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The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Director's Cut (Released)


I’d like to announce that my next project is a restoration of the rarely-seen animated classic The Thief and the Cobbler, created by Richard Williams, who animated Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

UPDATE: – Complete on DVD as of May 2006! Watch the entire film on Youtube! Download the DVD at Demonoid via torrent for free!

Mark II revised version available as of August 2006, direct from the author.

I’d like to thank Baby Hum, Stanch and Chris Sobieniak, among others, for their help in procuring the necessary materials. I’ve just looked at them and was inspired all over again by this classic film.

I know that many of you will not have heard of this film, and so it doesn’t sound as interesting to you as Star Wars, which everyone knows.

But this edit needs to be done. Unlike Star Wars, the film has never been seen the way it was intended to be seen. It was recut to death by Disney in an effort to destroy it, and is not well known even today.

I consider it a public service to restore Richard Williams’ original vision, on which he spent 26 years. Those who have never heard of this film, maybe you’ll discover it in my cut.

Here we are then. The Thief and the Cobbler. Recobbled Director’s Cut.


Digitally-remastered widescreen version of the original version of Thief and the Cobbler, taken from beautiful DVD sources but matching the workprint …

  • The Thief and the Cobbler: Recobbled Cut
    The definitive unofficial presentation of this classic film. Painstakingly restored.


  • Recobbled Cut Trailer
  • Arabian Knight Trailer
  • Allied Filmmakers Trailer - New for Mark II!
  • Nine Image Galleries - 3 New for Mark II!
    “Deleted Characters” section featuring:
  • Enchanted Prince Bubba: Witch sequence
  • Princess Meemee - Bath sequence
  • Mullah Nasruddin: Bread sequence - New for Mark II!
  • Animated menus featuring pencil tests from the original film
  • About the Film
  • Restoration commentary by Garrett Gilchrist and Patrick McCart

More discs:

  • The Thief and the Cobbler workprint and DVD-ROM extras
  • The Thief Who Never Gave Up Documentary/Charge of the Light Brigade/Return of the Pink Panther
  • Making of Nasrudin - A Creative Man (1966), Clapperboard 1&2 (1972), Liquidator titles, Panther ads
  • NEW! Richard Williams Studio Animated Commercials (50 min), Animating Art, Nasruddin “Bread Scene” clip, Roger Rabbit Trailer, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum end titles, Thief Warner Bros. Licensing Trailer, Allied Filmmakers Trailer, Arabian Knight Trailer
  • Rare Thief and the Cobbler pencil-camera tests/The Pink Panther Strikes Again titles/I Drew Roger Rabbit/A Christmas Carol/Arabian Knight Trailer
  • Ziggy’s Gift/Ziggy Cartoons/Fred Calvert’s Princess and the Cobbler: Work In Progress Version
  • Raggedy Ann & Andy (“fake widescreen” 24p remastered - also available in normal pan & scan)
  • Arabian Knight (Miramax Cut) Japanese widescreen DVD (Arabian Knight is also available in pan & scan)
  • The Princess and the Cobbler (Calvert Cut) Australian Pan & Scan DVD (PAL)
  • The Princess and the Cobbler (Calvert Cut) Timecoded Widescreen from rare VHS (good quality, timecoded with trailer)
  • NEW! Thief pencil tests (56 minutes), Richard Williams interviews (Roger Rabbit & The Thief), Richard at the British Film Awards, Roger Rabbit Test, Air Canada ad, National Film Board of Canada Richard Williams film intros, Nasruddin clip, Oscar Grillo’s Seaside Woman (PAL)
  • NEW! I Drew Roger Rabbit (better version), Williams commercials (same as other disc but PAL), Warners trailer (PAL)
  • NEW! Roger Rabbit and the Secrets of Toontown/Roger Rabbit TV spots (Diet Coke, McDonald’s)
  • NEW! Roger Rabbit Reviews (Siskel & Ebert etc., with CBS “Pig Head” version)
  • The Thief Scrapbook - Huge collection of articles, artwork and more on a data DVD. Being added to all the time.


Rapidshare link for the entire trailer!

DVD art -

Full size!

Here’s the text, for those of you who want to attempt your own.

It is written among the limitless constellations of the celestial heavens, and in the depths of the emerald seas, and upon every grain of sand in the vast deserts, that the world which we see is an outward and visible dream, of an inward and invisible reality … Once upon a time there was a golden city. In the centre of the golden city, atop the tallest minaret, were three golden balls. The ancients had prophesied that if the three golden balls were ever taken away, harmony would yield to discord, and the city would fall to destruction and death. But… the mystics had also foretold that the city might be saved by the simplest soul with the smallest and simplest of things. In the city there dwelt a lowly shoemaker, who was known as Tack the Cobbler. Also in the city… existed a Thief, who shall be … nameless.

