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Old 08-18-2019, 11:02 AM
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Richard Williams, Animator of Roger Rabbit, Dead at 86

He's probably best known for directing the animation for Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but I'm sure he would rather be known as the director of the Thief and the Cobbler -- not the bastardized release version, but the one in his head, which has been approximated on YouTube.

He also animated The Pink Panther in opening titles and directed the 1971 version of A Christmas Carol (Produced by Chuck Jones!! How much animation expertise can you put in one cartoon?) that effectively animated the original book illustrations (and had Scrooge voiced, twenty years after he played him in the film, by Alastair Sim).

His daughter Natasha Sutton Williams told the PA that her father had been suffering from cancer. He was animating and writing until 6 p.m. on the day he died, she said.
"He really was an inspiration to everyone that met him," Williams' daughter said. "Whether they were animators, or from the top to the bottom of society."
Williams had won three Oscars, three British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) awards and more than 250 other international awards, according to his website The Animator's Survival Kit.
"During his more than 50 years in the business Williams has been one of the true innovators and serves as the link between the Golden Age of animation by hand and the new computer animation successes," his biography reads. "Perhaps even more important has been his dedication to passing along his knowledge to a new generation of animators so that they in turn can push the medium in new directions."
Who is the Calypso Singer that rides Pegasus?
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Old 08-18-2019, 08:48 PM
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Ah yes, the Thief saga. I followed that for years, having first heard about this project that was impossibly ambitious, and was taking an incredible amount of time to finish (thirty years and counting), with great wonder and anticipation. Then a trailer for it finally appeared (I think it was before Operation Dumbo Drop), retitled Arabian Knight but obviously the long-promised Richard Williams tour-de-force and I thought, "at last!", and then weeks passed and I realized it was not being marketed at all, and would hit theaters in the slump season (end of summer) and clearly no one expected anyone to notice or cared if it tanked. Which it did.

Seeing it in a near-empty house, it had some dazzling sequences and some very funny ones, but it didn't hang together as a movie very well, and I sensed there'd been some tampering with the creator's vision (what was Jonathan Winters doing voicing the Thief character's thoughts to no good effect?), but ultimately it seemed like an attempt to salvage something that hadn't been well planned from the start.

Reading later accounts of its production woes, including lots of rewrites and missed deadlines convinced me that Richard Williams was a brilliant artist and master animator, but also maybe a little too focused on getting all the spots on the deck of cards that the bad guy was shuffling to look perfect, while maybe not paying enough attention to telling a coherent story or giving the audience some emotional connection to the characters.

Haven't seen any of the fan re-edits of this, must check it out some day. I'm not convinced The Thief and the Cobbler is a lost (or worse, murdered) masterpiece, but I'll be glad to be proven wrong. Richard Williams certainly deserves acclaim for his work over the decades; he was a philosopher of animation and he understood as well as anyone (as his writing and teaching attest) how to make cartoon characters come alive on the screen. Sorry to see him go!
Old 08-18-2019, 09:03 PM
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Roger Rabbit brought me immense joy as a child, and my children love it too. The opening scene with the baby was especially amazing as it had that 3-D feel to it that seemed really amazing for the time it was released.
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Old 08-19-2019, 11:36 AM
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So sorry to hear this. I consider Roger Rabbit the pinnacle of cell animation, being one of the only ones ever animated at a full 24 frames a second to match the live-action photography.
Old 08-20-2019, 12:11 AM
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So who framed him?
Old 08-20-2019, 04:08 AM
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Originally Posted by panache45 View Post
So who framed him?
It was 24 frames each second.


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