The Black Cauldron

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Steve Lockwood, Jan 25, 2002.

  1. Steve Lockwood

    Steve Lockwood Stunt Coordinator

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    I was thinking about picking this up. Did anyone enjoy the dvd version of this film?
     
  2. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    You know what?

    Certainly not one of Disney's best films.

    However, I would pick it up. It's not a

    bad movie, and I think that everyone should

    own every single one of the studio's classic

    animated product -- especially with many of

    them going out of circulation.
     
  3. JeremySt

    JeremySt Screenwriter

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    It is not anamorphic, but I would not count on a re-release anytime soon. So if you like it, I would recommend picking it up. Cool movie.
     
  4. Mark Walker

    Mark Walker Cinematographer

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    I bought this movie on DVD, and
    ya know what? It has its moments of brilliance.
    Sure, the plot feels really lame pretty quick,
    and the characters are sketchy at best, but
    I like it for its parts if not the whole.
    Still, I do not reccomend picking it up,
    sight unseen. I am unduely forgiving of
    Disney's lesser animated works, but I cannot
    give it a heartly approval.
    The only titles of theirs I don't own are
    the straight to video releases. I don't
    like the "make for television" look of the animation.
    The Black Caludron has
    some first rate voice talent: Nigel Hawthorne,
    John Hurt, and John Huston.
    Also, this film is wonderfully widescreen.
    I may be wrong, but I believe they used 70mm
    film for it, so you get the same scope you
    haven't seen since Sleeping Beauty.
    For me, while I wait for Peter Jackson's
    Lord of the Rings to make it to DVD,
    this is my tide over...The plot seems heavily
    borrowed from Tolkien's famous trilogy,
    and I like this film MUCH
    better than Ralph Balski's (spelling error)
    animated version of Lord of the Rings.
    Mark
     
  5. Paul Linfesty

    Paul Linfesty Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, The Black Cauldren and Sleeping Beauty were both shot in Technirama, which is sometimes mistakenly referred to as a 70mm format. In reality, it used 35mm film horizontally (8 pairs of perfs) with a 1.5 anamorphic squeeze. For 70mm prints, the squeeze was removed and for 35mm scope the image was reduced with an additional squeeze added.

    As far as the film itself, Theblack Cauldren isn't very warm, but does have some moments (Sleeping Beauty isnt one of the warmest Disney animated films, either.)
     
  6. Ben Motley

    Ben Motley Supporting Actor

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    Well, I read the Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander as a kid... numerous times. They are certainly for children, but they're damn good reads. There are five of them, The Black Cauldron being the second book, and a few have garnered Newberry awards, arguably the most prestigious award for children's literature. I do like Disneys version, but I think that Gurgi, Fflewdder Fflam, and the Fair Folk are just too cute to go with th rest of the movie. Seems to me like they felt obligated to try and throw in something the kids could cling to, as the rest of the pic is rather dark. But it's not a good blend, it's as if the film struggles with identity, and before a good balance is achieved, it's over. As Mark said, the movie has great elements, but I think as a whole, it falls short of really being very good. But, being a fan of the books, I do enjoy seeing it adapted to the big screen. Great score by the way, and NO songs. This is, I think, Disneys only animated feature that doesn't contain a single song, and was rated PG.
    Final word... definitely check it out, but go in with reserve. And if you haven't, read the books. They're great fun.
    The Prydain Chronicles
    The Book of Three
    The Black Cauldron - Newberry Honor Book
    The Castle of Llyr
    Taran Wanderer
    The High King - Newberry Medal winner
    by Lloyd Alexander
    [​IMG]
     
  7. Lars Vermundsberget

    Lars Vermundsberget Supporting Actor

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    I myself am a Disney-phile, but I'm not so sure I'd recommend this particular title to everyone. It has its moments but also its problems.

    What's interesting to me is this film's place in the history of Disney animation. By the late 1970s most of the original generation of Disney animators were retired or dead. Disney's animated features of the past two decades had also been far between and much less groundbreaking than those from the earlier golden age.

    Sometime in the 70s a new or middle generation of Disney animators started developing something they hoped would be a great success and start a renaissance of Disney animation: The Black Cauldron. After about ten years in the works TBC was released in 1985 and flopped. The Disney Company seemed embarrassed and locked the title away for 13 years or so. I was able to borrow a bootleg copy in 1996.

    Fortunately (I guess...) the renaissance of Disney animation came in the years after 1985 with titles such as The Great Mouse Detective, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast.
     
