Basil of Baker Street: The Great Mouse Detective (1986)

It’s Time for an Animated Film!

Every year we review an animated film and this year it is:

I’ll always look back on that first with the most fondness; my introduction to Basil of Baker Street, the great mouse detective

So guess what guys! Bonus Disney film and bonus Vincent Price!

This was one of my upmost favorite films growing up. I don’t think I could ever fully explain how amazing this film is-it is just too good.

So the original story is a book Basil of Baker Street, which was awful-don’t read it. Instead, when Disney went into production they borrowed from The Sign of the Four, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, and other of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s works.

As my costume this year was Sherlock Jane Holmes Austen, I knew I had to review it.

Mystery, you say?

The main character Basil of Baker Street is a mousified version of Sherlock Holmes-a mix of Leslie Howard and Basil Rathbone (where his name comes from). This film not only has a great main character but the best Disney villain of all time, Ratigan.

Played by Vincent Price-this guy gives Professor Moriarty (Sherlock’s archnemsis) a real run for his money.

This film starts of with father and daughter-Hiram and Olivia Flaversham. Hiram is a toy inventor and is celebrating with the apple of his eye, Olivia. Unfortunately, her birthay is interrupted with intruders.

He quickly hides his daughter and then is kidnapped. 

Meanwhile, in London, Dr. David Q. Dawson has just arrived from Afghanistan, newly retired from the war. He’s looking for a place to stay and to begin his practice.

Dr. Dawson: Little did I know that my life was about to change forever.

He sees little Olivia trying to make her way down the street without being run over, and feels sorry for her. She tells him she is looking for the famous detective, and shows him a newspaper clipping. He agrees to help her, and off they go.

When they arrive at 221 1/2 Baker Street, Basil is not there. They decide to wait when they are interrupted by a strange looking mouse.

Yes, it is Basil of Baker Street, the Great Mouse Detective.

Put my crime-solving cap on.

Olivia tries to talk to him, but he ignores her…until she mentions a certain little fact:

Olivia Flaversham: I didn’t lose him. He was taken by a bat.

Basil: Did you say… bat?

Olivia Flaversham: Yes.

Basil: Did he have a crippled wing?

Olivia Flaversham: I don’t know, but he had a peg leg.

Basil: Ha!

Dr. Dawson: I say, do you know him?

Basil: Know him? That bat, one Fidget by name, is in the employ of the very fiend that was the target of my experiment! The horror of my every waking moment. The nefarious Professor Ratigan!

Dr. Dawson: Ratigan?

Basil: He’s a genius, Dawson. A genius twisted for evil. The Napoleon of crime!

Dr. Dawson: As bad as all that, eh?

Basil: Worse! For years I’ve tried to capture him, and I’ve come close, so very close, but each time he’s narrowly evaded my grasp! Not a corner of London is safe while Ratigan is at large. There’s no evil scheme he wouldn’t concoct. No depravity he wouldn’t commit. Who knows what dastardly scheme that villain may be plotting even as we speak.

From here we fade out to take a look at the villain-Ratigan (Vincent Price). His plan is to have Haversham create a toy mouse Queen, kidnap the real Queen, and use his toy/puppet to rule all mousedom. After his amazing reveal and we have THE BEST VILLAN SONG OUT OF ALL THE DISNEY VILLAN SONGS!!

So debonair, so evil, so classy, so demented, etc. He has it all. Fantastic!

Meanwhile, Fidget goes looking for the girl and to find out what Basil has unearthed. They spot him and the chase is on-after a quick stop to Sherlock Holmes’ flat (Sherlock Holmes speaks with the voice of Basil Rathbone. Since Rathbone was already deceased it was edited from his reading of the Sherlock Holmes story “The Adventure of the Red-Headed League” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle for Caedmon Records in 1966).

In the flat they pick up Toby, a dog, and track Fidget down to a toy store:

Olivia is stolen, but luckily they found the list and Basil uses al his power of deduction to find Ratigan’s lair.

