Earlier this week I mentioned that I was doing some touristy things in Orlando and that I was going to try and do some slightly themed articles. While I did talk about Harry Potter I haven’t yet delved into anything specifically Disney related. Today I wanted to revisit one of my favorite Disney movies that I don’t think is as well known, The Great Mouse Detective.
I have been obsessed with Sherlock Holmes from a very young age. Even back when I was in preschool I would watch these vhs tapes of a show called Sherlock Hound, which was a dubbed anime series where all of the Sherlock characters were dogs. Besides that I would watch Sherlock Holmes and the 22nd Century during the kids’ block of shows on Fox in the afternoon. I also would read anything that had Sherlock in it. There was a YA novel focused on Shirley Holmes and I would read the edited kid editions of Sherlock stories. When I came across The Great Mouse Detective movie I was so excited. I honestly don’t remember the first time I watched it, but I did have it on vhs and eventually I was able to get a copy on dvd.
If you haven’t watched this particular movie, The Great Mouse Detective is based on the book series Basil of Baker Street. The movie is set in Victorian London and introduces us to the characters with the voiceover of a Watson style mouse named Dr. Dawson. He is almost identical to the human Dr. Watson and when he arrives in the city after years away he finds a young girl mouse whose father has been taken. The movie actually opens with the little girl watching her father being taken by a frightening bat. The young girl is looking for Basil of Baker Street, a well-known mouse detective who she thinks is the only one who can find her father. The two find Baker Street and Basil is introduced in a way that involves not only a costume, but a destroyed throw pillow and flying feathers. He has no interest in the young girl’s case, until she reveals a bat was involved. It turns out that his arch nemesis, Rattigan, has a bat as his primary henchman and this case immediately takes his full attention. The rest of the movie follows the mice through London into seedy locations and at one point Sherlock’s own study on the journey to find the missing father.
The Great Mouse Detective actually has images of drinking, smoking, and even a burlesque dancing mouse, which seems a bit shocking for a Disney movie. Rattigan is also voiced by Vincent Price and he is exceptionally creepy. He literally kills one of his own henchmen for not following the right lyrics for his celebration song, he refuses to acknowledge he’s a rat. Another wonderful little element is that the voices of Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce appear in the movie in a small scene where Basil and the other mice overhear them. If you’re a fan of Sherlock Holmes and have never seen this movie you need to find it immediately because it is so perfect.
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