The darkness is slowly lifting on Buena Vista Street with 1986’s The Great Mouse Detective. Finally, a fun story, good characters, good animation and good direction all come together in animated film number 26. While they are not out of the Dark Ages yet, this film sets the stage for the coming Disney Renaissance.
The story and planning took four years, but the actual animation was completed in only a year. This remarkably short production span was possible due to new efficiencies in the production process (such as video tests and computer-assisted layouts and graphics), and an increased emphasis on story development prior to the start of production.
All of the moving clock gears were created in a computer “room” and then the hand drawn characters were added, making this the first Disney film with computer animated elements. The movements of the clock’s gears were produced as wire-frame graphics on a computer, printed out and traced onto animation cels where colors and the characters were added.
125 artists were involved in making the film.
When Disney re-released the movie in 1992, they gave it the title of “The Adventures of the Great Mouse Detective“. When the film was released on video, the title on the box was back to “The Great Mouse Detective“, but the title card in the film itself reads “The Adventures of the Great Mouse Detective“.
Budgeted at 14 million, the film brought it almost 40 million in its first release. After the failure of The Black Cauldron, this return to basics proved to be a success, and infected the studio with the pride it once had. The new senior management of the company- primarily Michael Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg- were convinced that their animation department was still a viable part of the company.
In December 1984, during the production of this film, the animation department was moved out of the the original Walt Disney Studios Animation Building on the lot in Burbank, California. The animators were moved to the Air Way facility in nearby Glendale, California. Following corporate restructuring, the animation department was spun off as a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Studios known as Walt Disney Feature Animation (later Walt Disney Animation Studios). Walt Disney Feature Animation would returned to the Burbank studios lot in a new animation building crowned with the Sorcerer’s hat in 1995.
The Great Mouse Detective
- Traditional Animation
- Walt Disney Studios, Silver Screen Partners II
- Animation Studio: Walt Disney Feature Animation
- Distributed by: Buena Vista Pictures Distribution
- Cartoon Characters: Basil of Baker Street, Dr. David Q. Dawson, Olivia Flaversham, Hiram Flaversham, Professor Ratigan, Toby, Felicia, Fidget, Queen Moustoria, Bartholomew, Mrs. Judson, Sherlock Holmes, Watson, Lady Mouse, Bar Maid, Dancing Girl, Bar Singer in Rat Trap, Citizen, Thugs, Guards.
- Voice Actors: Vincent Price, Barrie Ingham, Val Bettin, Candy Candido, Alan Young, Susanne Pollatschek, Eve Brenner, Diana Chesney, Basil Rathbone; Full Voice Cast ...
- Directed By John Musker, Ron Clements, Dave Michener, Burny Mattinson, Timothy J. O’Donnell; more Directors ...
- Produced By Burny Mattinson.
- Animated By Matthew O’Callighan, Mike Gabriel, Ruben Aquino, Jay Jackson, Kathy Zielinski, Doug Krohn, Phil Nibbelink, Andreas Deja, Phil Young, Shawn Keller, Ron Husband, Joseph Lanzisero; more Animators ...
- Written By Peter Young, Vance Gerry, Steve Hulett, Ron Clements, John Musker, Bruce M. Morris, Matthew O’Callaghan, Burny Mattinson, David Michener; more Writers ...
- Music: Henry Mancini, Larry Grossman, Ellen Fitzhugh, Melissa Manchester, Jack Wadsworth; more Musicians ...
- Editor: Roy M. Brewster Jr., James Melton.
- Originally Released on July 02, 1986.
- Originally Released Theatrically.
- Running Time: 74 minutes.