Full page view
HISTORY

According to a 20 Jun 1986 Back Stage article, animator Eric Larson, the last of Walt Disney’s “Nine Old Men” from his original stable of artists, served as a mentor and artistic guiding force on the picture. Larson, responsible for creating such classic characters as Bambi’s “Thumper,” Lady and The Tramp’s “Peg,” and Pinnochio’s “Figaro the Cat,” retired after The Great Mouse Detective was completed.
       A summer 1986 The Disneyana Collector newsletter in AMPAS library files stated that story development on the picture began in 1980. Approximately 125 animators were employed on the project. Twenty-seven-year-old Hendel Butoy was mostly responsible for animating “Basil” and “Dawson,” twenty-eight-year-old Mark Henn was a lead animator and co-designer of Basil, thirty-two-year-old Glen Keane worked on almost all of “Professor Rattigan’s” scenes and designed many of the main characters with the exception of Basil, and twenty-three-year-old Robert Minkoff was integral to the development of Basil’s character, and had input on scenes involving Dawson.
       A 26 Sep 1984 HR news item announced that production on Basil of Baker Street, the film’s working title, began that day. A 27 Jul 1986 NYT article reported that the picture’s budget as $12.8 million.
       Production notes in AMPAS library files state that animators turned to the film Champagne for Caesar (1950, see entry) as research when searching for a voice that would suit the Rattigan character. At first, they considered basing the voice on Ronald Colman, the star of the movie, but when they saw Vincent Price, who was also in the cast, it ... More Less

According to a 20 Jun 1986 Back Stage article, animator Eric Larson, the last of Walt Disney’s “Nine Old Men” from his original stable of artists, served as a mentor and artistic guiding force on the picture. Larson, responsible for creating such classic characters as Bambi’s “Thumper,” Lady and The Tramp’s “Peg,” and Pinnochio’s “Figaro the Cat,” retired after The Great Mouse Detective was completed.
       A summer 1986 The Disneyana Collector newsletter in AMPAS library files stated that story development on the picture began in 1980. Approximately 125 animators were employed on the project. Twenty-seven-year-old Hendel Butoy was mostly responsible for animating “Basil” and “Dawson,” twenty-eight-year-old Mark Henn was a lead animator and co-designer of Basil, thirty-two-year-old Glen Keane worked on almost all of “Professor Rattigan’s” scenes and designed many of the main characters with the exception of Basil, and twenty-three-year-old Robert Minkoff was integral to the development of Basil’s character, and had input on scenes involving Dawson.
       A 26 Sep 1984 HR news item announced that production on Basil of Baker Street, the film’s working title, began that day. A 27 Jul 1986 NYT article reported that the picture’s budget as $12.8 million.
       Production notes in AMPAS library files state that animators turned to the film Champagne for Caesar (1950, see entry) as research when searching for a voice that would suit the Rattigan character. At first, they considered basing the voice on Ronald Colman, the star of the movie, but when they saw Vincent Price, who was also in the cast, it inspired them to rethink the character.
       The Back Stage article reported that computer animation was used to generate the images inside the Big Ben clock tower. According to Disney Imagineer graphic artists, Tad A. Gielow and Phil Nibbelink, the giant clock’s actual architectural blueprints were used as source material to develop the intricate pattern of wheels and gears seen on screen. Production notes and the DVD of the film state the picture was the first time animators combined traditional techniques with computer animation, which approximated the sensation of the camera eye flying through space.
       A 29 Jun 1986 LAT article reported that when executives renamed the movie The Great Mouse Detective, an anonymous memo appeared on the Disney animation department bulletin board in Feb 1986, announcing that all the company’s animated classics had been given new titles. The fourteen titles listed were generic and unimaginative versions of existing titles, including Two Dogs Fall in Love, for Lady and the Tramp, and The Wooden Boy Who Became Real for Pinocchio. Although he had nothing to do with the memo, the name of the Disney animation chief did appear on the document, and management asked him for an explanation. Reportedly, a dialogue between management and animation solicited a promise from executives to include animators earlier in the process, regarding marketing changes. The identity of the fake memo writer was later revealed to be Disney storyman, Ed Gombert.
       An 8 Oct 1986 Var article announced that a voting block of five representatives from the Norwegian State Film Censorship Board agreed to ban the film for audiences, twelve years and younger. According to the laws of the country, the decision could not be appealed, which caused the Walt Disney Company to scrap its plans to record a Norwegian dialogue track. In other Scandinavian countries, the movie was approved without any restrictions in Finland and Sweden. According to a 10 Dec 1986 Var brief, Denmark’s censorship arm requested a thirty-second cut be made.
