Release year: 1977
Director: John Lounsbery, Wolfgang Reitherman, Art Stevens
Screenwriter: Margery Sharp (inspired by ‘The Rescuers’ and ‘Miss Bianca’ by), Larry Clemmons, Ken Anderson, Frank Thomas, Vance Gerry. David Michener, Ted Berman, Fred Lucky, Burny Mattinson, Dick Sebast
Starring (voices): Bob Newhart, Eva Gabor, Geraldine Page, Jow Flynn, Jeanette Nolan, Michelle Stacy, Patt Buttram
Ratings: 1 Oscar nomination: Best Original Song.
When a bottle containing a cry for help from a little girl named Penny reaches the mouse organization Rescue Aid Society, brave mouse Bianca volunteers on the mission and chooses shy janitor Bernard as her partner. The mission leads them to a gloomy bayou, where locals help them defy alligators, bats and a greedy woman named Medusa.
Based on the children books by Margery Sharp, The Rescuers is a movie that was underway for several years. Unsure about the political overtones, Disney shelved the movie, which had started production in 1962, before it was finished after the release of Robin Hood in 1973. The movie is one of the more adventurous of Disney’s Classics and is a bit darker as well, with a genuinely mean villain and an innocent soul put in a dire situation. The story has a solid structure and functions as a detective story for families, as the two brave (well one brave and one with a crush) mice throw themselves into their dangerous mission of rescuing poor Penny. The animation is superb, perfectly capturing the coldness of the bayou and with so much careful detail that every scene looks like a painting brought to life. Bianca and Bernard are endearing and sparkling with personality, ready to steal your heart away and there are plenty of great side characters. Whether it is the brave Evinrude, the clumsy Mr. Snoops or the two menacing Brutus and Nero, they are characters that will stay with you for each their own reason. While it may not be one of the most known or popular of Disney’s classic, when it comes to storyline it is right up at the top and if you have never indulged in this charming bayou adventure you are in for a treat.
With ‘The Rescuers Down Under’ (1990), The Rescuers became the first Disney Classic to have a sequel.
The first Disney animated classic to feature a prologue before the opening credits.
While working on the film, Don Bluth noted that some of the characters did not have the whites of their eyes colored in. When he questioned the reason why, he was told that it was too expensive. Bluth and fellow animator Gary Goldman got their own equipment to test if it was true, they found that it was not too expensive. When they reported back with their discovery, the two were told to follow orders and do as they were told. Bluth referred to this as “the straw that broke the camel’s back” which would eventually lead to Bluth and Goldman leaving Disney. Bluth started his own animation company which has produced movies like The Land Before Time (1988) and Anastasia (1997).
Feel like watching the movie yourself? Click the image below:
Picture copyrights: Disney