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Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Fox and The Hound - A Disney Film Review by Robert Steven Mack

It came to my attention when I sat down to write this article that I promised in my last post that I would be reviewing old Disney live action movies - mostly under the 1980’s. I would now like to add to that solely for the purpose of this article and others that might very well follow. It was in fact only a short time ago, that I was rummaging through my extensive film collection looking at such films that I had not seen for a time when I came across “The Fox and the Hound.” After watching it for the first time in at least two years, I realized I had never written a single word about this film. Therefore, deciding that my review on the “Son of Flubber” could wait, I ended up writing about this one.

“The Fox and the Hound,” a Disney movie, was released in 1983 and features the voice talents of Mickey Rooney, Kurt Russell, Paul Winchell, Sandy Duncan, Jack Albertson, Pearl Bailey, John Fielder, and John McIntire. The film (based on a novel by Daniel Mannix) began production in 1977 and eventually led to welcoming a whole new team of animators, story tellers and so on at Disney. Echoing the past dramatic glories of “Bambi” and “Pinocchio,” this film is arguably darker and richer with dramatic bravado compared to the more recent animated classics such as “The Jungle Book” and “The Aristocrats.”

It’s the story of an unlikely friendship between a hound, the hunter and a fox, the hunted. The film begins stylishly: the starting credits role without a sound, then the music builds up to a dramatic chase scene where we see a mother running for her dear life and the life of her cub. After the mother hides her cup she runs off screen and we hear shots. Perhaps similar to the formula of “Bambi,” “The Fox and the Hound” is yet unique. The orphaned fox cup is adopted by a kindly widow and with that we meet a menagerie of funny and caring characters. The friendship between the fox and the hound starts when they are pups. The Fox, Tod is mischievous, tricky, and the more impetuous of the two with a mind for taking risks and getting into trouble. In contrast, Copper, the hound, is na├»ve, somewhat timid and accident prone. While the two chums have plans to stay friends forever, Copper’s master, a brutal hunter, has different ideas and aims to make a hunting dog out of him and put an end to an unlikely friendship. A vivid colorful epic, we watch the two grow distant and apart until the two are changed animals. Eventually, they must stand a trial of true friendship, so great, it will take only true courage and loyalty to overcome them. Powerful and thoughtful, this is a story of social burdens and heartaches.

With adventure, dazzling songs, a delightful love story and of course topped up by the usual humorous side-plots, this triumphant classic is a must-have Disney film about love, honor, and friendship denied by society.

Copyright 2011 by Robert Steven Mack (all rights reserved!)

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