       According to an invitation in AMPAS library files, the Disney Company held two screenings of the film at 7:30 p.m. on 27 Jun and 11:00 a.m. 28 Jun 1986 at the Walt Disney Studios Theatre in Burbank, CA.
       The Sep 1986 Box reported a nineteen-day gross of $15 million in 1,200 theaters.
       Ron Clements and John Musker received an Edgar Allan Poe Award nomination for ”Best Motion Picture” mystery.
More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Back Stage
20 Jun 1986
pp. 53-55.
Box Office
Sep 1986
Section R, p. 100.
Hollywood Reporter
26 Sep 1984.
---
Hollywood Reporter
1 Jul 1986
p. 3, 25.
Los Angeles Times
29 Jun 1986
p. 25, 42.
Los Angeles Times
2 Jul 1986
Section VI, p. 1, 12.
New York Times
2 Jul 1986
p. 29.
New York Times
27 Jul 1986.
---
Variety
9 Jul 1986
p. 15.
Variety
8 Oct 1986.
---
Variety
10 Dec 1986.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Walt Disney Pictures presents
Produced In Association With Silver Screen Partners II
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Story adpt
Story adpt
Story adpt
Story adpt
Story adpt
Story adpt
Story adpt
Story adpt
Story adpt
Story adpt
PHOTOGRAPHY
Anim cam
FILM EDITORS
MUSIC
SOUND
ANIMATION
Supv anim
Supv anim
Supv anim
Supv anim
Anim consultant
Char anim
Char anim
Char anim
Char anim
Char anim
Char anim
Char anim
Char anim
Char anim
Char anim
Char anim
Char anim
Char anim
Char anim
Char anim
Char anim
Char anim
Char anim
Char anim
Art dir
Col styling
Background
Background
Background
Background
Background
Background
Background
Background
Eff anim
Eff anim
Eff anim
Eff anim
Eff anim
Coord anim
Coord anim
Coord anim
Coord anim
Coord anim
Key asst anim
Key asst anim
Key asst anim
Key asst anim
Key asst anim
Key asst anim
Key asst anim
Key asst anim
Key asst anim
Key asst anim
Key asst anim
Key asst anim
Key asst anim
Key asst anim
Key asst anim
Key asst anim
Key asst anim
Key asst anim
Key asst anim
Key asst anim
Key asst anim
Asst anim
Asst anim
Asst anim
Asst anim
Asst anim
Asst anim
Asst anim
Asst anim
Asst anim
Asst anim
Asst anim
Key asst anim
Asst anim
Eff asst anim
Eff asst anim
Eff asst anim
Asst layout
Asst layout
Asst layout
Asst layout
Asst layout
Breakdown and in-between artist
Breakdown and in-between artist
Breakdown and in-between artist
Breakdown and in-between artist
Breakdown and in-between artist
Breakdown and in-between artist
Breakdown and in-between artist
Breakdown and in-between artist
Breakdown and in-between artist
Breakdown and in-between artist
Breakdown and in-between artist
Breakdown and in-between artist
Breakdown and in-between artist
Breakdown and in-between artist
Breakdown and in-between artist
Breakdown and in-between artist
Breakdown and in-between artist
Breakdown and in-between artist
Ink & paint supv
Ink & paint supv
Ink & paint supv
Ink & paint supv
Ink & paint supv
Ink & paint supv
Painting asst
Painting asst
Col models
Col models
Col models
Col models
Scenic planning
Scenic planning
Computer generated graphics
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the Basil of Baker Street book series by Eve Titus and Paul Galdone (New York, 1958).
SONGS
"The World's Greatest Criminal Mind," music Henry Mancini, lyrics Larry Grossman and Ellen Fitzhugh
"Goodbye, So Soon," music Henry Mancini, lyrics Larry Grossman and Ellen Fitzhugh
"Let Me Be Good To You," written and performed by Melissa Manchester, produced by Robbie Buchanan, courtesy of MCA Records, Inc.
