BluRay/DVD Reviews

THE GREAT MOUSE DETECTIVE

By • Apr 22nd, 2010 •

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THE GREAT MOUSE DETECTIVE has been promoted as the “Mystery in the Mist” edition. I was confused. Was it a sequel? A director’s cut? Unclear. The answer is: it’s the original with a bit of creative promotion folded into the mix.

This was an animated feature with a third act that the studio was very proud of, mixing new forms with old. And the ending, with the villain and the protagonist meeting in a vast clock mechanism, is breath-taking. The rest…less so. It feels like a ‘tweener – a small production made between larger ones.

A rodent spin-off on the Sherlock Holmes stories, I never felt involved with Barrie Ingham as Basil (homage to immortal Holmes characterization by Basil Rathbone?) of Baker Street. But then there was Vincent Price as the villain, Professor Ratigan, and around his hammy, mellifluous delivery the animators had a fiend day. He does a great song, and just generally chews up the scenery. He’s like Rod Steiger in DOCTOR ZHIVAGO. He may be the villain, but you’re grateful when he’s on screen. It really belongs on the short list of Price’s best work, including DR. PHIBES RISES AGAIN, MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH and TOMB OF LIGEIA, WITCHFINDER GENERAL, TALES OF TERROR, HIS KIND OF WOMAN, LAURA, THE INVISIBLE MAN RETURNS, and a few others. Not to mention his voice over on Michael Jackson’s THRILLER.

Of the supplementals, the ‘Making Of’ doc is informative, but also important and nostalgic in that it has footage of Price discussing his role.

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