Oliver & Company

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Oliver & Company
File:Oliver poster.jpg
Oreeginal theatrical release poster
Directit bi George Scribner
Screenplay bi
Story bi
Based on Oliver Twist 
bi Charles Dickens
Muisic bi J.A.C. Redford
Distributit bi Buena Vista Pictures Distribution
Release date
  • 18 November 1988 (1988-11-18)
Runnin time
73 meenits
Kintra Unitit States
Leid Inglis
Budget $31 million[1]
Box office $74.2 million[2]

Oliver & Company is a 1988 American animatit muisical comedy-drama film produced bi Walt Disney Feature Animation an released on November 18, 1988 bi Walt Disney Pictures. The 27t Disney animatit featur film, the film is inspired bi the classic Charles Dickens novelle Oliver Twist, which haes been adaptit mony ither times for the screen. In the film, Oliver is a homeless kitten wha jyns a gang o dugs tae survive in the streets. Amang ither chynges, the settin o the film wis relocated frae 19t century Lunnon tae late 1980s New York Ceety, Fagin's gang is made up o dugs (ane o which is Dodger), an Sykes is a loan shark.

Oliver & Company began production aroond 1987 as Oliver and the Dodger. The film wis re-released in the Unitit States, Canadae, an the UK on Mairch 29, 1996. It wis then released tae video later that same year, an again in 2002 an 2009 on DVD. The film wis released on Blu-ray Disc in 2013, commemoratin its 25t Anniversary.

Plot[eedit | eedit soorce]

On Fifth Avenue, an orphaned kitten named Oliver is left abandoned efter his fellae orphaned kittens are adoptit bi passersby. Wandering the streets bi himself in search o someone tae adopt him, Oliver meets a laid-back dog named Dodger who assists the kitten in stealin fuid frae a hot dog vendor named Louie. Dodger then flees the scene wioot sharin his bounty wi Oliver. Oliver follows Dodger aw throughout the streets until he eventually arrives at the barge o his ainer, a pickpocket named Fagin, alang wi his meal, tae gie tae his friends: Tito the chihuahua, Einstein the Great Dane, Rita the Afghan Hound, an Francis the bulldog. Oliver sneaks inside, locatit ablo the docks, an is discovered bi the dogs. Efter a moment o confusion, he is then received wi a warm welcome. Fagin comes in an explains that he is running oot o time tae repay the money he borrowed frae Bill Sykes, a nefarious shipyard agent an loan shark. Sykes tells Fagin it must be paid in three days, or else. Sykes' dobermans, Roscoe an DeSoto, attack Oliver but the cat is defended bi Fagin's dogs. Immediately thereafter, a depressed Fagin returns tae the barge, lamenting that he anly haes three days tae find the money. Efter the dogs cheer him up, Fagin is introduced tae Oliver, an, considering that thay aw need help, accepts him intae the gang.

The next day, Fagin an his pets, nou includin Oliver, hit the streets tae sell some shoddy goods an perhaps steal money. Oliver an Tito attempt tae sabotage a limousine but the plan backfires when Oliver accidentally starts the car, electrocuting Tito, an Oliver is caught an taken home bi the limousine's passenger, Jenny Foxworth. Her parents are away on a trip an she adopts Oliver oot o loneliness. Georgette, the Foxworth faimily's pompous an pampered poodle, is enraged an jealous o Oliver's presence an wants him removed frae the household. Dodger an the others manage tae steal Oliver frae the Foxworth faimily an bring him back tae the barge, but he explains that he wis treatit kindly an did nae want tae leave, much tae the shock o Dodger who feels that Oliver is bein ungrateful, an allows him the opportunity tae leave. Houiver, Fagin arrives an concocts a plan tae ransom Oliver, then sends Jenny a ransom note. Jenny discovers the note an sets oot tae get him back. Meanwhile, Fagin tells Sykes o his plan, who says he is proud o him for "starting to think big".

Later, Jenny meets up wi Fagin, who is shocked that the "very rich cat owner person" is anly a little girl. Bothered bi his conscience efter seein Jenny distraught ower losin Oliver, Fagin gives Oliver back freely. Juist then, Sykes comes oot o the shadows an kidnaps Jenny, intending tae ransom her an declaring Fagin's debt paid.

