Friday, December 5, 2014

Project Disney- Fox and the Hound

Project Disney: The plan is to tackle all of the Disney films, re-reading the classic stories and tales that inspired many of them and to look at how the changes the filmmakers made, the new elements they introduced and the essential elements they kept. We will, of course, be talking about the films as movies as well, saying why we enjoy them and what some of our favorite moments are, but our focus will be on looking at them as adaptations. For the films that are not drawn from any one work we’ll be looking at some of the possible literary influences that we see in the stories. I am participating in Project Disney inspired by Picture Me Reading!

This week's Project Disney is Fox and the Hound based off the book by the same name by by Daniel P Mannix.  I was dreading doing this movie vs book.  I haven't seen this movie in many years.. mainly because I remember it being very sad.  Turns out the book is very hard to find... the physical book. You have to pay almost $100 to own it.   Luckily it has been released on ebook again.  The book was much different then I thought it was going to be.  As you read.. you just live through the eyes of a fox and a hound.  It is pure nature and instincts of two animals and how they live.  Disney of course adds cute animals to go along with it and even great humans.

The movie starts out with a fox whose mother is shot and killed.  This is the same as in the book.. in fact in both the movie and book the fox (who is named Tod) gets adopted into a human home. When you read the book... you read from Tod's point of few so you get to read about how Tod can smell fear and hear the sounds of the hunters and their dogs. In the book... eventually Tod's instincts kick in and he wonders the fields instead of living with the humans. He just could never be tamed. This is probably obvious but Disney also has the animals talking... which of course we need to be able to enjoy the film.  They do not speak in the book though we get to read about what their instincts are telling them.

Now the dogs are introduced.  Cooper is the hound dog in the story.  Disney has him starting out as a puppy learning to to be a hunting dog.  Another dog in the film is named Chief and he an old dog who teaches Cooper all the tricks of the trade. The book is so different.  Cooper is an old dog by the time we meet him, and Chief is a young pup.  They are in total competition on who can impress their master with their hunting skills. There is a big scene in the book where there is a bear that the hunters are tracking and Cooper finds the body of the man who was killed by the bear.  When the hunters and dogs find the bear it is Chief who ends up saving the master from the bear. The dogs tear the bear apart (there are several hunting dogs in the book).

Cooper learns soon that Tod is not to be played with but to be hunted. Cooper is tied up by his owner and Tod still comes to visit him to play.  Chief notices the fox and chases him all over the place.  The owners of the fox and the hound get in a fight and now both Cooper and Tod have to be locked up.  Cooper is taken off to a hunting trip.  When he comes back both Cooper and Tod are adults. In the book... before Cooper even finds Tod a lot has happened.  Tod has found a mate (we get to read all about how foxes find mates an fight over them) and he has a several baby foxes.  Really the fox and the hound have a non-existent relationship in the novel.

Tod and Cooper reunite in the film.  Cooper tells Tod that he is now a hunting dog and they can't be friends.  Chief sees Tod and chases him... Tod runs far away onto some train tracks. Tod ducks into the tracks and Chief falls off with a broken leg (In the book Tod also runs from Chief but Chief is killed by an oncoming train).  Cooper and the hunter vows to get revenge on Tod so the.  lady who has been taking care of Tod decides to let him lose in the game preserve. Tod of course has no idea what to do since he has always been raised by humans.  An owl comes and helps Todout by introducing him to a female fox named Vixy (in the book Tod has many lady friends and a few families all who typically get killed by the hunter).

The hunter and Cooper sneak onto the game preserve and Cooper and Tod get into a big fight. Now the bear that I mentioned earlier appears in the film.  The hunter shoots the bear, gets his foot stuck in a trap he set for Tod, and Cooper gets hurt. Tod to the rescue!  He rushes down and gets the bear.  The fox falls into the river and the hound finds him and doesn't know what to do.  The hunter shows up with his shotgun ready to shoot the fox. The dog stands over the fox to protect him and the hunter lets the fox lives and goes home.  Cooper and Tod share a smile.

In the book the hunter and hound pursue the fox for many many years.  So many years in fact that the fields have now become housing developments and the hunter is being forced into a retirement home from fellow neighbors (mainly because they want to develop his land and because he is an alcoholic).  It is discovered that there is still a fox in the area so the hunter is allowed to keep his house a little longer.  Of course that fox is Tod.  The hunt happens... the fox is not what he used to be so eventually he lays down and waits to die. The hound catches up to him and is very old himself and kills the fox then falls on his body. The fox is skinned and hung in the house.  The hunter is forced out of his house but before that happens he takes the hound outside.. puts a blind fold on him and shoots him.

WOW.  This movie is deep. There are just so many lessons here, loyalty, what society makes you do, just sad stuff.  I still don't love this movie.  I want my Disney movies to be happy and magical.  With upbeat songs and all that.  This book was pretty good.  It was not like anything I had read before.  I liked just reading about nature.  It is hard to find the book though so you will probably have to go through your libraries interloan system like I did.

Be sure to check out my other Project Disney:

 Snow White
Peter Pan
Treasure Planet
Sleeping Beauty
The Great Mouse Detective 
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
The Princess and the Frog
Beauty and the Beast
Lady and the Tramp
Alice in Wonderland
The Rescuers
The Rescuers Down Under
Oliver and Company
The Little Mermaid
101 Dalmatians
Fantasia 2000
The Jungle Book
The Emperor's New Groove
The Sword in the Stone
The Aristocats
The Lion King
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977)
Winnie the Pooh (2011)
Robin Hood
The Black Cauldron 
Mary Poppins
Lilo and Stitch 
The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad
Make Mine Music
Melody Time


  1. This is my least favorite Disney movie. It's so depressing. You're right about it teaching good lessons, but I can't enjoy it.

