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Rock-a-Doodle
RockADoodle.JPG
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Don Bluth
Produced by
  • Don Bluth
  • Gary Goldman
  • John Pomeroy
Screenplay by David N. Weiss
Story by
  • Don Bluth
  • John Pomeroy
  • David J. Steinberg
  • David N. Weiss
  • T.J. Kuenster
  • Gary Goldman
Narrated by Phil Harris
Starring
Music by Robert Folk
Cinematography Robert Paynter
Editing by
  • Lisa Dorney
  • Dan Molina
  • Fiona Trayler
Studio
  • Goldcrest
  • Sullivan Bluth Studios Ireland Ltd.
Distributed by
  • The Samuel Goldwyn Company
    (North America)
  • Rank Organisation
    (United Kingdom)
Release date(s) 2 August 1991 (1991-08-02) (United Kingdom)
23 August 1991 (1991-08-23) (Ireland)
3 April 1992 (1992-04-03) (United States)
Running time 74 minutes
Country
  • Ireland
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
Language English
Budget $18 million
Money made $11.6 million

Rock-a-Doodle is a 1991 live-action/animated musical comedy film produced by Sullivan Bluth Studios and Goldcrest Films. Loosely based on Edmond Rostand's 1910 comedy play Chantecler, Rock-a-Doodle was directed by Don Bluth and written by David N. Weiss. The film features the voices of Glen Campbell, Christopher Plummer, Phil Harris (in his final film role before his retirement from acting, and his death in 1995), Charles Nelson Reilly, Sorrell Booke, Sandy Duncan, Eddie Deezen, Ellen Greene, and Toby Scott Ganger (in his film debut). The film was released in the United Kingdom on 2 August 1991 and in the United States and Canada on 3 April 1992.

The film tells the story of an anthropomorphic rooster named Chanticleer, who lives on a farm and crows every morning to raise the sun. However, he leaves his farm to become a rock star in the city after being tricked by the Grand Duke of Owls, whose kind hates sunshine, into thinking that his crow does not actually raise the sun. Without Chanticleer, rain continues to pour non-stop, causing a massive flood all over the country. The Duke and his henchmen take over in the darkness, and plan to eat all of the barnyard animals. Chanticleer's friends from the farm, along with Edmond, a young human boy who was transformed into a kitten by the Duke, take off on a mission to get Chanticleer to bring back the sun and save the country before it is too late.

Plot

One morning, Chanticleer, a rooster whose singing raises the sun every morning, gets into a fight with a stranger sent by the Grand Duke of Owls, whose kind hates sunlight. Chanticleer defeats his attacker, but forgets to crow, and the sun rises anyway. Ridiculed and rejected by the other animals, Chanticleer leaves the farm in shame, and the sun goes back down as Chanticleer had not crowed. Afterwards, perpetual darkness and rainfall threaten the farm with flooding. This story turns out to be a fairy tale being read to a young boy named Edmond by his mother. Their family's farm is in danger of being destroyed in a storm, and when his mother leaves to assist the rest of the family, Edmond calls for Chanticleer's return. However, he's instead greeted by the Duke, who is angered by Edmond's interference and uses his magical breath to transform Edmond into a kitten with the intent to devour him. Edmond is saved by Patou, a basset hound from Chanticleer's farm who struggles to tie his shoes, and Edmond manages to drive away the Duke with a flashlight. Edmond then meets several other animals from the farm, all of whom are hoping to find Chanticleer and apologize to him for their behavior. Edmond accompanies Patou, a cowardly magpie named Snipes, and the intellectual field mouse, Peepers, to the city, while the rest of the animals remain at Edmond's house.

Hunch, the Duke's pygmy nephew, is assigned by him to stop Edmond and the others from finding Chanticleer. The group narrowly escapes him and enters the city through an aqueduct pipe. Chanticleer, now under the name of "The King", has become a famous Elvis impersonator under his manager Pinky Fox, who is employed by the Duke to keep Chanticleer in the city and prevent his friends from finding him. During a concert, he is introduced to Goldie Pheasant as a distraction in case Chanticleer's friends come to find him. Goldie soon grows genuinely attracted to Chanticleer, and realizes Pinky's true intentions when he captures Edmond and the others trying to get a letter to Chanticleer. Meanwhile, the Duke and his party stalk the farm animals at Edmond's house, who continually use Edmond's flashlight to drive them off as long as the batteries hold out. Realizing that she is in love with him, Goldie confesses to Chanticleer that his friends had come to see him, and Pinky blackmails Chanticleer to attend his show or never see his friends again. Hunch inadvertently frees Edmond and the others, and they help Chanticleer and Goldie make a grand escape in a helicopter, which they use to return to the farm.

