its lack of memorable songs and such a sad overall plot. I can’t recall any park attraction that incorporates Cooper or Tod. I think Disney needs to add more of a presence from this movie to it’s line-up of standbys.
Through the Modern Lens
This movie takes up some big social issues of our times, mostly, nature versus nurture. The movie shows that is it the natural predisposition for Tod and Cooper to be friends, but Cooper has to be taught to hate Tod! This also raises an issue of racism and living up to expectations. If a child is told they will hate someone else because they are different, won’t that child grow up to hate the differences?
The Black Cauldron (depending on my local library because of the “vault”)