The Fox and the Hound
Release Year: 1981
Directors: Ted Berman, Richard Rich, Art Stevens
Writers: Daniel P. Mannix (based on his 1967 novel The Fox and the Hound), Larry Clemmons (story), Ted Berman (story), David Michener (story), Peter Young (story), Burny Mattinso (story), Steve Hulett (story), Earl Kress (story), Vance Gerry (story).
Starring (voices): Mickey Rooney, Kurt Russell, Pearl Bailey, Jack Albertson, Sandy Duncan, Jeanette Nolan, Pat Buttram, John Fiedler, John McIntire, Richard Bakalyan, Paul Winchell, Keith Coogan, Corey Feldman
Rating: Nominated for 1 Saturn Award: Best Fantasy Film.
A fox cub raised by an elderly lady and a hound puppy become fast friends in childhood. As they grow up they are forced to assume their natural roles of hunter and hunted, but will their friendship survive?
There is a genereal feeling that the 1970s and especially the 1980s was a bit of a slump for Disney, wedged as it was between the initial golden age and the Disney renaissance during the late 1980s and 1990s. I would argue, there are clear exceptions to this rule, such as Robin Hood (1973), The Rescuers (1977), and the film in question, The Fox and the Hound (1981). The story is first and foremost about friendship; the unimaginable friendship between a wild fox and a hound. They meet as the most cutely animated young and find a home with a couple of neighbours who detest each other and have very different views about wild life. The character animation is superb, and bears witness to decades of experience at the Disney studios in animating animals which goes back to Snow White. Whereas some films of this period happily reuse sidekick characters from other films with a few changes, that is felt to a much lesser degree here and the supporting cast is excellent, from interesting human characters to genuinely funny and endearing animal characters. It is a melancholy film, but also a beautiful film about the power of friendship and about finding your place in the world. Highly recommended.
Character animation for the character Vixey was done by an uncredited Tim Burton.
Picture Copyright: Disney