The Great Mouse Detective
Release Year: 1986
Directors: Ron Clements, John Musker, Burny Mattinson, David Michener
Writers: Pete Young, Vance Gerry, Steve Hulett, Ron Clements, John Musker, Bruce Morris, Matthew O’Callaghan, Burney Mattinson, David Michener, Mel Shaw, Eve Titus (based on her children books Basil of Baker Street, Paul Galdone (illustrator of the Basil of Baker Street books), Arthur Conan Doyle (inspired by his Sherlock Holmes stories)
Starring (voices): Barrie Ingham, Vincent Price, Val Bettin, Susanne Pollattschek, candy Candido,Diana Chesney, Eve Brenner, Alan Young
The Great Mouse detective Basil (Barrie Ingham) investigates the disappearance of London’s best toy maker and discovers a link to his arch-enemy Professor Rattigan (Vincent Price) who plan to take over the Mouse world.
Most people consider the 1970s and 1980s a slump for Disney Animation Studios but despite the lower quality and unoriginality in animation and the abundant reuse of background characters, the studio did release some entertaining films. The Great Mouse Detective is one such film and one of the better Disney feature films of the 1980s. The idea to adapt Eve Titus’s charming children books, in which Sherlock Holmes is reimagined as a mouse, is a good one for starts. There are wonderful nods to the Holmes’s London (the story is set in 1897); for one Basil lives in the walls of Sherlock Holmes’s house. Basil himself is aloof and eccentric, but not a particularly strong character, perhaps because the film is relatively short only (71 minutes) and we don’t really get to become familiar with any of the characters. The film’s most memorable character (apart from the charming basset hound, Toby) is without doubt its villain, Professor Ratigan (voiced by the great Vincent Price). Disney has a gift for great villain, and Ratigan is one of them. With great scenes (take the great toy story sequence for instance), great atmosphere, and two show-stopping songs. A solid and charming little film.
The Great Mouse Detective was a box office and critical succes for the iconic animation studios after the failure of its previous feature film The Black Cauldron (1985). It’s succes was so that the company decided that its animation department was still viable and thus paved the way for the Disney Renaissance beginning with The Little Mermaid (1989).
Picture Copyright: Disney