Dodger rallies Oliver an the ither dogs tae rescue Jenny frae Sykes, but the ainimals are confronted bi Sykes an his Dobermans efter thay free her. Fagin arrives an saves the group wi his scooter an a chase ensues throughout the streets an intae the subway tunnels. Jenny is pushed onto the huid o Sykes's car efter it bumped onto the scooter, whaur she holds onto the huid ornament, an Oliver an Dodger attempt a rescue. Roscoe an DeSoto faw off the car in the struggle an land on the subway's third rail, electrocuting them. Tito takes control o Fagin's scooter as Fagin manages tae retrieve Jenny, an Tito drives the scooter up the side o the Brooklyn Bridge as Sykes' car drives straucht intae the path o an oncoming train, killin him an throwing him an his car intae the East River. Dodger an Oliver manage tae avoid the collision an are reunited wi Jenny an the others. Later, Jenny celebrates her birthday wi the ainimals, Fagin, an Winston. That same day, Winston receives a phone caw frae Jenny's parents in Rome saying that thay will be back tomorrow. Oliver opts tae stay wi her but he promises tae remain in contact wi Dodger an the gang.

Cast an chairacters[eedit | eedit soorce]

  • Joey Lawrence as Oliver, an orange orphaned kitten wha is lookin for a home. He jyns Fagin's gang o dogs afore bein taken in by Jenny. He an aa saves her life frae the ruthless loan-shark, Sykes.
  • Billy Joel as Dodger, a carefree, charismatic mongrel wi a mix o terrier in him. He claims tae hae considerable "street savoir-faire". He is the leader o Fagin's gang of dogs, an is Oliver's first acquaintance, as well as his eventual best friend an bodyguard. He is the object o Rita's affection.
  • Cheech Marin as Tito, a tiny yet passionate Chihuahua in Fagin's gang. He haes a fiery temper for his size, an rapidly develops a crush on Georgette (although she is initially repulsed bi him). His full name is Ignacio Alonso Julio Federico de Tito.
  • Richard Mulligan as Einstein, a gray Great Dane an a member o Fagin's gang. He is named ironically as he is nae particularly bright, representin the stereotype that Great Danes are friendly but dull-witted.
  • Roscoe Lee Browne as Francis, a bulldog wi a Breetish accent in Fagin's gang. He appreciates art an theatre, parteecularly Shakespeare. He also detests anyone abbreviating his name as "Frank" or "Frankie" (which Tito frequently does).
  • Sheryl Lee Ralph (Ruth Pointer, singin) as Rita, an Afghan Hound[3] an the anly female dog in Fagin's gang. She is street-wise an takes Oliver under her wing.
  • Dom DeLuise as Fagin, a lowly thief who lifes on a barge wi his dogs. He desperately needs money tae repay his debt with Sykes. Because o his economic situation, he is forced tae perform criminal acts such as pick-pocketing an petty theft, but in truth he is good-natured an polite maist o the time.
  • Taurean Blacque an Carl Weintraub as Roscoe an DeSoto respectively, Sykes's vicious Doberman Pinschers who hae a hostile history wi Dodger an his friends. Roscoe is the apparent leader, while his brother DeSoto seems tae be the more savage o the twa. Baith o them are killed in the climax killed in the climax efter fallin onto the electric rail tracks while fighting wi Dodger an Oliver. Roscoe wears a red collar an DeSoto wears one that is blue.
  • Robert Loggia as Sykes, a cauld-hearted, immoral loan-shark an shipyard agent who lent a considerable sum o money to Fagin an expects it paid back. He is ultimately defeated at the film's climax when he indirectly drives his car intae a train an gets killed in the process.
  • Natalie Gregory (Myhanh Tran, singin) as Jennifer "Jenny" Foxworth, a kynd-hearted, rich girl who adopts Oliver.
  • William Glover as Winston, the Foxworth faimily's bumbling but loyal butler.
  • Bette Midler as Georgette, the Foxworth faimily's shaw-winnin poodle. Vain an spoiled, she acomes jealous o Oliver but eventually accepts him an Fagin's gang. When Tito displays his attraction tae her, she initially responds wi revulsion. At the end, houiver, she displays considerable attraction tae Tito, so much, in fact that she sends him runnin for his life when she tries tae bathe, dress an groom him.
  • Frank Welker as Old Louie, an aggressive, bad-tempered hot dog vendor who appears early in the film when Oliver an Dodger steal his hot dogs. He is described bi Dodger as "a well-known enemy of the four-legged world", meanin that he hates baith cats an dogs.