  2. I had no idea this was a book too. I'm not sure I would enjoy the book, but i know I really loved this movie. I haven't seen it in is quite sad though!

  3. I didn't even know this was a book! I never much liked the movie as a kid - mostly like you because it was sad. And I can see now I never really connected to the characters - so it was both sad and not especially interesting to me. It sounds like the book is even more sad!

  4. Yay! Another Project Disney! I don't think I'll be reading the book anytime soon - it sounds way sadder than the film. I remember enjoying the film though I would probably tear up at it today because of how touching the friendship between Tod and Cooper is. The gifs in your review make me want to watch this again too - the fox and the hound are so cute!

  5. It is depressing. So sad. I don't think Disney will make another movie like this one again. I barely remembered watching it as a kid. I avoided the ones that were sad like this one and Dumbo. I just don't like crying!

  6. The book was interesting. You really are just reading about animal instincts. Though it was very wordy and I guess there wasn't a lot of plot.

  7. I don't know anyone who would say this is their favorite Disney movie. NO ONE. It would blow me away to meet the person that does say this. Just sad.

  8. Finally a Project Disney... there really aren't too many more. This is really the last big feature film for me to do on the animated side. The Fox and The Hound are cute.. though I didn't really feel the whole friendship thing in the film. They were never friends in the book. Just two animals crossing paths in the wild. Honestly the whole thing is depressing when I think about it.

  9. I think I saw maybe 15 minutes of the movie before I decided it wasn't for me! I can handle crazy serial killers but look cross-eyed at an animal and I'm out! I had no idea the film was based on a book. It definitely sounds like it's much different. However, I just got done having puffy allergy eyes so I don't think I'm ready to have puffy eyes from all the sobbing. Love Project Disney! I always learn something new.

  10. I thought I liked this movie. Now I dont really remember if I do or just remember parts of it. ANd I don't like crying.

  11. OMG! I love this movie so much!!! I used to watch it over and over again when I was little. :)
    Thank you so much fro reminding me about it - it brings back some great memories.

  12. Wow, I had no idea this movie was based on a book! I haven't seen this moving in ages. The song Best of Friends always gets me choked up a bit. The movie is so sad!!

    Terri M.
    Second Run Reviews

  13. I didn't cry with this movie to be honest. I mean there was just nothing that made me too emotional unlike Dumbo and Lion King. The book on the other hand did make me feel bad for wild animals. I just found the movie a little bit disjointed ... like one minute they were young and then they were grown.

  14. I can't stand crying from a book or movie. I am not into feeling sad. I know there are some people out there who like it (Fault in our Stars) but me I want Epicness!

  15. WOW! Someone who likes this movie!! I am AMAZED! Also... I love that there is someone out there who loves each Disney movie for different reasons.

  16. It is sad... sad that the owner dumps the fox off!! I mean... worst lesson ever for kids. Like your pet just get rid of it. OK... that was a rant!

  17. It's a bad lesson to adopt wild animals to begin with! :)

    Terri M. , the Director
    Second Run Reviews

  18. This is one disney movie or book that I have not read or watched. Will have to put it on the list. This is a great post idea too.

    Sharon @ Sharon's Book Nook!

  19. You have to wonder if they were trying to use it to tap into a more male demographic. Because male characters and sort of more of a guys movie. But I don't know how effective it was, because I agree, even guys wouldn't say it's their favorite.

  20. This was a great read. I've never read the book, but my wife and I watched the film not too terribly long ago and were both in tears at the end. It's such a powerful story and as you cover quite well, teaches a variety of important lessons.

    One of my favorite Kurt Russell performances, sincerely - just such a good job.

    I'll have to keep an eye out for the book.

  21. Additionally, wow Daniel Mannix wrote the book?? That's wild - that's the guy who wrote The Hellfire Club. (A book I've read a whole bunch of times.) What an unexpected coincidence. Nice.

  22. Thanks... I love Project Disney. I'm sad that it is pretty much done. I am almost through all the movies.

  23. Honestly I didn't even know Kurt Russell was in it until I re-watched it recently. I was like.. WHA????? It is on Netflix so I am hoping more people will watch it. I always want the Disney movies that aren't so popular to get more views. Of course I am a big Disney fan so I just want to see all the films.

  24. I will have to check out that book, I haven't heard of it before.

  25. Oh my god. OH MY GOD. THE BOOK IS EVEN MORE DEPRESSING! (..ok after their adaptions of The Little Mermaid and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, I really, really shouldn't be surprised by that). I loved the movie...but I also watch it very rarely because FEELS. I don't like those in my Disney movies! Hence few rewatches of Bambi, and Dumbo was just plain traumatizing for me. Man, now that I think about it there is clearly a theme here with the animal ones - the only NOT sad/traumatizing Disney animal movie I can think of is Robin Hood (because much as I LOVE The Lion King...that was definitely depressing).

  26. I loved this movie, and I'm pretty sure I would not think the same of the book. I think the book sounds to heavy for me.

  27. I don't like these "feels" Disney movies either. I didn't like them as a kid and I still don't. In fact... the movies are so sad I haven't even bothered showing them to my 7 year old cousin. Why would I make her sad???? For some reason the Lion King is the one sad Disney movie I do enjoy. I don't know if it's because it gets so lively after the death scene.

  28. I didn't love this movie... even if I take out the sad aspects of it I still don't love it. It's just so so.

  29. Yeah The Lion King is just so great...and I couldn't even really put a finger on what sets it apart. It does have a pretty fantastic soundtrack, so I'm sure that plays into it for me haha

  30. Oh golly! These sound so wildly different. My niece likes the film, so I’ve seen bits of it over the last few years, and the book sounds nothing like it, for the most part! What an ending, too. That’s really… sad. I think I’ll stick with my memories of the film, for this one!