Friday, January 18, 2013

King Richard

How do you establish a character who only has one scene in an animated film?
Appropriately portrayed as a lion (Richard the Lionheart) King Richard appears for a brief moment at the end of the movie Robin Hood, having returned from the Crusade.
I look at this one scene, and I immediately get a sense of his personality.
King Richard is beloved, he is big and powerful, but also kind with a sense of humor.

Beautiful acting. As the King approaches the church entry, Friar Tuck kisses his robe respectfully.
"Ah, Friar Tuck, it appears that I now have an outlaw for an inlaw. Not bad!"
He uses his walking stick as a prop to point toward Robin Hood and Maid Marian before both characters share a hearty laugh. 

Here are copies of a few of Milt Kahl's roughs from this lovely scene.


  1. Wonderful, Milt Kahl was beyond human, a titan of animation. Thank you so much for sharing this post. Was decided early on production that King Richard appeared in one scene? I watched an alternate storyboard version of the ending, when Robin Hood is hurt and the King appears before Prince John attacks Robin.

    1. Yeah apparently they had an idea to have his role a bit longer in those early drafts I've read, I suppose it would've been nice to have seen the King have a little more to do than to come in for one shot, but oh well.

  2. Hi Andreas,
    Do you mind if I ask some questions about Milt when he worked during this period after Walt died? I've noticed with your posts that Milt not only supervised main characters in Disney films, but he seems to have taken the load on the majority of secondary characters in the Disney films as well. I know when Walt was alive, he had a lot of pressure put on him since he was considered the best draftsman at the studio. We all know Milt had a huge temper and that he had little patience for B.S., but I get the feeling sometimes it must have bothered him that everyone kept putting so much demand on him, even moreso after Walt died. I know especially in the 70's when the studio was struggling, and there was very little in the way of wanting to change. It seemed like nobody wanted to ask the younger animators do these brief characters like King Richard, and it was just easy to just ask Milt to do the scene because he could make it look good and keep it consistent with the studio style. This isn't a slam on Milt, his work has always been tremendous. But I've often wondered if Milt may have been frustrated that they were relying too much on him to keep up the quality, and were less inclined to give younger animators of that period a chance.

    1. The thing that bothered Milt was that he spent so much time helping other animators, which slowed him down in his own work.
      But he knew it was necessary to maintain quality.
      When a film needed to get finished, he would help out with whatever was left to do, minor character, crowd scenes etc.
      The new animators got plenty of chances to animate lead and minor characters on Robin Hood and Rescuers.

    2. I think I have a better understanding now. I did read somewhere about how he would help young animators, but I heard in an interview with him I think that some of them just went to him to fix their drawing problems, which might have been a little agrivating when he was trying to get work done. But for him to go out of his way like that certainly showed his commitment to making the best possible film, and thankfully there are those who paid attention and still carry on what he learned in his life about animation. Thank you as always for sharing your insight!

  3. King Richard's personality is clear from just one drawing of him, not just one scene. :D

  4. Robin Hood has always been one of my personal favorite Disney films since it was one of the first I ever owned. It's great to see all of this production artwork. Thank you so much for posting this Adreas!

    (I know what Friar Tuck is actually doing but admittedly I can't help but chuckle at how suggestive that first picture looks.)

  5. I love King Richard, so much that I used to rewind the VHS tape over and over to watch him over and over again -- it was too short of an appearance!

    (At least, this is what I remember.)