Production[eedit | eedit soorce]

After the release of The Black Cauldron in 1985, Michael Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg invited the animators to pitch potential ideas for upcoming animated features, infamously called the "Gong Show". After Ron Clements and John Musker suggested The Little Mermaid and Treasure Island in Space, animator Pete Young suggested, "Oliver Twist with dogs". Originally intending to produce a live-action adaptation of the musical Oliver! at Paramount Pictures, Katzenberg approved the pitch.[4] Under the working title of Oliver and the Dodger,[5][6] the film was originally much darker and grittier with the film opening with Sykes's two Dobermans murdering Oliver's parents, setting the story to focus on Oliver exacting his revenge as detailed in a draft dated on March 30, 1987.[7] George Scribner and Richard Rich were announced as the directors of the project, while Pete Young was appointed as story supervisor,[8] though Rich left about six months into production, leaving Scribner as the sole director.[9] In this adaptation, Scribner turned Oliver into a naïve kitten, Dodger and the gang into dogs, and Fagin into a human, and encouraged the film to be more street smart.[7] Furthermore, Scribner borrowed a technique from Lady and the Tramp by blocking out the scenes on real streets, and then photographing them with cameras mounted eighteen inches off the ground. In this way, the animators would use the photos as templates to provide a real dog's-eye view of the action.[10] As work continued on Oliver, Roy E. Disney came up with an idea that Fagin would attempt to steal a rare panda from the city zoo. However, the writers would have problems with the idea,[5] and the panda sub-plot was eventually dropped when Scribner suggested to have Fagin hold Oliver for ransom because he was a valuable, rare Asian cat.[11][12]

For the film, Disney invested $15 million into a long-term computer system called Computer Animation Production System, otherwise known as CAPS. Unlike The Black Cauldron and The Great Mouse Detective which used computer imagery for special sequences, eleven minutes of Oliver & Company were computer-generated such as the skyscrapers, the taxi cabs, trains, Fagin's scooter-cart, and the climactic subway chase.[13] Meanwhile, the traditional animation was handled by the next generation of Disney animators, including supervising animators Glen Keane, Ruben A. Aquino, Mike Gabriel, Hendel Butoy, and Mark Henn as the "Nine Old Men" had retired in the early 1980s.[13] Throughout two and a half years of production, six supervising animators and a team of over 300 artists and technicians worked on the film.[14] Skidmore, Owings & Merrill was the database for the New York City skyline.

Casting[eedit | eedit soorce]

Because personalities are considered the greatest strength of Disney animated films, the filmmakers sought believable voices to match the movement of the animation.[13] For this film, the filmmakers cast fellow New York natives including Bette Midler for Georgette, Sheryl Lee Ralph for Rita, and Roscoe Lee Browne for Francis.[13] Comedian Cheech Marin was cast as the chihuahua Tito. Because energy proved to be the key to Tito's personality, Marin claimed "I was encouraged to ad-lib, but I'd say I just gave about 75% of the lines as they were written. The natural energy of a Chihuahua played right into that feeling. George [Scribner] was very encouraging as a director: He kept the energy level high at the recording sessions."[15] Pop singer Billy Joel was recommended for the voice of Dodger by Scribner because of his "New York street-smart, savoir-faire attitude", and auditioned for the role by telephone after being given dialogue. Additionally, Joel confirmed he did the role because it was a Disney movie, and admitted that "I had just had a little girl. It's a great way to do something that my little girl could see that she could relate to right away."[16]

Music[eedit | eedit soorce]

