This film featured three of the Nine Old Men- Ollie Johnston, Milt Kahl and Frank Thomas, as well as the creme of the up and coming animators such as John Pomeroy, Cliff Nordberg, Andy Gaskill, Gary Goldman, Art Stevens, Dale Baer, Ron Clements, Glen Keane and Don Bluth. But like the character Orville from the film, it has a very hard time taking off.
This was Milt Kahl's last film for the studio, and he wanted Madame Medusa to be his best; he was so insistent on perfecting her that he ended up doing almost all the animation for the character himself. It is said that Medusa is modeled after Kahl's ex-wife, whom he had a particularly vicious divorce with. There was some talk of making the villainess Cruella de Ville from One Hundred and One Dalmatians, but that idea was shot down fairly early in production.
Margery Sharp's book The Rescuers had been considered for adaption at the studio as early as 1962. Walt Disney originally nixed the idea, feeling the stories published to that point were not focused enough to make a good film. The final movie was based more on the second book for its more coherent story.
The Rescuers marked the end of the rough line quality of the animation so pervasive in the 1960s and 70s. A more refined xerographic process produced a solid, thin single line accurately, something that was not possible before. Colored lines were also now possible, with the use of a medium-gray line for most characters and even a purple tone for outlines for Miss Bianca.
This was Joe Flynn's last film performance. The film was one of two released after his death on July 19, 1974.
The Rescuers earning $48 million at the box office in its initial release. It became the company's first major animated success since The Jungle Book and would be the last until The Little Mermaid.
On January 8, 1999, three days after the film's second release on home video, The Walt Disney Company announced a recall of about 3.4 million copies of the videotapes because there was an objectionable image in one of the film's background cels. It was discovered the image of a topless woman was added to two non-consecutive frames in one sequence. The frames were not in the original theatrical releases, but were added in video mastering. The remastered film was released three months later, on March 23, 1999.
This was the 23th film in the official Disney list of animated films.
The Rescuers Production Information
Traditional, Hand-drawn Animation.
Foreign Language Title: "Bernard Et Bianca (French)."
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