The Fox and the Hound (1981)

Genres - Children's/Family  |   Sub-Genres - Animated Musical, Family-Oriented Adventure  |   Run Time - 85 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - G
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Review by Craig Butler

Produced during an acknowledged "slump" period after Walt Disney's death, The Fox and the Hound is a warm and amusing, if slightly dull, entry in the Disney animated canon. The story is conventional and generally predictable; in other hands, it would have been a fine framework for a cartoon, but here the characters are undistinguished and the dialogue is exactly what is expected, no more. Pacing is also problematic, with several portions of the film sluggish. These are balanced, however, by some very good moments: the sorrowful segment when Tod is taken to the game reserve, the climactic bear fight, and the final bittersweet parting. The animation in the bear sequence in particular is good, as is the extraneous (and unfortunately not very funny) running gag involving a caterpillar. Buddy Baker's score is exceptionally weak, but the invaluable Pearl Bailey still manages to make her numbers into rousers. Mickey Rooney and Kurt Russell also turn in fine vocal performances, as do Sandy Duncan and Jack Albertson in smaller roles. Two of the directors, Richard Rich and Ted Berman, would next direct The Black Cauldron, a less successful but more ambitious project.