It is time to suit up and head out. The two disguise themselves as sailors and head down to a tavern on the waterfront.

Bar Maid: What’ll you have?

Dr. Dawson: I’ll have a dry sherry, with, oh, perhaps a twist of…

Basil: Two pints for me and my shipmate. Oh, by the way. We just got into port. We’re looking for an old friend of mine. Maybe you know him. Goes by the name… of Ratigan! [Everyone at the bar gasps and turn to Basil]

Bar Maid: I… never heard of him.

Basil is on high alert and notices that the drinks have been roofied. But it is too late for Dawson who causes a giant scene:

When I was a kid I never noticed how racy this was. It almost didn’t make it in the final cut. I just remember enjoying the song.

Oh, well

So they get out of there and follow Fidget, but it turns out to be a trap. Ratigan has outwitted Basil. He takes his robot Queen, the Flavershams, and his crew and set off to fulfill his evil plan.

Let’s stop and talk about how awesome this scene is:

  1. Ratigan’s enthusiasm and how he can’t settle on one so he does all his ideas.
  2. How Basil figures out this plan and incorporates it, calculating in like a minute.
  3. When he is free the first thing he does is change back into his “uniform”.
  4. Basil catches Olivia as she is thrown through the air just like that.
  5. And he stops to have his picture taken.

Meanwhile, Ratigan has fooled the queen, abducted her, and has established his Robot Queen who has given him all the power.

Ratigan: I have the power!

Robot Queen: Of course you do.

Ratigan: I am supreme!

Robot Queen: Only you.

Ratigan: This is my kingdom! [maniacal laugh] That is, of course, with your highness’ permission. [the robot is idle; Ratigan slaps it to start it again]

Robot Queen: Most assuredly… you insidious fiend.

Ratigan: What?

Robot Queen: You’re not my royal consort!

Ratigan: [to crowd] Such a sense of humor.

Robot Queen: You’re a cheap fraud & impostor!

Ratigan: [under his breath] Flaversham!

Basil: [operating the robot] A corrupt, vicious, demented, lowlife scoundrel. There’s no evil scheme you wouldn’t concoct. [the robot goes crazy and breaks apart]

Robot Queen: No depravity you wouldn’t commit. You, professor, are none other than a foul stenchus rodentus, commonly known as a…

Ratigan: Don’t say it!

Basil: …Sewer rat!

Yes Basil came in just the nick of time. Ratigan escapes with Olivia and Basil and Dawson are on the train again. Basil crashes into Ratigan and they wind up in Big Ben and we have one of the most amazing scenes in Big Ben-and one of the scariest.

Back at Baker Street Hiram and Olivia leave to go home and get back to their lives-

Olivia Flaversham: Goodbye, Basil. [sniffles] I… I’ll never forget you.

Basil: Nor I you, Miss… Miss Flangerhanger.

Dr. Dawson: [chuckles] Whatever.

Afterwards, Dawson is going to go about what he originally planed t do, but Basil likes having a best friend.

Dr. Dawson: Well, it’s time I was on my way too.

Basil: But… umm… but I thought…

Dr. Dawson: Well, the case is over, and perhaps… well perhaps it’s best I found my own living quarters.

Basil: But…[Knock on doorOh, now who could that be?

[Dawson opens door; a lady mouse is standing there]

Lady Mouse: Is this the home of the famous Basil of Baker Street?

Dr. Dawson: Indeed it is, miss. You look as if you’re in some kind of trouble.

Lady Mouse: Oh, I am. I am.

Dr. Dawson: Then you have come to precisely the right place.

Basil: Ah, allow me to introduce my trusted associate Dr. Dawson, with whom I do all of my cases. Isn’t that right, doctor?

Dr. Dawson: Oh? Why, yes. By all means.

Basil: As you can see, Dawson, this young lady is from the Hampstead district, and is troubled about the mysterious disappearance of an emerald ring in the third finger of her right hand. Now, tell me the story, and pray, be precise.

