The Rescuers is one of those Disney movies that is rarely anyone’s favorite. That said, it gets a lot less credit than it deserves for its underlying message of: “You can do anything you set your mind to, no matter how small and seemingly unintimidating you may be.” Add on top of that a love story between two mice with completely different personalities – one voiced by Bob Newhart, and the other voiced by the legendary Eva Gabor – and you can’t go wrong.
But despite the timelessness and beauty of this film (and its sequel, which we’ll cover in a later installment), there are still some loose ends that need tying up in my mind.
Why did Miss Bianca pick a janitor to help her find Penny?
After the Rescue Aid Society – a mouse-only version of the United Nations – discovers missing orphan Penny’s S.O.S. message in a bottle, Hungarian representative Miss Bianca volunteers immediately to take on the case of finding the little girl. A janitor, Bernard, suggests that she shouldn’t go because he has an obvious crush on her and doesn’t want her to get hurt, so the leader asks the other representatives who wants to go along as Miss Bianca’s co-agent. Of course, every mouse raises his hand, but Miss Bianca chooses Bernard the janitor.
While we all know the twosome end up saving the day, falling in love, and becoming one of Disney’s most underrated couples, the party-pooping question remains why the level-headed Bianca would choose someone as under-qualified as Bernard on such an important mission.
Why didn’t the mice just leave a note for the human police?
According to Rufus, the mouse-catching old-man cat at Morningside Orphanage, police had been on the hunt for Penny for ages and eventually gave up looking.
So why didn’t the mice just leave a note or some kind of audio message for the police – or better yet, turn the bottle over to them with a letter saying it was from Penny, and that they would anonymously provide information about her location as it became available? It would’ve taken some work, but it seems lot less dangerous (not to mention way faster) than two mice flying on an albatross to face off against alligators, an evil kidnapper, natural predators, etc.
Why is Madame Medusa never used in Disney Villains marketing?
Madame Medusa is rarely referenced in Disney marketing and it’s surprising, considering she’s such a great villain. Not only is she completely over the top, but her fashion sense rivals that of Cruella de Vil and she’s extra scary because she kidnaps humans instead of puppies.
In fact, according to IMDB, Madame Medusa partly inspired another Disney villainess who gets way more (admittedly well-deserved) attention: Ursula from The Little Mermaid. Granted, The Rescuers is often overlooked in general, but Madame Medusa deserves more recognition for her badassery. Her pets are alligators, for Pete’s sake, and she has 24/7 crazy eyes.
Who inserted the infamous “topless-woman” image into the film?
One of The Rescuers’ biggest claims to fame is the fact that someone in post-production inserted an image of a naked lady in the film. It can be seen on old versions of the movie about a half hour in, when Bernard and Bianca take their maiden voyage on Orville the albatross. And unlike similar claims about The Lion King and The Little Mermaid, this one is 100% true. In reality, it was such a scandal that Disney recalled a bunch of The Rescuers home videos in 1999.
But who put that image in, and why? Were they trying to make some kind of statement? Were they done dirty by their bosses at Disney and wanted to get some kind of revenge? Was it just an elaborate joke they didn’t think would ever get noticed, or taken seriously?
What happens to Rufus?
Rufus the cat is my favorite character in this movie (aside from the flawless Miss Bianca, of course). Penny can be seen hugging him at the end of the movie right after she gets adopted, but I always wanted to know what happens to him. Does he get adopted along with Penny (the ideal situation)? Does he stay at the orphanage and continue to try and shirk his responsibilities? It’s pretty obvious he didn’t have many years left in him, so I’m hoping her got to live out the last of his days with Penny in her new home.