EVER CREATED!” - The New York Times

Restoration and cover artwork by Garrett Gilchrist

For the first time ever on video, enjoy the original version of this lost animation classic, written and directed by three-time Academy Award winning
animator Richard Williams (animation director of Who Framed Roger Rabbit). Nearly 30 years in the making, a labor of love by a team of animation greats, this was to be the masterpiece of Williams’ career, perhaps the most ambitious independent animated film ever conceived. The film was the inspiration for Disney‘s film Aladdin, which proved to be its undoing. After over two decades of work, the film was taken away from Williams when he couldn’t meet his deadline. It was eventually bought by Disney, recut and destroyed. It has never been seen the way it was intended to be seen … until now. Based on Williams’ original workprint, missing scenes have been restored using storyboards and unfinished
animation. Restored to its true form, this lost
classic has finally been found - for you at home.

Directed by Richard Williams Screenplay by Richard
Williams and Margaret French Master animator Ken Harris
Produced by Imogen Sutton and Richard Williams


The Little Island
Love Me, Love Me, Love ME
The Dermis Probe
The Story of the Motorcar Engine
A Lecture on Man
Circus Drawings
Pubs and Beaches
The Sailor and the Devil
I Vor Pittfalks, The Universal Confidence Man (not completed)
Anything from the various forms of the Nasrudin/Nasruddin film

Appearance on The BBC’s Do It Yourself Film Animation Show, as mentioned earlier - with guest host Bob Godfrey … any other TV appearances not mentioned.

I wonder if any of his Oscar wins still exist, too!

Documentaries with Richard I’ve never seen:

Who Made Roger Rabbit (2002)

Title sequences I’ve never seen …

Don’t Drink the Water (Morris) (animated sequences)
Every Home Should Have One (1970)
Prudence and the Pill (1968)
The Spy with a Cold Nose (1966)


As this project has progressed … well, you’ll read in the thread, but we’re now in touch with many animators who worked on the film and approve of what we’re doing.

Future plans – A book is being written, by us, on this film, and a documentary being made. We’re trying to gather as much information as possible.

Let us know if you’ve got anything!

I've read about this film in other posts/threads on here and I'm interested. Being that the film was never seen as intended, as you say, it is great to see it being preserved. Having heard only a little on the film, I still find myself wanting to see it. I'm glad that you are undertaking such a project. The mountains of praise for the Star Wars: Classic Edition series is proof that you are capable of doing a worthy restoration. I say that the praise is proof because I'm one of the fools who hasn't secured copies of any of the Classic Edition DVDs yet. Anyway, enough ranting from me.

Look forward to seeing this project progress.

To contact me outside the forum, for trades and such my email address is my username

Doctor M writes:

>>I know it's off topic, but YOU brought it up OCP...
What are you plans for Thief and the Cobbler? Since it was never really completed are you going to leave it unfinished?
I assume you're going to take existing higher quality releases and reconstructing the bootleg work print from them?

I actually think the film WAS pretty much finished when it was taken away from Williams - I restored the film 6 years ago and the Miramax and Calvert cuts show signs that it was essentially complete.

However, that doesn't help us as I don't have access to the scenes they cut out. Neither do they, apparently - it's said that much of it is lost, though I suspect that Williams somehow managed to keep it all anyway.

So yes, there will be a few scenes that appear in bootleg quality, and scenes that appear as storyboards and pencil tests.

The real surprise will be how much of the film is actually finished, though. Nearly all of it is.

I will have to use a few shots that were finished by other, less talented animators, but that's the way it goes. Many of them are from the animators' original pencil drawings, so it works fairly well.

The unfinished scenes don't interrupt your enjoyment of the movie - I rather like seeing the movie this way.

And there will be less of them than you'd expect from watching the workprint - most of the material that was unfinished at that point was finished in time for Miramax ... You can even see that Williams was still adding crazy stuff that wasn't in the workprint.
I've gotta say, I've never heard of this flick before, but now I'm hella interested in checking it out. I think I'll wait for this edition rather than watching the currently-available version first.

I used to be very active on this forum. I’m not really anymore. Hi everybody. You’re all awesome. Keep up the good work.

A good idea.

This movie is famous for being RUINED in editing more than any other film in history, maybe.

Better to watch the version being planned.

Here are three clips from the film that I've posted ....

(These are not from the edit I'm doing now, they're from older edits I did.)

I'm trying to figure out what music is being used in the film. The audio on the workprint is so terrible that it would be nice to swap it out for better quality music when possible.

I SO wish the Japanese DVD I have had 5.1 sound so I could get the dialogue from that version, rather than from the workprint. Sigh.


A posting online told me that most of the music is from Scheherezade, by Rimsky-Korsakov.

I downloaded some MP3s, and found a lot of the music - something that's used as Zigzag's theme, all the "action" music ... a lot of stuff.

