Published on October 24, 2022
In 1973, the studios disney released on the screens a new adaptation of Robin Hood. Transposed dozens of times, the story of the hero who robs the rich to give to the poor stands out, however, this time with an original cast made up of animals of all kinds, including a crocodile in the role of Captain of the guards.
The Captain of the Guards, serving the Usurper
” Your Grace, with your royal permission, we are ready “. Proudly carrying the golden arrow that will reward the winner, the Captain of the Guards appears before Prince John to tell him that the archery tournament can begin. Organized by the sovereign to trap Robin Hood, the competition brings together the finest shooters in the region. The Captain of the guards is then responsible for refereeing the event, counting the points and ensuring the correct placement of the targets. Pulling back the arrows thrown in the first round, he soon announces the names of the two finalists, the Sheriff of Nottingham and a mysterious stork from Devonshire who is none other than Robin in disguise.
At the end of the Golden Arrow Tournament, the trap set by Prince Jean closes in on Robin, unmasked by his extraordinary ability to always hit the bullseye. Accomplice of the plot, the Captain of the guards asks his men to be ready to arrest the brigand.
A regiment of rhinos gathers around Robin who, thanks to his cunning and especially the help of Little Jean, nevertheless manages to get out of trouble. Then begins a real pitched battle between the Prince’s soldiers and the hero’s supporters. Armed with a shield and a sword, the Captain himself takes part in the fight by confronting Robin in a duel. Nearly being killed by a crossbow bolt fired by Hangman, he tries to restore calm before being literally crushed by his own men launched into the heat of the action!
The Captain of the Guards makes another appearance during the big escape scene at the end of Robin Hood. Once again, the hero fooled Prince John and the Sheriff of Nottingham by emptying the royal prisons. Armed with an axe, the Captain tries in particular to prevent a couple of old owls from fleeing, in vain. The crocodile then tries to trap Robin by cutting the rope holding the portcullis. Managing to prevent the fox from getting out, the Captain of the guards is however defeated, the hero finding another way to escape.
At the time of the construction of Robin Hood at the turn of the 1960s and 1970s, the animation department of the studios was in the doldrums. The Jungle Book and The Aristocats, the last projects initiated by Walt Disney before his death, are now complete. The question then arises whether or not to continue producing other animated feature films. Hesitating to give up, the artists quickly choose to continue the work of Mickey’s dad. Gathered around director Wolfgang Reitherman, everyone soon chooses an animated adaptation of the legend of Robin Hood.
Bringing together the old guard made up of animators like Milt Kahl, Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston, John Lounsbery, Eric Larson and Hal King who collaborate with representatives of the new generation, Don Bluth and Dale Baer among others, the project is mainly carried by screenwriter Larry Clemmons and artistic director Ken Anderson who decides not to bet on human characters but rather on a cast of animals. Taking up a concept initiated ten years earlier during the production of Chantecler et le Renard, an adaptation of Chantecler of Edmond Rostand and the (The) Roman de Renard which will never see the light of day, the main roles are thus distributed to a whole menagerie inspired by popular imagery.
Cunning, Robin Hood therefore appears in the guise of a fox. The colossus Little John is a bear. The greedy Prince John, king of junk, is a balding lion. Sad Sire, his mocking adviser, is a snake. The sheriff is a wolf… The role of Captain of the guards then falls to a crocodile, an animal reputed to be scary and therefore perfect for playing a villain.
Like all of the characters in the film, the Captain of the Guards graphic appearance is defined by Ken Anderson in partnership with Milt Kahl.
Born March 17, 1909 in Seattle, Washington, Kenneth Anderson studied architecture in Europe and then in Washington before leaving for Los Angeles to find a job in animation. Hired as set decorator by MGMhe joins the studios disney in 1934 and worked on several short films such as La Déesse du Printemps and Trois Petits Orphelins. Spotted by Walt Disney, he was appointed artistic director on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, a position he then held during the production of Pinocchio and Fantasia. Host on Le Dragon Récalcitrant and Mélodie du Sud, he then participated in the writing of Mélodie Cocktail, Danny, le Petit Mouton Noir and Cendrillon. Promoted artistic director of Sleeping Beauty, 101 Dalmatians, Merlin the Magician and The jungle BookKen Anderson also works alongside Disney on the creation of Disneyland and certain attractions such as Peter Pan’s Flight and Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. After Walt’s death, he worked on films like The Aristocats, Robin Hood, Peter and Elliott the Dragon, The Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and The Adventures of Bernard and Bianca. associated with the construction ofEpcotAnderson finally retired in 1978. Sometimes dubbed the “ Tenth old gentleman “, in reference to the Nine Old Men, he died on December 13, 1993, two years after receiving a Disney Legends Award for his entire career.