  8. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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    First of all, I'll agree with Lars' post above! Very accurate, and it is NOT for everybody!
     
  9. Derek Faber

    Derek Faber Stunt Coordinator

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    Too bad they didn't use and of Tim Burton's designs for the film, that would have given it a certain edge to it.

    I must say, I have never seen the film, but is one of the few Disney films I would actually buy(have no desire to own all of them, especially those 70's films)

    As for no songs in the films, if I remeber correctly, The Great Mouse Detective didn't have any songs(I could be wrong). The Emperor's New Groove, while having an opening song(an animated singer, with mic, was singing it), didn't have any other songs. Tarzan had only the one, wordless number(Phil Collins' songs don't count).
     
  10. Michael Warner

    Michael Warner Supporting Actor

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    I actually like the movie quite a lot on its own merits so I'm happy to own the DVD. The DVD has a few things in its favor such as the only widescreen version of the film to ever appear on home video, a very nice still gallery of conceptual art, and the classic "Trick or Treat" Donald Duck cartoon. The shortcomings of the disc are the lack of an anamorphic transfer and some poor video quality early in the movie.
     
  11. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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  12. Derek Faber

    Derek Faber Stunt Coordinator

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    I remember incorrectly, than. [​IMG]
     
  13. Mark Walker

    Mark Walker Cinematographer

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    Derek-
    Yep, Rattigan sings at least twice, and
    then there is the bar scene.
    Still, on the whole a delightful movie,
    singing and all. I mean, c'mon! It's Vincent Price!
    [​IMG]
    Mark
     
  14. Brian Kidd

    Brian Kidd Screenwriter
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    THE BLACK CAULDRON was one of the most lifeless concoctions ever to come out of Disney. That is until Katzenberg laft Disney and Eisner decided that the only way to go was with unwanted sequels to classic films. It's really horrible and dull. The animation is substandard and the script is horrendous. PLEASE watch it before you buy it. There's a reason it went unseen for so many years.
     
  15. derek

    derek Second Unit

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    I just rented this and enjoyed it but I wouldn't buy it. Unfortunately the film doesn't know whether to be adult or child oriented. There are too many violent/graphic undertones in the movie for young children IMHO, yet some of the material is kiddie fare. In many ways...it has alot in common with 'Atlantis' (not just no songs) where both it seems will be lost family members in the Disney archives. 'Atlantis' does have a more adult focus and stays on that tact throughout the film yet I felt the plot and writing were weak.
     
  16. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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    The Black Cauldron was a wildly uneven run at the Prydain Chronicles by Disney. I could understand why they would try to composite the first two books in the series, but the uneven and inconsitent tone (as explained well by Derek), and the rushed witcheus ex machina ending suggest that Disney's story people should have been given a few more passes at it and their executives a few less.
    The animation is sporadically interesting, but again, not consistently so, and the production value in general varies almost as widely.
    I would love to see someone do a downtown job on the Prydain novels, but one of the major roadblocks would be that the first book "The Book of Three" has such a passive protagonist that a faithful adaptation would be not very dramatic/cinematic. The second novel, "The Black Cauldron", would be a wonderful film if done right. [​IMG]
    Regards,
     
  17. Randy Duncan

    Randy Duncan Auditioning

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    Well, since David has humiliated me and I was bound to post eventually anyway, it's appropriate that I jump in on an animation thread. Yep, gang, after lurking for awhile this is my first post!
    I enjoyed the Black Cauldron immensely but I will agree with the sentiment that it definitely ISN'T for everyone. I've long believed that Disney's animation talent shouldn't always be hamstrung by the "family film" stigma. The Black Cauldron could have been monumental, but the House of Mouse tried to do too much with this one. IMO, if they had tried to go with a darker film they would have succeeded better (is that grammatically correct?). I say this strictly from a story standpoint, never having read the Chronicles of Prydain... so please forgive me if I've attacked any sacred cows! [​IMG]
    There are effective moments that any student of animation should enjoy -- the Horned King and the Caudron-born warriors are really cool and genuinely creepy. And John Hurt's voice is right on.
    All in all,I agree with Ron's recommendation to grab all the "main" Disney titles you can, Black Cauldron included.
    -- Elrand
     
  18. David Lambert

    David Lambert Executive Producer

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    Randy, I'm glad I was finally able to lure you out into the open.
    [rant]And now, young Skywalker....YOU ARE MINE! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH![/rant] [​IMG]
    Seriously, thanks for contributing...I knew you would sum it up much better than I could. Seeya later on at work,
     

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