Back in the Dark Ages of Disney--the dimly remembered period after Walt's death and before the second Renaissance that was ushered in by THE LITTLE MERMAID and BEAUTY AND THE BEAST--there seemed to be trouble in the magic kingdom. THE GREAT MOUSE DETECTIVE, therefore, surprised and
pleased many animation enthusiasts; it combined the sophistication of the new Disney era with the well-loved traditions and standards of the past.
Based on the beloved children's novel Basil of Baker Street by Eve Titus, the story is an adaptation of Sherlock Holmes motifs interpreted by a few cartoon mice living in Victorian London. Vincent Price provides the voice of Ratigan, a Moriarty-like genius who wants to control the mouse world. To
this end, he kidnaps a brilliant mouse toymaker, Flaversham (voiced by Alan Young), intending to have the poor whiskered creature build a terrifying rodent robot that he will use to dethrone the current mouse queen (Eve Brenner). Basil (Barrie Ingham), the Holmesian mouse, and Dawson (Val Bettin)
agree to help Flaversham's daughter Olivia (Susanne Pollatschek) find her father, but the trail leads to all sorts of pitfalls.
This is high-quality animation. The engaging characters play out the action against elegantly designed backgrounds. The story is genuinely exciting, a well-told tale that is entertaining to both children and adults without compromising the expectations of either group. The voices are perfectly
cast, particulary Price as the evil Ratigan.
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