And that is just the beginning-many more adventures are to cme. Although sadly they didn’t make any more movies. I don’t know why not!

It is such an amazing film, and I watched it over and over and over again as a child.

To start Horrorfest VII from the beginning, go to It’s the End of the World: The Birds (1963)

For the previous post, go to Those Men Are Not Going to Stand for Nancy Drew Poking Her Little Nose Into Their Affairs: Nancy Drew, Detective (1938)

For more The Great Mouse Detective, go to The World’s Greatest Criminal Mind

For more private investigators, go to Those Men Are Not Going to Stand for Nancy Drew Poking Her Little Nose Into Their Affairs: Nancy Drew, Detective (1938)

For more Vincent Price, go to Once, There Was Even a Man Who Had Scissors for Hands: Edward Scissorhands (1990)

For more Disney films, go to One Who Was Both Hero and Villain: Maleficent (2014)

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Oh Oh De Lally

fox robin hood

Day 25) Your Favorite Disney Classic

Robin Hood

Robin Hood (1973)

So this is one of the best Disney films. Many have not seen it, so it remains a beloved little known classic. It is also one of the best depictions of Robin Hood ever made. You know why? Because the person they use for Robin Hood is perfect:

robin-hood

So just like The Great Mouse Detective this film also uses animals instead of people to tell the story, and each one was perfect for the character they are supposed to portray.

The film is told by the minstrel Alan-a-Dale, who is played by a rooster, of which is perfect because he is never quiet. He starts to tell us the story of Robin Hood who is a fox (literally and figuratively) and Little John, a bear. The two live in Sherwood Forest and rob from the rich and give to the poor. You see the people of Nottingham are not doing very well. King Richard (a lion as he was called Richard the Lionhearted) is in the Middle East fighting the crusades, and his brother John is in charge. Prince John sucks as a ruler (and sucks his thumb) and is heavily taxing the people. He leaves the  dirty work to the Sheriff of Nottingham (a wolf) and his posse. The Sheriff tries to catch Robin and Little John, but fails every time.

robin-hood

So the film starts off with Prince John charging through the forest and stopping to get his fortune read by two Gypsy women. And those women turn out to be…you guessed it Robin and Little John. The two dressed up to rob whoever was coming through and decide to take down Prince John.

Sir Hiss tries to warn Prince John that the two can’t be trusted and sure enough Prince John gets robbed blind. The guards try and chase the two and fail, fail miserably.

We then see  Friar Tuck visiting the poor, such as an injured blacksmith. He tries to give him the earnings that Robin Hood won for him, but  who should come along? The big, bad, wolf Sheriff. Yep

jerk_alert32

 The Sheriff then goes to visit a family of rabbits, one of which is celebrating their b-day and he takes all their money, the rabbit Skippy’s b-day present.

How rude

But soon a blind beggar comes on the screen who is secretly…you guessed it Robin Hood. And he makes everything better

throw confetti HIMYM

Robin gives the rabbits some money, along with his bow and arrows, for  Skippy’s b-day present.

The kids scurry off to test it out, sending an arrow into Prince John’s castle grounds. Luckily the group doesn’t run into Prince John, but Maid Marian, Robin Hood’s sweetheart (also a fox) and her lady-in-waiting, Lady Kluck (a chicken). They all play act, with Marian discussing her love for Robin and hope that he feels the same way. Lady Kluck assures her that there is no way would he forget her. After all:

Absence Heart

Back with the boys, Robin and Little John get a visit from Friar Tuck who has told them about an archery tournament that Prince John is hosting. Prince John was enraged by how Robin embarrassed him and decided he was going to take Robin down. He knew that an archery contest would be impossible for Robin to resist. Especially if the prize was a kiss from Maid Marian.

perfect plan

Robin pf course can’t resist, no matter what they say and decides that he is going to go. But he comes up with a crazy plan to get in:

Its-so-crazy

So the two head out to the competition. Little John dresses up as the Duke of Chutney and Robin is a stork. Sir Hiss figures out who hey are, but Friar Tuck and Alan-a-Dale locks him up in a barrel of ale.

