Background (short version):
If you have seen the film by this name on video, you might be surprised to know that it's far from the version that the Director (Richard Williams) intended. Much of his original film was cut out and replaced with other segments. His film sufferd a similar fate as those by Orson Welles such as The Magnificent Ambersons or the unfinished Don Quoxite.
Richard williams started this ambitious animated film way back in 1968. Working with him were some of the original Disney animators such as Art Babbit and Grim Natwick as well as Ken Harris and Emery Hawkins from Warners. The film was originally self financed by Williams with money coming in from his animated commercials. After winning an academy award for Roger Rabbit he got the film financed externally so it could be completed. This turned out to be a bad decision because after going over budget the investors got nervous and pulled the film from him, having it completed by someone else. The film had about 10 to 15 min left to complete when it was taken out of Williams hands. Instead of just completing the film, the person in charge of the completion decided to re-work the film to make it more "mainstream". He replaced much of the original scenes with song segments and farmed out the animation . The resulting film was released in a few different edits. On called "The Princess and the Cobbler" in Australia and one called "Arabian Knight" in the US by Miramax. The Miramax version is much worse because they added constant narration and voices to characters who were intended to be silent. After Disney purchased Miramax, it's version ended up on home video under the original title "The Thief and the Cobbler".
Richard Williams "Work Print" which is the work in progress version is the only way we can tell what this film could have been. It has not been released, but can be found as a bootleg.
Film Development History