1986’s The Great Mouse Detective was the 26th Disney animated feature film, released in the US on 2 July, while the UK got it on 10 October and it was a Boxing Day treat Down Under. Based on the children’s book series Basil of Baker Street by Eve Titus, the great big adventure finds the eponymous heroic mouse (voiced by Barry Ingham) attempting to rescue a beloved toymaker from the clutches of his arch-nemesis, Professor Ratigan (Vincent Price), who is plotting to seize control of all Mousedom.
Critically-acclaimed and a big box-office winner, the film noir-inspired animation – which pays homage to Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Final Problem in the gripping Big Ben climax – saved Disney’s animation department from being scrapped after 1985’s The Black Cauldron flopped. It also paved the way to a Disney Renaissance that would produce big favourites like The Little Mermaid and Aladdin (which was greatly informed by Richard Williams’ unfinished The Thief and the Cobbler).
‘You know what happens when someone upsets me?’
Vincent Price gives what must be his finest vocal performance as the cape-swirling villain, Professor Rattigan (whose ultimate design was informed by Price’s performance in 1950’s Champagne for Caesar), and gets to sing two original songs written by the legendary Henry Mancini: The World’s Greatest Criminal Mind and Goodbye So Soon. Listen to them below.
DID YOU KNOW?
The voice of Basil Rathbone (Vincent co-star from Tower of London, Comedy of Terrors and Tales of Terror) also features as Sherlock Holmes (taken from the 1966 Caedmon Records recording The Adventure of the Red-Headed League).
LISTEN TO: THE WORLD’S GREATEST CRIMINAL MIND
LISTEN TO: GOODBYE SO SOON