I'm still wondering about at least two very important pieces of music though.

In the "March of the One Eyes" clip I've posted above, and the "Zigzag and One Eye" clip also posted above, there's a rather intense piece of music that's used for One-Eye. For the march, for the introduction of the character ... a major theme.

Anyone recognize this piece of music?

Also, there's a love theme for Princess YumYum and Tack that keeps reoccurring, and I'm wondering what that is.

I'm guessing Disney's plans for a complete restoration were shuffled when Roy left. I'm really interested in seeing what you wind up with, ocp.

Princess Leia: I happen to like nice men.
Han Solo: I'm a nice man.

Out of curiosity, what extra materials did you procure in order to do this project, and where did you get it from? I would imagine that this extra artwork and whatnot wouldn't just be freely floating about on the internet. But I'm definitely interested in checking this out.

Considering how good a job you've done on your projects (Star Wars comes to mind), would it be possible for you to document what you do as you go about the process of reworking this film, and include it as a documentary with the film? Because I know when I was flipping through your Star Wars disc, I was a little frustrated because I wanted to know the details, scene-by-scene in some cases, as to where the elements were coming from, the techniques you used, and the sources you used for your work. Your work is fantastic, and I think that documenting your techniques and sources would be really helpful for other people out there that are interesting in trying something like this out, or even just for the sake of curiosity.

Good luck on your project.

BTW, on another site dedicated to this movie, I happened to come across a post, which in part read:
Just managed to land a first-gen copy of a Thames TV documentary on Richard Williams done in the early '80s relating to the production of the film that cost me plenty on eBay.

If anybody knows anything about this, I would imagine that OCP would be interested in landing a copy of this.
>>I know when I was flipping through your Star Wars disc, I was a little frustrated because I wanted to know the details, scene-by-scene in some cases, as to where the elements were coming from, the techniques you used, and the sources you used for your work.

Thanks for being that interested ... I appreciate it. The sources on Classic Edition should be pretty obvious ... I've almost wanted to do a commentary on Deleted Magic, as that's a bit more complicated, and it might have been fun to do. But too egotistical.

I've tried to go into some detail in the threads as I'm creating a project, but really I don't feel like my sources and methods are interesting enough to merit a lot of discussion.

I wound up explaining a lot of my editing philosopy when I was giving notes to Jambe Davdar the other day ...


Maybe I'll say a few things. If you have any questions, ask 'em in the thread for that project. Maybe the Jedi thread?

About the Thief ...

Let's see ... well, Eddie Bowers sent me a long SLP tape years ago ... I wish he'd recorded it SP. I've asked him for better copies, but I can't reach him these days ... I was waiting for new tapes for six years! Since I did the LAST edit of this ...

Anyway. Recently someone sent me an SP copy of the workprint. This workprint is floating around. The quality is not very good, and it reflects the film in a very unfinished stage, but with audio that can be used to reconstruct the film as it should be.

This workprint was also on Eddie's SLP tape. He also included The Princess and the Cobbler, which is the Australian version of the film - basically the film before Miramax got ahold of it. It's still a badly reworked version, but not quite as bad.

There were also a few documentaries on Eddie's tape.

>> Just managed to land a first-gen copy of a Thames TV documentary on Richard Williams done in the early '80s relating to the production of the film that cost me plenty on eBay.

I had a bad copy of this documentary, and recently Baby Hum sent me a copy of it where the quality was much better ... so probably from the same source!
Thank you for the info.

As far as doing commentaries, why not do it if you happen to have a slow day, for either Deleted Magic or your Star Wars restorations. Just sit down and record it, encode it to mp3 at a bitrate of, say, 24-64 kbps, and up it your site? It'd be something kinda different...
I've heard abou this film for years and years, so being finally able to see it will be
a blast. Thanks again for what will surely be another classic.


p.s. dont worry about being egotistical, a lot of us would LOVE to hear commentaries on
your discs, and it wouldnt be an ego thing anyway, just providing info for most of us.
I'll try to do some writing about my methods when I did ROTJ. Might be helpful.

Back to The Thief - could really use a good copy of the Australian version "The Princess and the Cobbler" if anyone has it. My copy is SLP and quite poor ...
You know you might be able to lift the dialog from the Japanese laserdisc as long as it's recorded in some form of stereo (ProLogic preferably).

Using software like GraphEdit with a ProLogic2 decoder you could isolate the center channel which would be very nearly what you are looking for.
Just a thought.

Dr. M

True --

I could take the audio into a WAV editing program (I use Audacity) and do what you do to create a karaoke track. Reverse the power of one of the tracks and put it over the other. Isolate the center track.

Hadn't thought about that!

It is a stereo mix, so that might just work.

