The Great Mouse Detective is a 1986 Disney animated theatrical feature film.
Recently returned from Afghanistan, the bumbling Doctor Dawson, looking forward to rebuilding a quiet life for himself in London, meets Olivia Flaversham, a young girl mouse who claims her father has been abducted by a peg-legged bat. The desperate child convinces Dawson to take her to the home of Basil of Baker Street, who, she knows from newspapers, is very good at finding abducted people. Basil is initially reluctant to take the case, until he finds out that the abducting of Mr Flaversham, who was a talented toymaker, is part of a bigger plan to take over the Mousedom, all cooked up by Basil's very own archnemesis, the nefarious Ratigan…
The Great Mouse Detective was adapted from a series of book by Eve Titus, titled Basil of Baker Street (a name the movie was also supposed to bear, although the executives decided against it for marketing reasons, much to the directors' displeasure). However, the movie does not specifically adapt any of the books, rather taking various ideas and characters from them and plunging them into a new plot.
Adapting the series as an animated feature was first suggested by Joe Hale in the 1970's, but it was put on hold because a detective story involving mice would be too similar, in the present, to Disney's most recent animated feature The Rescuers, which, although it was contemporary and involved humans much more regularly than Basil, did share a strikingly similar premise on paper.
The project was revived around 1983, when The Black Cauldron was in production. A small team of animators, led by future directors Ron Clements and John Musker, foresaw that The Black Cauldron would be a box office failure, and decided to get working on an alternative project, hopefully to salvage the Disney brand. Reportedly, a whole storyboard was created without the producer's consent; it was then shown to said producer, Ron Miller, who green-lit the project and appointed Clements and Musker directors. Interestingly, Ron Miller was replaced with Michael Eisner during production; Eisner was the one to insist that Basil of Baker Street should be re-named with a "less British-sounding name", whatever sense that makes seeing how the movie itself could hardly feel more British.
Early in development, Professor Padraic Ratigan was meant to be a tall but slender mouse, almost similar to a fox or a weasel, and Olivia Flaversham was to be a much older woman who would have served as a love interest for Basil (the older Olivia was reused as the Emerald Lady of the ending, as a nod to this concept), an idea which was discarded in part because it would have made the movie look too similar to The Rescuers.
Writers: Eve Titus, Joe Hale, Pete Young, Vance Gerry, Steve Hulett, John Musker, Ron Clements, Bruce Morris, Matthew O'Callaghan, Burny Mattinson, Dave Michener, Mel Shaw, Ron Miller
Directors: John Musker, Ron Clements, Burny Mattinson, Dave Michener
- Barrie Ingham — Basil of Baker Street, Bartholomew
- Vincent Price — Professor Padraic Ratigan
- Val Bettin — Doctor David Q. Dawson, miscellaneous.
- Susanne Pollatschek — Olivia Flaversham
- Candy Candido — Fidget, miscellaneous.
- Alan Young — Hiram Flaversham
- Diana Chesney — Mrs Judson
- Eve Brenner — Queen Moustoria
- Melissa Manchester — Miss Kitty Mouse
Musical Score: Henry Mancini
Producers: Ron Miller, Burny Mattinson