Okay folks, it’s time for another instalment of Disney Day and we finally made it into the 1980s, or more precise, 1981 with The Fox and the Hound. From what I’ve heard from bestfriendboy, this one is really sad so I’ll get right to it.
The movie opens with a shot of a forest while the title cards are shown. There is no music, only occasional animal sounds you normally have in a forest. Then suddenly music sets in but it’s still very timid. A fox appears and it seems to carry a little cub. The music is getting more intense, you can hear angry barking in the background and together with the music it seems like the fox is chased by hunters. This clearly can’t end well.
Cut to a farm not too far away we see an owl in a tree (OWL SHOT), it clearly is a female owl because of her eyelashes but that’s hardly important right now. The fox appears, drops the little cub and runs away. Then we hear gunshots and nothing moves…this gives me all the Bambi feels, goddamnit, it’s still so early in the movie!
The owl finds the little cub. She introduces herself as Big Mama and at first the little cub is shy but once he sees Big Mama is no threat it comes around. Only the little fox baby can’t stay there so she tries to conjure up a plan.
Cut to a woodchuck and his sidekick who are after a caterpillar in a tree. Poor litre caterpillar. Anyway, Big Mama comes flying and and together they come up with a plan to save the cub. It involves getting the farm’s owner involved. To do so, the woodchuck pecks on the door, when the Old Lady that lives there comes out of the door, Big Mama and Woodchuck Sidekick take her fresh washing off the rope and drop it right onto the little fox to make sure Old Lady finds it. Sure enough, one Old Lady has looked into the little cub’s eyes, she takes him in and it’s really precious. She names him Tod.
An old man comes home to his farm and takes a sack from his pick up truck to show to his old dog. Inside is a young bloodhound puppy who is adorable!!!
Cut back to the lovely Old Lady Farm, she is milking the cow as Tod strolls in. At first everything is fine until he takes a look at the chicks (and by that I mean baby chickens, not womenfolk) all hell breaks loose. Only Lovely Old Lady can’t be too mad at Tod, nevertheless she tells him to get lost and not bother her cow so Tod goes to investigate the area.
Woodchuck and his sidekick are back to tormenting that poor caterpillar when Tod comes by to make friends and play with him but they basically tell him to sod off. Whelp, sorry little foxy, sucks to be you. Woodchuck and sidekick however, don’t manage to catch their breakfast, they bicker some and Tod goes away because that’s boring and I agree.
Mean Old Man Farm. Copper (that’s the puppy’s name) is having breakfast with the residential old dog when Copper suddenly smells something new, something he has never smelled before so he goes to investigate. We all know where this is going, the new smell will be Tod.
We get a shot of both of them getting closer until they finally meet and fall in insta-friendship. Like the little adorable critters they are, they start playing hide and seek and CUUUUUTEEEE! Big Mama is watching over this, narrates a bit while musing over this unlikely friendship.
The Mean Old Guy is looking for Copper which means he has to cut the adorable play time with Tod short. Womp, womp.
Sad music is playing when we see Copper again and it’s evident why, Copper is now tied to his dog house. Tod comes by to look for his play partner but instead sees he is tied there. Instead of being a smart little fox, he is dumb and rouses the old dog which doesn’t go over well. The commotion rouses Mean old Guy and he goes after Tod with his gun.
Cut to the Lovely Old Lady driving away in her car, Tod who is still being chased follows her and Mean Old Guy follows the both of them, firing shots at Tod. When Lovely Old Lady realises what is going on, she stops the car and goes all BAMF on Mean Old Guy. Good for you! But Mean Old Guy promises to shoot Tod the next time he sees him so Tod is on house arrest, kind of. He watches as Mean Old Guy leaves for a long hutning trip with both of the dogs. Copper and Tod look at each other all sad while the car drives away. MY FEELS. Bestfriendboy was right, this is a highly emotional movie, whew.
Big Mama comes by to talk to Tod, she explains that Copper probably won’t be the same when he returns from that trip. Big Mama sounds really black here which gives this whole segment a deeper level and reminds me of Uncle Tom’s Cabin in a way. When Copper and Tod first meet they have no clue they are different or meant to be enemies but Big Mama knows that will change because Copper will get trained to hunt foxes and other animals. To me, this seems like a subtle comment on race but maybe I’m wrong here.
Fall turns into winter when the caterpillar sneaks into the Lovely Old Lady Farmhouse because it’s cold outside. Woodchuck and Sidekick are mad because they are stuck outside and freezing there beakers off so they decide to fly to the south. We also get to see Copper hunting in the snow. He clearly is a superior hunting dog in comparison to Chief.
Spring is upon us and Big Mama takes this opportunity to clear out her hole in the tree. Woodchuck and Sidekick are back from the south. Together they marvel at how big Tod has gotten over the winter.
Lovely Old Lady puts the plant where the caterpillar had taken refuge in outside because it seems to be kinda dead. Woodchuck and Sidekick get all excited over this and a chase scene ensues.
Copper returns which makes Tod happy but when they finally meet again, Copper gives him the old, ‘it’s not me, it’s you’ speech about how they can’t be friends anymore. Poor Tod, he really has a crappy life. Chief sees Tod and they all get to chase poor Tod around. Copper lets him off the hook for one last time only Tod runs right into Chief on the railway tracks. Of course, right in that moment a train comes and Chief doesn’t duck. Instead he gets thrown off the tracks and into the river way below. This doesn’t look good for Chief and Copper swears to take revenge on Tod. Ugh. Come on!
Lovely Old Lady is driving around with Tod and she voice overs in her head about how she is saying goodbye to the fox. She leaves him in some part of the forest and drives back. Again Tod looks after someone he really cares for while they drive away.
His first night in the forest isn’t good, it’s raining and he can’t find shelter. Really, he is just a house fox and not a wild animal.
Cut to Mean Old Guy as he is on the trail together with Copper. They trespass on a no hunting ground and fuck you both. Leave poor Tod alone! Then we see that Chief only has a broken leg! WTF??!! I thought he was dead (and I wasn’t even mad)! All this over a lousy broken leg? Oh come ON!
The next day, Big Mama is looking for Tod but instead runs into Vixey, a female fox about the age of Tod because there wasn’t a love story in this yet. So Big Mama gets her meddling on and introduces the two. Of course they fall in insta-love but the happiness can’t last long as Tod gets into bad territory where Mean Old Guy has laid out traps.
Tod and Vixey are on the run from the hunter but Copper gets himself into a fight with a much bigger black bear. Tod, ever the good friend, sees this and can’t let his old friend alone so he gets into the fight only to get really beaten up. Tod ends in the water barely able to move when Copper comes by.
He is checking up on his friend who just saved his life. When Mean Old Guy appears to try and shoot Tod, Copper intervenes and all is good again. Wow, that was a ride!!!
Back on the Lovely Old Lady Farm, Woodchuck and Sidekick see caterpillar turning into a beautiful butterfly. Well that was about time. This thing seems to have had a LONG life as a caterpillar in my opinion.
This was a rather dark and sad movie. It starts with a death and nearly ends with one but I liked it. It’s not such a happy go lucky movie and more so one that gets you to think. The way Copper is trained to hate foxes can easily be translated to humans. In general we don’t hate others, but we can be trained through our upbringing to hate certain ethnic or social groups which is clearly stupid.