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|On October 18, 2013, Ariane Lange of BuzzFeed made an article titled, 27 Reasons Why "The Great Mouse Detective" Is The Greatest Disney Movie. I decided to take the challenge and see if I could come up with "27 Reasons" on my own. Below are my results. Enjoy!
*WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS!!!*
1. Vincent Price voices Professor Ratigan, an actor best known for dark comedies, horror films, and radio programs of the supernatural. Barrie Ingham voices Basil of Baker Street, a Shakespearean stage actor who got his start thanks to Sir John Gielgud. He performed in such productions as "Gypsy," "Aspects of Love," and "Jekyll and Hyde: The Musical."
2. The protagonist and antagonist have a memorable first on-screen appearance: Basil is in disguise as an obese Chinese mouse, waving a gun around and scaring his guests while Ratigan slowly creeps out of the darkness with a sinister chuckle. This sets the tone of both characters being unpredictable and menacing in their own right.
3. Olivia Flaversham was originally created as an adult and a potential love interest to Basil. Eventually she was changed to a child to gain sympathy from audiences. Her voice was also provided by an eight year-old Glaswegian named Susanne Pollatschek, adding more realism to the character.
4. The voice of Sherlock Holmes is of an audio clip supplied by Basil Rathbone, the famous actor who played the detective in many on screen films and radio programs. The clip is from "The Adventure of
the Red-Headed League."
Image courtesy of Sherlock Holmes | Old Time Radio.
5. Commendable character development. Disney took great care and precision in each lead role on screen. This was also achieved by the animators drawing the actors as they delivered their lines. It helped to obtain precise timing and body gesture.
Image courtesy of Animation Magic: A Behind The Scenes Look At How An Animated Film Is Made by Don Hahn.
6. Instead of Basil using Sherlock Holmes as a mentor to learn how to sleuth, such as in the Eve Titus books, Disney decided to write him as already being intuitively gifted.
7. Many dogs and cats talk in other Disney films. Toby and Felicia, however, do not. This formulates better interaction with the rodent world.
8. The music score by Henry Mancini fits for every slow, fast, intense, and quirky movement per scene, per character.
Image of Henry Mancini courtesy of Everything Action.com.
Image of the sheet music courtesy of OnlineSheetMusic.com.
9. Used familiar sound effects such as Castle Thunder from other classic Disney films and vinyls, giving the film a nice nostalgic feel to it.
YouTube audio courtesy of wileyk209zback.
10. Subtle nods to other subjects with Disney: Bill the Lizard from Alice in Wonderland as one of Ratigan's thugs, a toy firemen band based on the Firehouse Five Plus Two from Disneyland, a toy elephant looking like Dumbo, a Hidden Mickey in the toy shop (as Basil is climbing the ladder, look off to the left side of the screen), and the inside joke of Basil briefly holding up a map of Downtown Burbank and Glendale (where the Walt Disney Animation Studios are located).
Image of the Firehouse Five Plus Two is courtesy of matterhorn1959.blogspot.com.
11. Professor Ratigan sings two of the three songs in the film, a treat for any Vincent Price fan.
12. Basil does not sing any songs. Despite the fact that Barrie Ingham can hold a note beautifully, this would make the detective out of character.
Photo: Andrea Rivette (Emma Carew) and Barrie Ingham (Sir Danvers Carew) from "Jekyll and Hyde: the Musical," performing the duet, Letting Go.
13. Four famous and beloved Disney voice actors appear in the film: Alan Young, best known as the voice of Scrooge McDuck, voices Hiram Flaversham. Candy Candido, known for voicing various villains in other animated features and Disneyland attractions, voices Fidget, the peg-legged bat. Tony Anselmo, best known as the voice of Donald Duck, voiced a thug. Wayne Allwine, best known as the voice of Mickey Mouse, also voiced a thug, specifically the one who looked like Bill the lizard.
14. Basil, Dawson, and Ratigan, are all from the Eve Titus book series, inspired by the Sherlock Holmes series of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
15. For those not interested in seeing a princess and prince fall in love, this film has no romance...unless you count Dawson getting kissed by showgirls!
16. An animated film with intriguing characters helps youngsters become interested in the Mystery genre.
17. Out of the four directors, two of them went on to direct The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Hercules, Treasure Planet, and The Princess and the Frog. They are John Musker and Ron Clements.
Image of John and Ron is courtesy of Animation Fascination.
18. The Multi-Plane Camera was used, the same motion camera used in previous Disney animated feature films as far back as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
Image courtesy of Walt Disney.org.
19. One of the first films to use computer generated imagery (CGI) during the final battle scene inside the clock tower of Parliament.
Image from "The Making of the Great Mouse Detective" Featurette.
20. Dark, gritty, yet lavish backgrounds for 19th century London appear in almost every scene.
21. Even though it's a G-rated film, it still depicts a waterfront pub with smoking, drinking, rowdy patrons, and burlesque dancers accurately.
22. Professor Ratigan's overkill trap, inspired by Rube Goldberg, was an elaborate and highly entertaining scene. It also provided a hidden moral for Basil: when things are at their worst, never give up hope!
23. Final Fantasy fans would admire Ratigan's dirigible, a common use of transportation in the famous Role Play Game series. Airships are popular with Steampunk fans, too.
Image of the Hyperion Airship is courtesy of Wikipedia, from the 1974 Walt Disney movie, The Island at the Top of the World.
24. Has one of the most epic showdowns between the hero and the villain. The scene was inspired by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "A Final Problem" (Holmes and Moriarty fight on the Reichenbach Falls) and "Lupin III: Castle of Calgliostro" (Lupin and Count Cagliostro fight inside a clock tower).
Top image titled "The Death of Sherlock Holmes" (1894) by
Sidney Paget. Courtesy of Toronto Public Library.
25. Ratigan's demise was questionable, leaving it open for possible encounters with him again, which he does in foreign comic books.
26. Basil immediately starts another case after the Flavershams leave. This was a great way to show a beginning instead of an ending for future adventures with the detective and his new associate, Dr. Dawson.
27. Arguably considered the movie that saved the Walt Disney Animated Feature Studios from permanently shutting down.