A member of the very closed group of the Nine Old Gentlemen, Milt Kahl was born on March 22, 1909 in San Francisco, California. Beginning his career modestly at the age of sixteen when he was hired as a cartoonist for the newspaper The Oakland Post Inquirer then for the San Francisco Newsletter, he soon became a film poster designer. He then enters disney in 1934. Distinguishing himself thanks to his strong character from his colleagues who feared his memorable anger, Kahl worked as an intervalist on several Mickey cartoons. His talent quickly enabled him to become an animator and then animation supervisor. Very gifted for the animation of humans, he then collaborated in almost all the animated feature films of Disney and gave life to characters as famous as Pinocchio, whose final appearance he defined, Bambi, Brom Bones, Brother Rabbit, Johnny Apple Pepin, Cinderella, Prince Philippe and King Hubert, Roger Radcliff and Pongo, Merlin the enchanter or even Tigger. Behind the remarkable animation of Shere Khan and Madame Medusa, his ultimate villain, Milt Kahl is elevated to the rank of disney legend in 1989, two years after his death on April 19, 1987 at the age of seventy-eight.
The animation of Captain of the Guards is done by John Lounsbery and Art Stevens.
Originally from Cincinnati where he was born on March 9, 1911, the artist began his career at disney in 1935. A specialist in Pluto, which he animated in numerous short films, he brought to life dozens of remarkable characters such as Queen Grimhilde changed into a witch, Grand Coquin and Gédéon, Chicken Little, Willie the giant, the rose conductor and the Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland, Monsieur Darling, the duo Tony and Joe in Lady and the Tramp, the kings of The Sleeping Beauty, Colonel Hathi, Tigger as well as two other notable wolves, that of Merlin the Wizard and the Sheriff of Nottingham. Named co-director of (The) Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and (The) Adventures of Bernard and Bianca, John Lounsbery died on February 13, 1976 before the two feature films were completed. A Disney Legends Award crowns his career.
Art Stevens was born on the 1er May 1915 in Roy, Montana. Starting at disney in 1939 as an intervalist on Fantasia, he participated in most of the studios’ feature films, in particular Peter Pan for which he was promoted to animator of the main character. In 1977, he co-directed The Adventures of Bernard and Bianca alongside Wolfgang Reitherman and John Lounsbery. Animator of Evinrude, he then supervises Rox and Rouky and Taram and the Magic Cauldron. He leaves the studios disney in 1983, before the end of production of this last film. He died on May 22, 2007.
A secondary character not very present on the screen, the Captain of the Guards appears in the form of a fleshy crocodile. The hoarse voice, he wears green shoes and is decked out in a cape and a small headgear enhanced with a feather, two attributes that Ben Ali Gator, one of the protagonists of Fantasia, at the time animated, like the Captain, by John Lounsbery. The character also has several common traits with Tick Tock Croc, the crocodile from Peter Panor even Brutus and Nero in The Adventures of Bernard and Bianca.
The Voices of the Captain of the Guards
Initially thought for comedian Billy Bletcher, who once dubbed Pat Hibulaire and the Big Bad Wolf, the role of Captain of the Guards is finally offered to comedian and singer John B. “Candy” Candido. Born in New Orleans on December 25, 1913, he began his career as a bassist and singer in Ted Fio Rito’s big band. Very present on the radio, he plays in the cinema in films like Only Angels have Wings, Two Legionary Boobies, Lucky day and A New Ladybug Love. Recognizable among a thousand thanks to his stentorian voice, he also doubles the Indian Chief, the henchmen of Maleficent and Fidget. Candy Candido disappeared on May 19, 1999 at the age of eighty-five.
In France, the Captain of the Guards is played by Georges Atlas. Born in Geneva on August 14, 1926, the actor appeared in the theater in several classics such as Twelve Angry Men, The Annunciation Made to Mary, The War of Three will not take place, Amadeus and The Bourgeois Gentleman. Present punctually on television and in the cinema in Wretched, The big mop and The Carapate, Atlas is also very active in the world of dubbing. French voice of Lee Van Cleef, Will Sampson and Richard Kiel, he embodies dozens of animated characters like The Door Handle in Alice in WonderlandCaesar in The Lady and the Tramp and the Dane in 101 Dalmatians.
A second role sometimes forgotten by the general public, the Captain of the Guards nevertheless makes it possible to complete the bestiary of Robin Hood.