Nearly 30 years in the making, The Thief and the Cobbler is a work of genius hampered by the ambition of its maker, Richard Williams. After wide recognition for his work on Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, The Thief and the Cobbler was supposed to be Williams’ animated magnum opus. Unfortunately, things didn’t turn out as planned. The unmaking of The Thief and the Cobbler was chronicled in Kevin Schreck’s excellent documentary Persistence of Vision, which is a heartbreaking and fascinating watch.
For those in the New York City area who would like to see The Thief and the Cobbler in its close-to-proper form, you can do so at the Museum of Modern Art from September 22-27. MoMA will be screening a work print of the film, which has been preserved and restored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). MoMA will also screen Williams’ 2010 animated short Circus Drawings.
Williams will be in attendance to introduce The Thief and the Cobbler at the Friday, September 23rd screening. Williams will also have a career-spanning discussion with animation historian John Canemaker at MoMA on Saturday, September 24th.