Disney had just emerged from a dark period when “Oliver and Company” was released. After Walt Disney’s passing, the studio has struggled, as “Waking Sleeping Beauty” documents. The release of new animated films diminished to a rare occurrence, and those that did arrive rarely fared well at the box office.
Michael Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg were brought in as the studio’s new leaders in an effort to turn things around. After the failure of their pilot, “The Black Cauldron,” they thought things could only get worse. Then things started looking up with “The Great Mouse Detective,” so it was only logical for Disney to adapt another piece of classic literature from the 19th century with animals as the main characters.
For the most part, though, we all saw “Oliver! and Company” when we were young and didn’t give a hoot about the play’s literary or historical context. Undoubtedly, there are many other things that we failed to see.
Surprising Things That Went Unnoticed In Oliver And Company
Not only does “Oliver and Company” feature Billy Joel and Bette Midler, but it also has a number of other famous singers. Huey Louis and the News, best known for their singles “The Power of Love,” “Hip to Be Square,” and “Stuck With You,” provide the film’s opening theme song, “Once Upon a Time in New York City.”
At least as much was accomplished by the Ponter Singers’ Ruth Pointer before she dubbed Rita’s singing voice for “Streets of Gold.”
On the side of composition, there was no shortage of A-listers. With the success of “Little Shop of Horrors” on Broadway under his belt, Howard Ashman co-wrote “Once Upon a Time in New York City,” and he would go on to pen the timeless lyrics for Disney’s “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast,” and “Aladdin.”
Popular New York attractions
Disney World is more than just an amusement park; it’s also a fitting metaphor for the fictional world in which the majority of Disney’s films are set: a mystical dreamscape indistinguishable from our own, where tragedy may strike but where the people and the landscape are always pristine and beautiful.
“Oliver and Company” is an outlier in that it places its story amid a remarkably accurate depiction of New York City in the late 1980s. The film’s opening shot, an aerial panorama of Manhattan, immediately sets the tone.
Other than those few scenes, the rest of the film is comprised of establishing shots of famous locations that children who are not from the area are likely to overlook. The “camera” then zooms in for a closer look at the city, focusing in on Times Square, which is featured prominently on the opening credit card. Central Park is prominently shown in a later establishing shot.
Uneven Size Between Oliver and Tito
This is notably noticeable in the main character’s clumsy scaling, which shows that Disney was still a long way from its glory days when “Oliver and Company” was made. In fact, it all kicks off right away, as Oliver and his litter of unwanted kittens are shown to the public in a cardboard box while still too young to be picked up by anybody except the most patient of passers-by.
Then, when he becomes soaked and decides to take matters into his own paws and look for a new place to call home, he suddenly towers over the human characters when he sits on his hind legs. In fact, his growth spurt isn’t even through yet, and he’ll soon come face to face with a youngster of similar stature.
Jenny has a lot of affection for her dogs, but, to quote Shakespeare in a way that would make Francis happy, she loves them “not wisely, but too well.” When consumed in sufficient quantities, chocolate can be fatally toxic to both cats and dogs, causing tremors, cardiac arrhythmia, vomiting, and diarrhoea.
It’s unclear whether the writers were aware of this or whether Jenny was as well. Jenny throws an extravagant lunch for Oliver, complete with a pile of Cocoa Krispies cereal, to commemorate his adoption. There’s a good chance that this will make Oliver sick due to his small size.
When it comes to Georgette, there is no room for doubt. After the strays had already invaded her room, she is shown relaxing on the couch with an empty box of chocolates. We all know what would happen if Forrest Gump’s mother gave Georgette a box of chocolates, despite what the movie implied, and it’s not pretty.
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Animation Created on Early Computers
Since “Oliver and Company” was released more than 30 years ago, CGI animation has become the standard. However, development of this technology had just begun in 1988.
Even though the graphics in “The Great Mouse Detective” were so rudimentary that they had to be traced and filled in by hand, the film was acclaimed for its innovative computer-assisted climax. Pixar had just had its first major hit with the short film “Tin Toy.”
When one CG sequence in “Detective” made waves, “Oliver and Company” has several. A mature viewer will observe, even without any prior knowledge of the production, that certain scenes have a more pronounced sense of depth than others, especially when it comes to the more difficult-to-draw elements such as vehicles and structures.
In particular, Syke’s automobile is a throwback to the “Money for Nothing” era’s spiky, blocky CGI design.