Richard Williams (1968-92)

The Final Cut of The Thief & The Cobbler directed by Richard Williams. Fan edit by Garrett Gilchrist.

The Thief and the Cobbler is an unfinished animated fantasy film directed by Richard Williams. Originally conceived in the 1960s, the film was in and out of production for nearly three decades due to independent funding and ambitiously complex animation. It was finally placed into full production in 1989 when Warner Bros. agreed to finance and distribute the film. When production went over budget and fell behind schedule, the film was heavily cut and hastily re-edited by producer Fred Calvert without Williams’s involvement; it was eventually released in 1993 by Allied Filmmakers under the title The Princess and the Cobbler. Two years later, Disney subsidiary Miramax Films released another re-edit entitled Arabian Knight. Both versions of the film performed poorly and received mixed reviews.

Over the years, various people and companies, including The Walt Disney Company’s Roy E. Disney, have discussed restoring the film to its original version. In 2013, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences archived Richard Williams’s own 35 mm workprint. Williams himself acknowledged the film’s rehabilitated reputation, thanks to projects like the popular fan edit by Garrett Gilchrist The Recobbled Cut, and Persistence of Vision, a 2012 documentary from Kevin Schreck detailing the film’s production.

Garrett Gilchrist’s fan restorations mostly follow the workprint very closely, at least in their intent, using most of its original audio track and editing structure. In order to present a more complete film, Gilchrist added additional music (some from the released versions) and sound effects, and also included finished footage that does not appear in a finished state in the workprint, whether taken from the released versions or from other rare sources. Most of the story changes made by Fred Calvert and Miramax are not present, but it does include a few minor Calvert-only scenes or alterations, either as a side effect of using Calvert’s footage as replacements for unfinished scenes in the workprint or because Gilchrist felt these scenes were useful to the plot.

Garrett Gilchrist graduated from the University of Southern California with a B.A. in Cinema-Television Production in March 2005.

Garrett has been a regular staff writer for Cinemontage, The Editors Guild Magazine, since 2008, interviewing the editors of upcoming Hollywood films and television series. He has also contributed to ACE CinemaEditor. He has published one novel, Cratchit & Company, which focused on the characters of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

Garrett is known for his restoration of Richard Williams’ unfinished animated masterpiece, The Thief and the Cobbler (The Recobbled Cut). The first Recobbled Cut was released in 2006. The fourth was released in HD in September 2013, after over two years of work.

He is also an artist, and from 2007 to 2009 he created Whosprites, a project designed to animate lost episodes of Doctor Who.

In 2005, Garrett released a popular fan documentary titled Star Wars: Deleted Magic, which focused on the difficulties encountered during the production of the 1977 film, and how these were fixed in editing.

In 2007 and 2008 he wrote, directed, and edited a feature titled Shamelessly, about a female superhero.

Pete Beard (2020)

This video takes a look at the life and work of British illustrator and author Mervyn Peake.
He was one of the most unusual and distinctive 20th century British illustrators, and although he could be considered more of an acquired taste than others I’ve featured I hope this will create some new enthusiasts among those who’ve never heard of him.

Mervyn Peake was an English writer, artist, poet, and illustrator. He is best known for what are usually referred to as the Gormenghast books. The three works were part of what Peake conceived as a lengthy cycle, the completion of which was prevented by his death.

Salvador DalĂ­ & Walt Disney (1945/2003)

Destino is an animated short film released in 2003 by Walt Disney. Destino is unique in that its production originally began in 1945, 58 years before its eventual completion. The project was originally a collaboration between Walt Disney and Spanish surrealist painter Salvador DalĂ­, and features music written by Mexican songwriter Armando DomĂ­nguez and performed by Mexican singer Dora Luz. It was included in the Animation Show of Shows in 2003.

The short was intended to be one of the segments for the proposed but never completed third Fantasia film.

Destino was storyboarded by Disney studio artist John Hench and artist Salvador DalĂ­ for eight months in late 1945 and 1946. However, production ceased not long after. Walt Disney Studios was plagued by many financial woes in the World War II era. Hench compiled a short animation test of about 17 seconds in the hopes of rekindling Disney’s interest in the project, but the production was no longer deemed financially viable and put on indefinite hiatus.

In 1999, Walt Disney’s nephew Roy E. Disney, while working on Fantasia 2000, unearthed the dormant project and decided to bring it back to life. Bette Midler’s host sequence for The Steadfast Tin Soldier also makes mention of Destino. Disney Studios France, the company’s small Parisian production department, was brought on board to complete the project. The short was produced by Baker Bloodworth and directed by French animator Dominique MonfrĂ©y in his first directorial role. A team of approximately 25 animators deciphered DalĂ­ and Hench’s cryptic storyboards (with a little help from the journals of DalĂ­’s wife, Gala DalĂ­ and guidance from Hench himself), and finished Destino‘s production. The end result is mostly traditional animation, including Hench’s original footage, but it also contains some computer animation.