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Arabian Knight

From Academic Kids

This movie should not be confused with "The Arabian Knights", an animated segment of the Hanna-Barbera series The Banana Splits Adventure Hour.


Arabian Knight (known outside the United States as The Princess and the Cobbler) is a 1995 animated movie starring the voices of Vincent Price, Jennifer Beals, Matthew Broderick and Jonathan Winters. This movie was the final result of director Richard Williams' 23-year pet project, The Thief and the Cobbler, which was eventually completed without him.

Its production began in 1968, making it the holder of the longest production time ever for a motion picture. Williams independently funded the film for nearly two decades, with the original voice sessions completed completed in 1968, and worked on the production in-between various TV commercial, TV special, and feature film title assignments.

After serving as animation director on the successful Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Williams got funding and a distribution deal with Warner Bros. Pictures. The film was not finished by its 1991 deadline, and Disney's similarly-themed Aladdin beat it to theatres the following year. Warner took the project from Williams, and had producer Fred Calvert complete the film. Calvert cut a significant amount of Williams' finished footage from the film, added songs, recorded voices for previously mute characters, and added Jonathan Winters' narration. The finished film was distributed outside of the United States as The Princess and the Cobbler, and in the US by Disney subsidiary Miramax. the film did underwhelming business, and was quickly released to VHS video.

In the late 1990s, Walt Disney Feature Animation head Roy E. Disney began a project to restore The Thief and the Cobbler to as close to Williams' original intent as possible. He sought out original pencil tests and completed footage, much of which was by this time in the possession of various animators and film collectors. Roy Disney left the Walt Disney Company in November 2003, and the Thief and the Cobbler restoration project was put on hold.

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