Oliver & Company
Alternate Title: Oliver and the DodgerOliver & Company (Oliver and the Dodger) (1988) Feature Length Theatrical Animated Film by Dave Koch
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- Walt Disney Studios
- Animated Characters: Oliver, Dodger, Tito, Einstein, Francis, Rita, Fagin, Sykes, Roscoe, DeSoto, Jenny Foxworth, Winston, Georgette, Louie.
- Awards: Golden Globe Award Nominee, Best Original Song (Motion Picture), "Why Should I Worry?" (Music and Lyrics: Dan Hartmand, Charlie Midnight), 1989.
- Originally Released in 1988.
- Running Time: 72 minutes.
Cartoon Production Information:
This was the 27th film in the official Disney list of animated films.
Oliver & Company marked the public debut of new computer-aided animation technology, with which artists created many of the "inanimate" objects in the film-cars, taxis, buses, a cement mixer, subway tunnels and trains, even the Brooklyn Bridge. Live "character" vehicles, Sykes' limousine and Fagin's strange scooter/shopping cart/tricycle, were also created with the assistance of the new technology, which would continue in development to the amazing level of sophistication seen in the latest Disney animated features.
Director George Scribner explains, "Because the city itself is in some respects another character in the picture, we wanted it to be realistic with lots of movement and traffic, not just static backgrounds. The computer has enabled us to generate the rhythm and action that goes with an urban center and then animate our characters on top of it."
While not technically a musical, Oliver & Company does feature a six-song score. Unlike most musical films, the score to Oliver & Company was the work of several composers and lyricists working in several different styles, including Barry Manilow, Howard Ashman, Dean Pitchford, Dan Hartman and Charlie Midnight
As had been the case with Lady and the Tramp (1955), much of the action in Oliver & Companytakes place from a "dog's eye view." Disney artists even went on reconnaissance trips to Manhattan to take photographs of the city from this peculiar angle-drawing stares from the usually blase New Yorkers.
Dodger's supervising animator, Andreas Deja, who would later animate Gaston in Beauty and the Beast (1991), Jafar in Aladdin (1992), and Scar in The Lion King (1994), points out another connection to Lady and the Tramp: "In designing the character of Dodger, there was a natural tendency in the beginning to model him after Tramp, since both are happy-go-lucky street dogs. But we wanted Dodger to have a unique look, so we gave him a rougher and scroungier appearance that seemed to fit in with the city setting."
Another character, Oliver himself, drew his final characteristics from Disney classics. Animator Mike Gabriel (who would co-direct Pocahontas) recalled:
".. .the original concept was to make him a little older, more of a teenager. But we quickly discovered that an innocent waif on the street was more sympathetic and vulnerable if he was played younger. By studying some of the classic Disney characters like Thumper in Bambi (1942), we learned that young characters didn't have to be cloying or just a cute ball of fur. They worked because they were sincere and genuine. That's what we wanted for Oliver."
The production design of Oliver & Company harks back to that of 101 Dalmatians (1961), in that the backgrounds are rendered in the same bold, graphic outlined" style, bringing forward the "drawn" qualities of the characters,rather than having "outlined" characters functioning against more subtly painted settings.
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