The Unfinished Masterpiece

Richard Williams is an animator best known for his work on Who Framed Roger Rabbit. However, his biggest work has a sad story attached to it. Williams had huge goals for what independent animation and animation in general could be- he embarked on a feature film called “The Thief and the Cobbler” that he worked painstakingly on for over a decade after finding funding for it himself.

After Williams was unable to finish in a timely fashion to satisfy investors, the film was taken by a feature production company and cobbled together without the supervision of Williams, meaning the film varies in quality from high art (William’s footage) to cookie cutter heartless animation (the scenes thrown together to finish the film as quickly as possible by people who weren’t Williams).

The production came to a highly depressing end, but the work that was done on it is still remembered and drooled over by generations of animators.

There is a documentary about him called “Persistence of Vision” that was released last year- it tells the story of his career and, I assume, what happened with this masterpiece that never was.

My new goal in life is to get this documentary and have a screening of it as well as a screening of the footage from the feature. Here is some stuff to get warmed up on though in the meantime as I try to meet some deadlines. Here is the trailer:

He had grand dreams but even though the project was never finished in a way that was intended, how far he got is heartening. It still exists for everyone to see and obsess over and it does show how far animation can go if people just push it there and persist.

 

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