Oliver & Company
CD cover for the 1996 re-release of the Oliver & Company soundtrack (an alternative cover was used in the United Kingdom).
Soondtrack album by Various artists
Released 1988
Genre Pop rock, blues rock
Label Walt Disney

The soundtrack of Oliver & Company contains an instrumental score by J. A. C. Redford under the supervision of Carole Childs, while Jeffrey Katzenberg had the idea to bring in big-name singer/songwriters, each of whom would contribute a song into the film including Billy Joel, Barry Manilow, and Huey Lewis. At his suggestion of his friend David Geffen, Katzenberg brought in lyricist Howard Ashman, who composed the song "Once Upon a Time in New York City".[17] Musical composer J.A.C. Redford was brought to compose the score who had a working relationship with Disney music executive Chris Montan on the series St. Elsewhere.[18] Ashman, who, with Alan Menken, would write the songs for the next three Disney films. Billy Joel, in addition to voicing Dodger, performed the character's song in the film.

The track list below represents the 1996 re-release of the Oliver & Company soundtrack. The original 1988 release featured the same songs, but with the instrumental cues placed in between the songs in the order in which they appeared in the film. Using the numbering system in the list below, the order the tracks on the 1988 release would be: 1, 2, 6, 7, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, and 11. The reprise of "Why Should I Worry?", performed by the entire cast, remains unreleased on CD.

Track listing
  1. "Once Upon a Time in New York City" - Huey Lewis; written by Barry Mann and Howard Ashman
  2. "Why Should I Worry?" - Billy Joel; written by Dan Hartman and Charlie Midnight
  3. "Streets of Gold" - Ruth Pointer ; written by Dean Pitchford and Tom Snow
  4. "Perfect Isn't Easy" - Bette Midler ; written by Barry Manilow, Jack Feldman, and Bruce Sussman
  5. "Good Company" - Myhanh Tran ; written by Ron Rocha and Robert Minkoff
  6. "Sykes" (score)
  7. "Bedtime Story" (score)
  8. "The Rescue" (score)
  9. "Pursuit Through the Subway" (score)
  10. "Buscando Guayaba" - Rubén Blades
  11. "End Title" (instrumental)

Release[eedit | eedit soorce]

Marketing[eedit | eedit soorce]

Oliver & Company was the first Disney animated film to include real world advertised products. More than 30 company logos and brand names were shown in the film, including Kodak, Dr. Scholls, Sony, Diet Coke, Tab, McDonald's, Yamaha, Ryder, and USA Today.[19] However, the filmmakers commented on ABC's The Wonderful World of Disney that this was for realism, was not paid product placement, and that it would not be New York City without advertising.[20] Instead, Katzenberg urged the marketing campaign to focus on the classic Dickens novel and the pop score,[17] and promotional tie-ins included Sears, which produced and manufactured products with themes inspired from the film, and McDonald's which sold Christmas musical ornaments based on Oliver and Dodger, and small finger puppets based on the characters in a Happy Meal.[20][21] For its theatrical re-release in 1996, the film was accompanied with a promotional campaign by Burger King.[22]

In the United Kingdom, Oliver & Company was not distributed by Buena Vista International, but by Warner Bros.[23] Buena Vista International did however release the film on home video.

Home media[eedit | eedit soorce]

Despite its financial success at the box office, Oliver & Company was not released on home video despite being one of the most requested Disney films.[24] After its theatrical re-release, Oliver & Company was released on VHS on September 25, 1996 for a limited time.[25] It was later released on DVD on May 14, 2002. A 20th Anniversary Edition DVD was released on February 3, 2009, and a 25th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray was released on August 6, 2013.[26]

Reception[eedit | eedit soorce]

Box office[eedit | eedit soorce]

