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The Fox and the Hound - Bright Original Talent for Disney

Jul 26, 2008
The Fox and the Hound is an animated feature produced by Walt Disney Productions. The twenty-fourth animated feature in the Disney animated canon, The Fox and the Hound was released in 1981 to generally positive reviews and great box-office success. The story was based on the book of the same name written by Daniel P. Mannix in 1967.

The film is important as it marks a pivotal transition in animation style for Disney. The majority of the animators were graduates of the Disney in-house training program that was founded in 1976. Their ascendancy marked the end of an era, to some degree, as the famous ?Nine Old Men? were gently phased out of general production. The ?Nine Old Men? were the core animators for Disney, having started with Snow White (1937) and worked on until the release of The Rescuers (1977).

As a matter of fact, Don Bluth, a key animator belonging to this new wave, left Disney in mid-production on The Fox and the Hound, taking eleven other animators with him to form Don Bluth Productions. This was a tremendous blow to Disney, as this defection had taken with it approximately 17% of Disney's production staff and effectively delayed production by six months. Bluth's contributions to The Fox and the Hound were un-credited and his company would go on to be Disney's main competition throughout the 1980s.

The plot centers on the adventures of a young red fox, named Tod, and a young blood hound, named Copper. Whereas the local hunter, Amos Slade, would have the two of them at each other?s throats, Tod and Copper begin a fast friendship. Their childhood friendship is cut short by hunting season. When the two friends meet again, they are young adults. In an effort to allow Tod to escape, Copper sidetracks his blood hound mentor, Chief. Unfortunately, Chief is hit by a rail car ? an accident Copper blames Tod for, causing their friendship to dissolve. Though seeking vengeance, Copper soon comes to protect Tod after the fox helps save his life and the life of his master, Slade. The two friends share a smile and part.

Though the movie was a box-office success, reviews were mixed. Some critics, like Richard Corliss of Time Magazine, praised the film for its portrayal of the effects of prejudice, while others contended the tone of the movie was uneven. Regardless, The Fox and the Hound was nominated for a Young Artist Award, a Saturn Award for Best Family Film, and won a Golden Screen Award from the Goldene Leinwand Awards in 1982.
About the Author
Steve Collins is an author and Journalist based in Hollywood. A huge Disney fan, he uses the Disney Movie Club to complete his collection. Read his reviews of the Disney Movie Club here.
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