Thanks Mr. Wizard!
When you say, a 'good' copy of the Australian version (of 'The Princess and the Cobbler'), do you mean a tape or what? I'm not sure if the Australian version was widescreen or not, but there's a fullscreen DVD available of this version.

To contact me outside the forum, for trades and such my email address is my username

Sadly, a widescreen version of "Princess" isn't available, no. The "Thief" isn't available in widescreen in the US either!

Yes, I know about that DVD and would very much like a copy of it - though I don't necessarily want to pay for it! Maybe I'm going to have to.

EDIT - All right, I've bought it. Go me.
I've decided to include a compilation of some of Richard's other work on the second disc.

I suppose I'll be renting The Charge of the Light Brigade and Return of the Pink Panther to include those segments.

What I could use is some nice poster art for the film. All the posters that Miramax came up with are awful.

A fellow from Toonhound had a copy of a lovely rare brochure from when the film was shown by Williams in an unfinished stage (It was then called "Once ...") at Cannes. Color art and all, but he couldn't find it to dig it up and scan it properly.

It's funny, I remember reading about this film in an interview about Roger Rabbit, for Comics Scene magazine, when I was probably 7, 8 or 9. He was talking about how he's created a new kind of animation, that was going to change the way animation was done.

Then I remember seeing the trailer for the film in theaters ... I was still very young, didn't catch on that this was the same film. I remember thinking, "Someone's done a bad ripoff of Aladdin."

Something connected in my brain later and I dug up the old article.

It was a few years later that I saw the film the way Miramax released it, and then the workprint.
It's just occurred to me that Princess YumYum sings the "love theme" when she's in the bath. Meaning the theme is probably original music.
I don't know if there's any point bringing it up, but if you need the Miramax cut at all (I'm assuming the DVD isn't widescreen), then the LaserDisc (which is widescreen) is available on ebay at the moment, right here.

To contact me outside the forum, for trades and such my email address is my username

I'll be damned, so it was released in widescreen in some form. Hmmmm.

Just an idea, to distinguish this restoration from everything else that's floating around (the hackjob commercial releases, the work prints, etc.) why not go back to the old title of "Once," or some derivative thereof? It has kind of a sad, wistful sound to it, which definitely correlates to the crapstorm that surrounds this movie. And it's the only one of the original titles that was never used.
It was going to be a secret, but a "Once ..." title card will appear. Not as the title of the film, just as a card.

And the film was shown under that title at Cannes.

The Japanese DVD is anamorphic widescreen. ("Arabian Knight" print, with that title.) That's what I'm using.
Cheers to Chris Sobieniak, who's offered me another better copy of the Thames documentary ... he's the one who bought the tape on Ebay for $80 ... he's also offered me some of Williams' commercials and his A Christmas Carol, which will be great to include, and to see.

If anyone has a good copy of "I Drew Roger Rabbit" or "Animating Art," let me know ... I have copies, but they're SLP and kind of poor. And I can't seem to get hold of Eddie Bowers who sent the originals.

Either way, they'll be there on the disc.

I do have the soundtrack album for Arabian Knight, and it's not a great score, but if a scene seems to need music, I will actually give it a chance. If I use it anywhere, it won't be much.

I guess since I'm buying the Princess and the Cobbler (aka the Fred Calvert) version, I'll make that available for those who want it. It's a different take on the film - not really a good take on it, but not a butchery like the Miramax version. The Fred Calvert team did work hard to finish the film their own way, for what that's worth.

The Disney squad, on the other hand, did their damndest to remove any entertainment value the film had left ...

I wonder if this film has fans in Australia or South Africa, from the limited release the "Princess" version had there. They got to see a proper version of it ... sad that we didn't.

It's amusing looking at this film again after many years - At times I always thought I could tell what decade a scene was animated in by the style of the animation. A lot of the thief stuff shows Williams' 1960s style ... like when he steals a jewel, or gets beat up by Nanny at the beginning.
Strange as it may seem, if this gets made, it would be very interesting to see the castrated "producer's version" included as a "bonus feature", too. (The dubbed and cut one from USA, with new voices, etc.)

That has been done for example with "Brazil" on the official DVD - there's an extra disc with a weird US version which is cut so much it would make Beria and Stalin wince, and which has an idiotic "happy ending".
Eh...with the concerns about bootlegging and whatnot, I don't know how good of an idea that would be. I don't think OCP has ever put out a version of something that was commercially available in that form. Plus, there are two two different hackjobs available to choose from. I say screw that, and use the space for the extras, such as the documentary.
Some very good news. A 1st-gen PAL VHS recording of I Drew Roger Rabbit has turned up. With many thanks to Jonathan Squidy Sloman. I'll be getting it from him soon, and seeing how it looks.

I've also rented the Return of the Pink Panther and the Charge of the Light Brigade on DVD to start forming my collection of williams clips.