THE FOX AND THE HOUND
***½/**** Image C- Sound B Extras C
uncredited screenplay, based on the novel by Daniel P. Mannix
directed by Art Stevens, Ted Berman, Richard Rich
THE LITTLE MERMAID
*½/**** Image B- Sound C Extras A
written and directed by John Musker and Ron Clements
by Bill Chambers SPOILER WARNING IN EFFECT. With The Fox and the Hound and The Little Mermaid bookending an especially turbulent decade for a studio mortally locked in a struggle to reconcile its animation pedigree with its crass commercial instincts, the former has come to be regarded in the Disney mythology as the Good Friday to the latter's Easter Sunday. It's therefore fitting that the two films they most emulate are 1942's Bambi and 1950's Cinderella, respectively, as the Forties marked the last time the Mouse House was on the brink of foreclosure. (The Fox and the Hound goes so far as to recycle cels from Bambi.) Much like The Little Mermaid represented a somewhat cynical reboot of the fairytale default, so, too, was Cinderella a glorified salvage operation following the money-/audience-hemorrhaging pro bono work Uncle Walt did on behalf of FDR's Good Neighbor policy. Alas, the Good Friday and Easter Sunday analogy applies to not just Disney's phoenix-like resurrection but also the tonal and moral disparity between the two pictures: one is the sad truth; the other is wishful thinking.