Opening on the same weekend as Don Bluth's The Land Before Time, which debuted at number-one grossing $7.5 million, beating out Oliver & Company which opened at fourth, grossing $4 million.[27] Nevertheless, Oliver & Company out-grossed The Land Before Time with domestic gross estimates of $53 million compared to $46 million of the latter.[28] Its success prompted Disney's senior vice-president of animation, Peter Schneider, to announce the company's plans to release animated features annually.[5] On March 29, 1996, Disney re-released the film in direct competition with All Dogs Go to Heaven 2,[29] grossing $4.5 million in its opening weekend.[30] In its total box office lifetime, Oliver & Company made a total domestic gross of $74 million at the U.S. box office.[31]

Critical reception[eedit | eedit soorce]

Despite its success at the box office, Oliver & Company was met with mixed reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes reported that 44% of critics gave the film positive reviews based on 36 reviews with an average rating of 5.4/10. Its consensus states that "Oliver & Company is a decidedly lesser effort in the Disney canon, with lackluster songs, stiff animation, and a thoroughly predictable plot."[32]

On the television program, Siskel & Ebert, Gene Siskel gave the film a thumbs down. Siskel stated: "When you measure this film to the company's legacy of classics, it doesn't match up" as he complained "the story is too fragmented…because Oliver’s story gets too sidetracked from the story in the film that gets convoluted, too calculated for the Bette Midler, Billy Joel crowd as well as little kids." Roger Ebert gave the film a "marginal thumbs up" as he described the film as "harmless, inoffensive".[33] Animation historian Charles Solomon wrote a favorable reviewing concluding that the film "offers virtually ideal family holiday fare. The cartoon action will delight young children, while older ones, who usually reject animation as "kid stuff," will enjoy the rock songs and hip characters, especially the brash Tito."[34] Writing for People, Peter Travers opined in his review, "Too slight to rank with such Disney groundbreakers as Pinocchio and Fantasia, the film is more on the good-fun level of The Lady and the Tramp and 101 Dalmatians. But why kick? With its captivating characters, sprightly songs and zap-happy animation, Oliver & Company adds up to a tip-top frolic."[35] Desson Howe of The Washington Post noted that the film "retrieves some of the old Disney charm with tail-wagging energy and five catchy songs". Likewise, fellow Washington Post film critic Rita Kempley praised the songs and animation, and called it "happy adaptation of the Victorian classic."[36]

Barry Walters, reviewing for The San Francisco Examiner, panned the film "as a rather shabby transitional work, one that lacks the sophistication of today's 'toons and doesn't hold up to the Disney classics of yesteryear."[37] The staff of Halliwell's Film Guide called Oliver & Company "episodic" and "short on charm". "Only now and then", they added, "it provides glimpses of stylish animation".[23] The Ren & Stimpy Show creator John Kricfalusi suggested that the film was derivative of Ralph Bakshi's works, and jokingly suggested its use as a form of punishment.[38] Likewise, even some of the Disney animators viewed the film unfavorably considering it "another talking dog-and-cat movie".[39]

Accolades[eedit | eedit soorce]

References[eedit | eedit soorce]

