5 unanswered questions everyone who loves Disney’s “The Fox and the Hound” still has
Pro tip for if you ever get pulled over for speeding and need some help in procuring fake tears to try and get out of a ticket*: Just remember the ending to Disney’s sadistic 1981 animated classic The Fox and the Hound. Or the lyrics to the movie’s theme, “Best of Friends,” performed by the legendary Pearl Bailey. Or really, any part of this ridiculously sad movie that no one should ever watch unless they really need a good cry and can’t get it out otherwise.
In all seriousness, The Fox and the Hound is an under-appreciated gem of a movie whose lesson of “We can’t change who we are, but we can choose who we love” has been readdressed since yet rarely as effectively. That said, we do still have a few questions about the film that we would like answered.
*I kid, don’t do this.
Why didn’t Tod’s mom stay with him at the farm?
During the movie’s opening credits, Tod’s mom is running away from a hunter and hunting dog. She leaves Tod at a farm to effectively hide him and then, after a quick nuzzle goodbye, runs off and gets shot pretty much right away. Poor Tod. It’s Bambi all over again.
But if you look closely, you can see a barn in the background, which makes me wonder why she didn’t just run into there or burrow in the grass right inside the confines of the fence? A hunter wouldn’t likely cross into private property, and while the farm’s owners would’ve eventually discovered the foxes’ presence, she probably would’ve bought herself some time.
Panic makes us do drastic things, I guess. But look how cute baby Tod was. And he gave the Widow Tweed some company. And I’m crying again.
Was there something other than friendship there?
It’s pretty obvious that Tod and Copper were very close friends. But if you think about it, the story is pretty Romeo and Juliet-esque: two individuals from two vastly different worlds who can’t associate because of where they come from. While these two had a beautiful friendship and it’s most likely just that, it would be really sweet for there to have been something more underneath as the two protagonists grew into adulthood, too. Sadly we’ve had to wait until the upcoming Finding Dory to see any hope of a same-sex couple in one of Disney’s animated movies, but though it took some time, we’re glad it’s at least happening now.
Can we get a live-action version starring Sam Elliott?
I know there’s an animated sequel to this movie, but to be honest, I haven’t seen it. Before writing this, I sadly hadn’t seen the original in years. But after watching it again, I can’t help but think how perfect Sam Elliott – especially Prancer-era Sam Elliott – would be as Copper’s owner, Amos Slade. They’re practically twins. He even acts exactly like Elliott’s Prancer character.
Disney has given us beautiful live-action movies starring talking animals before, so I don’t see why this couldn’t be one of them. Come on, Disney. Make the live-action Mulan, then let’s talk.
Was Chief a distant relative of the Sheriff of Nottingham?
Sam Elliott, I mean Amos Slade, had another dog before Copper: Chief. Without even opening his mouth, Chief looks exactly like the Sheriff of Nottingham from Robin Hood and I kid you not, I didn’t remember who voiced him before re-watching this movie but I thought they animated him similarly to the sheriff and wondered why. Turns out, both were voiced by Pat Buttram.
Disney’s Sheriff of Nottingham was a wolf – canine family! Plus, both The Fox and the Hound and Robin Hood have scenes where the main fox character is trying to prevent the Buttram-voiced character from waking up, so this is a reasonable question. Distant cousins? Maybe. Re-used voice actors, clever animation, and slight nods to previous work? More likely. Womp.
Will I ever stop crying?
This is half a cop-out question and half a legit one because how can I ever be expected to get back to living my normal best life after watching a movie where the two main characters have the following exchange as kids right after Big Mama the owl sings her BFF song:
“Copper? You’re my very best friend.”
“And you’re mine too, Tod.”
“And we’ll always be friends forever, won’t we?”
And then less than an hour later in Jen time, they’re not only forced to be enemies, but they’re saving each other’s lives by putting themselves in mortal danger. Then never speaking again.