So Robin competes and of course, wins.

Robin wins, but Prince John unmasks him and is about to execute him when he has a sudden change of heart. He wants to let Robin go.

Say What

It turns out that Little John is holding him at knifepoint, only to be caught by the Sheriff. What follows is craziness, chaos, and comedy. 🙂

 So the group hurries off to the forest where they have a great time making fun of Prince John.

Robin and Marian also fall in love again.

pierce–soul–Persuasion

But while that is going good, back in the castle trouble is brewing. Prince John is angry. He decides he is going to heavily tax the people, taking everything. When he takes the poor box from the church, Friar Tuck becomes so enraged that he starts fighting the sheriff.

Them's fighting words!

Them’s fighting words!

The Sheriff arrests him and they decide to hang Friar Tuck to capture Robin Hood. I don’t know why but my sis and I would randomly say this all the time in his accent. “Hang Friar Tuck?”

Anyways, so this is when we get spend some time with Sheriff’s minions, Trigger and Nutsy. It’s hilarious. I love how Nutsy announces every hour and says “All’s well!”.

Robin decides that he is going to do a jailbreak and steal all the money.

 

Everyone escapes, except Robin as he went back to save a baby and missed getting out. Him and Prince John have a fight in which he manages to escape, but  causes the castle to burn. Robin leaps from a tower into the moat below, all the while being pelted by arrows. Little John and Skippy watch and think he is dead, only to see him emerge unharmed after using a reed as a breathing tube.  King Richard returns to England, placing his brother and his cohorts under arrest and allows Robin and Maid Marian to be married and leave Nottingham with Little John and Skippy in tow.

Love that movie!

For more on Robin Hood (1973), go to Snakes on a Post

For more on Disney animals, go to Wake Up Dad

For more on Disney animated films, go to The Boys are Back in Town

For more on Disney Royalty, go to And Away We Go

For more films based on books, go to I Could Kiss You

For more films in which the main characters disguise themselves, go to This Isn’t Love, This is Ecstasy

For more on Persuasion, go to A Letter of Love

For more of my favorite quotes, go to Beautifully Miserable 

 

The World’s Greatest Criminal Mind

Walt_Disney_Villains

Day 6) Your Favorite Disney Villain

My absolute favorite Disney villain is:

Ratigan2

Ratigan

The Great Mouse Detective is an animated parody of Sherlock Holmes and has mice instead of people. Instead of Sherlock Holmes, we have Basil (nod to Basil Rathbone who played Sherlock Holmes in the movies) of 221 1/2 Baker Street with his helper Dawson instead of Watson. Basil plays a violin, is a scientist, etc.

His arch-nemesis instead of being Professor Moriority is Ratigan. He is super creepy and pretty awesome for a villain. First of all, he is played by Vincent Price, one of the best horror actors/villains of all time! I love that man.

VincentPrice

In fact Vincent Price, said that doing Ratigan was his favorite role because he had two songs written for him. Both of which are AMAZING! The first song is The World’s Greatest Criminal Mind and Goodbye So Soon. They both show his strength, cunning, sadistic side, etc. My favorite song has to be  The World’s Greatest Criminal Mind.

Now when I say he’s sadistic, he is one crazy dude. He doesn’t like being referrred to as a rat, he wants to be a mouse, and if anyone fails to call him that he sics his killer cat Felicia on them.

While he is an elegant criminal, beneath that cool and charming exterior is fearal beast.

Uber creepy right?

But he’s just one of those criminals that you love to hate and while hate, can help but sort of admire his style.

For more on Sherlock Holmes, go to A Hunky Helping of Manwich

For more on Disney, go to The Cat’s Meow

For more on Vincent Price, go to the 25 Films of Christmas

For more films based on books, go to A Hidden Wonder

For more of my favorite songs, go to Out for Summer

For more on Horror films, go to I Always Feel Like Somebody’s Watching Me