  1. "Oliver & Company (1988)". The Wrap. Retrieved Dizember 14, 2016.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  2. "Oliver & Company". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved Januar 5, 2012.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  3. "Oliver & Company - Washington Post". Washington Post. November 18, 1988. Retrieved Januar 31, 2016.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  4. Stewart 2005, pp. 93–94.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Beck 2005, pp. 182-83.
  6. Willistein, Paul (November 22, 1987). "Disney Gearing Up For More Animation". The Morning Call. Retrieved Julie 10, 2015. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 Koeing 2001, p. 192.
  8. Hulett 2014, p. 90.
  9. George Scribner (Februar 3, 2009). "Once Upon A Time In New York City: Oliver & Company's Director George Scribner!" (Interview). Interview wi Jérémie Noyer. Animated Views. Retrieved Julie 10, 2015. 
  10. Strickler, Jeff (Aprile 21, 1996). "`Oliver' gets a dog's eye view, in a Twist on the classic story" (Fee required). Star Tribune. Retrieved Julie 10, 2015 – via HighBeam Research. 
  11. Koeing 2001, p. 193.
  12. Hulett 2014, p. 96.
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Culhane, John (November 13, 1988). "'Oliver & Company' Gives Dickens A Disney Twist urban scene from an appropriate rooftop". The New York Times. Retrieved Julie 8, 2015. 
  14. "Disney Archives – Oliver and Company". Disney.go.com. Archived frae the oreeginal on Julie 27, 2008. Retrieved Julie 10, 2015. 
  15. Solomon, Charles (December 27, 1988). "Cheech Marin as Animated Tito: Check It Out". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved Julie 8, 2015. 
  16. Willistein, Paul (November 19, 1988). "A New York State Of Voice In Animated Film Billy Joel Speaks For Dodger The Dog". TheMorning Call. Retrieved Julie 8, 2015. 
  17. 17.0 17.1 Stewart 2005, pp. 182–83.
  18. J.A.C Redford (Februar 2, 2009). "Once Upon A Time In New York City: Oliver & Company's Composer J.A.C. Redford!" (Interview). Interview wi Jérémie Noyer. Animated Views. Retrieved Julie 10, 2015. 
  19. Solomon, Charles (November 18, 1988). "Can You Imagine Mickey Mouse Turning 60?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved Julie 10, 2015. 
  20. 20.0 20.1 "The Making of Oliver & Company". The Wonderful World of Disney. ABC. 
  21. Fabrikant, Geraldine (November 28, 1988). "Advertising; Marketing Movies for Children". The New York Times. Retrieved Julie 10, 2015. 
  22. Elliot, Samuel (November 22, 1995). "Coca-Cola, Pepsico and Burger King sign on with Disney for a happy ending with 'Toy Story' tie-ins". Retrieved Julie 10, 2015. 
  23. 23.0 23.1 Gritten, David, ed. (2007). "Oliver and Company (*)". Halliwell's Film Guide 2008. Hammersmith, London: HarperCollins Publishers. p. 871. ISBN 0-00-726080-6. 
  24. Hicks, Chris (Mairch 29, 1996). "'Oliver' just as delightful 2nd time around". Deseret News. p. W4. Retrieved Januar 17, 2012. 
  25. Snow, Shauna (Aprile 24, 1996). "Arts and entertainment reports from The Times, national and international news services and the nation's press". Retrieved Julie 10, 2015. 
  26. Garbarini, Todd. "REVIEW: DISNEY'S "OLIVER AND COMPANY". Cinema Retro. 
  27. Easton, Nina (November 22, 1988). "Kitten Takes On Baby Brontosaurus". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved Julie 10, 2015. 
  28. Solomon, Charles (August 19, 1990). "The New Toon Boom". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved Julie 10, 2015. 
  29. Bates, James; Apodaca, Patrice (Juin 20, 1996). "Stalking the King of Animation". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved Julie 10, 2015. 
  30. Dutka, Elaine (Aprile 2, 1996). "The Cash Registers Are Ringing". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved Julie 10, 2015. 
  31. "Re-releases of Oliver & Company". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 25, 2008. 
  32. "Oliver & Company - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved Julie 10, 2015. 
  33. "The Land Before Time, Oliver and Company, Child's Play (1988)". siskelandebert.org. Retrieved Julie 10, 2015. 
  34. Solomon, Charles (November 18, 1988). "Dogs, Dinosaurs from Disney, Bluth : 'Oliver & Company'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved Julie 10, 2015. 
  35. Travers, Peter (November 21, 1988). "Picks and Pans Review: Oliver & Company". People. Retrieved Julie 10, 2015. 
  36. Howe, Desson; Kempley, Rita (November 18, 1988). "Oliver & Company". The Washington Post. Retrieved Julie 10, 2015. 
  37. Walters, Barry (Mairch 30, 1996). "Bones to pick with dog movies, old and new". San Francisco Examiner. San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved Julie 10, 2015. 
  38. Kricfalusi, John (1994). "Mike Judge Interview". Wild Cartoon Kingdom (3). Retrieved Mairch 20, 2009. 
  39. Thomas, Bob (Mairch 7, 1997). Disney's Art of Animation: From Mickey Mouse To Hercules. Disney Editions. p. 117. ISBN 978-0786862412. 

Bibliography[eedit | eedit soorce]

Freemit airtins[eedit | eedit soorce]

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