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The Thief and the Cobbler

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How’s this for an unhappy ending: Oscar-winning animator Richard Williams (Who Framed Roger Rabbit) labored for more than two decades on The Thief and the Cobbler, a Baghdad fairy tale, before creditors seized it in 1992. After a creative team patched together a full-length film by weaving new scenes into the existing work, yet another party — Disney-owned Miramax — retitled the flick Arabian Knight and whisked it in and out of theaters faster than you can say ”Close sesame.” But now that it’s on video, if you have even a passing interest in animation, don’t miss the chance to see Williams’ original footage, a triumph of M.C. Escher-meets-Yellow Submarine style — even though it’s badly cropped on tape. Just beware some of the new additions. It’s best to fast-forward, for instance, when Princess Yum Yum delivers two wretched songs and to press mute whenever Jonathan Winters ad-libs as the thief, a character whose mouth never moves.