PERFORMER
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
Basil of Baker Street
Release Date:
2 July 1986
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 2 July 1986
Production Date:
began 26 September 1984
Copyright Claimant:
Walt Disney Records
Copyright Date:
7 July 1986
Copyright Number:
PA290808
Physical Properties:
Sound
Dolby Stereo ® in Selected Theatres
Color
Prints
Prints by DeLuxe
Duration(in mins):
71
MPAA Rating:
G
Country:
United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
28113
SYNOPSIS

In the 1897 “mousedom” of London, England, a toymaker named Hiram Flaversham presents his daughter, Olivia, with a special windup, dancing toy. Soon, an intruder arrives, and Flaversham hides his daughter in a cupboard. When Olivia emerges, her father’s store is in shambles, and he is missing. Just in time for the queen’s diamond jubilee, Dr. David Q. Dawson, formerly of the Queen's 66th Regiment, journeys to London, looking for a place to call home. He discovers Olivia inside a man’s boot. She has lost her way looking for famous mouse detective, Basil of Baker Street, and Dawson offers to escort her there. A housekeeper invites them to wait for Basil’s return. Soon, a stout Chinese man appears, pulls off his mask, deflates his costume, and transforms into Basil. Although Olivia tries to get the detective’s attention, he ignores her, and Dawson intervenes. Basil immediately guesses that he is a medical doctor back from Afghanistan, and Dawson is impressed by Basil’s powers of deduction. As Basil reclines in his armchair and plays his violin, Olivia explains that a bat with a peg leg abducted her father. Basil exclaims that the bat’s name is “Fidget,” and he is employed by the twisted genius, Professor Ratigan, also known as the “Napoleon of Crime.” Basil has tried to capture the professor many times, but Ratigan has always eluded him at the last minute. Ratigan has kidnapped Flaversham to build a special invention. When the toymaker refuses, Ratigan threatens to harm Olivia. As Ratigan gives Fidget a list of supplies to fetch, he gathers his cronies and professes that he has thought up the most diabolical scheme of his illustrious career. This time, ... +


In the 1897 “mousedom” of London, England, a toymaker named Hiram Flaversham presents his daughter, Olivia, with a special windup, dancing toy. Soon, an intruder arrives, and Flaversham hides his daughter in a cupboard. When Olivia emerges, her father’s store is in shambles, and he is missing. Just in time for the queen’s diamond jubilee, Dr. David Q. Dawson, formerly of the Queen's 66th Regiment, journeys to London, looking for a place to call home. He discovers Olivia inside a man’s boot. She has lost her way looking for famous mouse detective, Basil of Baker Street, and Dawson offers to escort her there. A housekeeper invites them to wait for Basil’s return. Soon, a stout Chinese man appears, pulls off his mask, deflates his costume, and transforms into Basil. Although Olivia tries to get the detective’s attention, he ignores her, and Dawson intervenes. Basil immediately guesses that he is a medical doctor back from Afghanistan, and Dawson is impressed by Basil’s powers of deduction. As Basil reclines in his armchair and plays his violin, Olivia explains that a bat with a peg leg abducted her father. Basil exclaims that the bat’s name is “Fidget,” and he is employed by the twisted genius, Professor Ratigan, also known as the “Napoleon of Crime.” Basil has tried to capture the professor many times, but Ratigan has always eluded him at the last minute. Ratigan has kidnapped Flaversham to build a special invention. When the toymaker refuses, Ratigan threatens to harm Olivia. As Ratigan gives Fidget a list of supplies to fetch, he gathers his cronies and professes that he has thought up the most diabolical scheme of his illustrious career. This time, even Basil will not stand in his way. Soon, Olivia sees Fidget by a window, and screams. Basil sees unusual footprints on the street and determines they belong to Fidget, and declares that the bat will ultimately lead them to Ratigan and Olivia’s father. Basil persuades Dawson to help, but is adamant that it is too dangerous for Olivia to join them. However, Olivia will not take “no” for an answer. The mouse brigade travels above Basil’s domicile to the rooms of detective Sherlock Holmes and his partner, Dr. Watson. There, Basil waves an article of Fidget’s clothing in front of Holmes’s Basset hound, Toby. The dog leads them to a well-stocked toy shop, where Fidget is hiding. As they search, Basil notices the toy soldiers have been stripped of their uniforms, while the clockwork mechanisms are missing from other toys. Dawson discovers Fidget’s supply list on the floor, but fails to attract Basil’s attention as all the mechanical toys begin to prance, dance or march throughout the store. When Olivia leans over a baby carriage to get a closer look, Fidget lunges at her and throws her in a sack. Basil and Dawson run to her rescue. A falling doll barely misses them, while the lance of a charging wind-up knight grabs Dawson by his coat and tethers him to a dartboard. Basil dodges the knight but crashes into a pile of marbles. When Fidget tries to get away, Toby growls and Fidget races around the store looking for another escape route. Soon, the bat builds a mountain of toys, leading to a skylight. As Basil chases Fidget, he topples the tower of toys, and Basil crashes to the floor. Fidget escapes onto the roof, carrying Olivia with him. Dawson blames himself for Olivia’s kidnapping, but Basil reassures him they will find her. Dawson produces Fidget’s supply list, which Basil believes to be just the clue they need. Ratigan allows Flaversham and Olivia a short reunion, but quickly separates them, and orders the toymaker to finish his invention by nightfall. Fidget imprisons Olivia inside a wine bottle. Meanwhile, Ratigan becomes livid when he discovers that Basil is conducting an investigation into Flaversham’s disappearance. As punishment, Ratigan feeds Fidget to Felicia, his giant cat, but relents when he hatches a plan that requires the bat’s help, saving Fidget from Felicia’s bite. Basil puts the supply list through all sorts of laboratory tests and concludes the paper was exposed to seawater, and originated from a seedy pub located where the sewer connects to the waterfront. Disguised as a sea captain and pirate, Basil and Dawson arrive as patrons at the seedy bar. Basil orders pints and tells the barmaid he is looking for his old friend Ratigan. She pretends not to know Ratigan, and brings two drinks spiked with drugs. Dawson coifs his pint before Basil can warn him. Nevertheless, Basil sees Fidget and they follow the bat through a trap door in the floor behind the bar, and through a pipework labyrinth until he leads them to Ratigan’s secret lair. They attempt to rescue Olivia from her wine bottle prison, but the cork is stuck, and they discover Fidget disguised as Olivia. Ratigan gives Basil a big welcome, then ties Basil and Dawson to a mousetrap as part of a “Rube Goldberg” contraption that will send a bullet, an axe, an arrow and an anvil their way. Meanwhile, Ratigan and Fidget leave to disrupt the Queen’s diamond jubilee at Buckingham Palace. They present the queen with a perfect mechanical likeness, built and operated by Flaversham. When the machine chases the queen all over her quarters, she summons her guards. However, Ratigan’s thugs, dressed in toy soldier uniforms, kidnap the real queen, and Ratigan positions the mechanical Queen in her place. With only a few seconds remaining, Basil disrupts Ratigan’s mousetrap, and he and Dawson escape. As they make their way to the palace, the mechanical queen appears before her subjects, and to everyone’s horror, introduces Ratigan as her new consort. Toby transports Basil, Dawson, and Olivia to the palace. They rescue the Queen from Felicia’s hungry jaws, as Ratigan tells citizens that he is now in charge, and everyone will have to pay higher taxes. Behind a curtain, Basil takes over control of the mechanical queen, who turns against Ratigan and mocks his arrogance. Although enraged citizens attack Ratigan, Fidget appears with Olivia, and all three escape when Ratigan threatens to harm her. Soon, Basil converts decorative balloons into a hot air balloon, and pursues Ratigan’s airship. He leaps onto Ratigan’s craft, which crashes into the Big Ben clock tower. Basil wedges Ratigan’s cloak in some clock gears as the villain sends Basil flying with a slap to the face. Basil rescues Olivia from being ground up in the machinery, and hands her off to Flaversham in the hot air balloon. Ratigan breaks free, and he and Basil tumble down the clock face. They fight as Ratigan tries to prevent Basil from boarding the hovering balloon. When a punch sends Basil into a free fall, Ratigan assumes he has destroyed his rival. Basil grabs hold of wreckage from Ratigan’s airship. The clock tower bells ring and the vibrations cause Ratigan to fall. He grabs Basil and they plummet to Earth. Dawson, Flaversham, and Olivia expect the worst. However, Basil survives and uses the foot-pedal mechanism from Ratigan’s wrecked airship to steer his way to the hot air balloon. Later, newspaper headlines announce the Queen has honored Basil and Dawson. As Flaversham and Olivia prepare to leave, she announces she will never forget Basil and Dawson. Soon, Dawson says his “goodbyes” but Basil invites him to become his partner. Dawson barely agrees when a young woman appears at the door seeking the great mouse detective’s advice, and Basil explains that Dawson helps solve all of his cases. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.