After their batteries run out, the denizens of the farm are nearly made a meal of by the Duke and his minions when they are driven off by the helicopter's spotlight. Edmond and the others try to get Chanticleer to crow, but his ongoing sense of dejection limits his ability. The Duke taunts Chanticleer and tries to drown him, but Edmond starts chanting Chanticleer's name in hopes of reviving his spirit, provoking the Duke into strangling Edmond until he loses consciousness. Impressed by Edmond's bravery, the other animals begin chanting Chanticleer's name, driving an angry Duke to transform himself into a tornado. Chanticleer finally regains his confidence and crows loud enough to raise the sun, diminishing the Duke into a harmless miniature version of himself. He is then chased away by a vengeful Hunch into the distance once and for all. The floods begin to subside and Edmond transforms back into a human. Edmond awakes in the real world, where the sun is shining outside and the floods have ended, but Edmond's mother assumes that his adventures were only a dream. Nevertheless, Edmond picks up Chanticleer's book and thanks him for coming back, before he is magically transported into Chanticleer's world, where he witnesses the rooster singing to make the sun shine.

Cast

  • Toby Scott Ganger as Edmond, the son of a human farmer who is being read the story of Chanticleer by his mother, Dory. He is transformed into a kitten by the Grand Duke after trying to summon back Chanticleer, and is the one who organises the farm animals to bring Chanticleer back to the farm after the flooding starts. He slowly begins to learn the errors of his ways and stops being afraid. This is Ganger's first acting role.
  • Glen Campbell as Chanticleer, a rooster who lives on a farm with many other animals, who are fond of and love him. When the sun rises without his crowing, his friends, believing he was lying to them about his crowing bringing up the sun (a fact he himself thought was true), reject him, leading to the adventures of Edmond and the others. In a miserable state, he goes to the city and becomes a popular singer. Through his manager Pinky, he meets Goldie and falls in love at first sight with her. Soon though, his friends come to the city and apologize. He and Goldie are then brought back to the farm, so he can save it. He is based on the late superstar Elvis Presley.
  • Phil Harris as Patou, a Basset Hound who is a good friend to both Chanticleer and Edmond, and plays the narrator character of the story. He despises the Grand Duke and is dedicated to Edmond's cause to bring Chanticleer back home. He is brave and reasonable, but somewhat temperamental. His endeavour to find Chanticleer is hampered by the fact that he does not know how to tie his shoes (which he wears because of bunions, in which it is a running gag). However, in the end, he finally figures out how to tie them right, after Edmond teaches him, This was Harris's final acting role; he retired after its release.
  • Christopher Plummer as the Grand Duke of Owls, a magical owl who despises Chanticleer. He overhears Edmond's call for Chanticleer in the real world and transforms him into a kitten as a punishment. Unfortunately, eating Edmond has been interrupted by Patou. The Duke hates his nephew Hunch and threatens several times to kill him if he fails to annihilate Chanticleer's friends. The Duke is a malevolent powerful creature of the night, with a penchant for eating smaller animals as meals and commanding other villainous owls to do his bidding. He hates sunlight, like all owls, and recoils when light shines on him. Also, he possesses magical breath that can transform anyone into any creature, as exampled when he turns Edmond into his kitten form. He manages to seemingly kill Edmond by strangling him to death with his magic breath, when he is attempting to restore Chanticleer's crowing spirit at the cost of his own life. He is chased away by Hunch near the very end of the film after being shrunken to a size smaller than that of Hunch and the mice and chicks on the farm, driving the both of them far away from Chanticleer's farm. In a deleted scene of the film, he nearly eats a skunk that he has stuffed (live) into a pie, but thanks to Hunch's clumsiness, the skunk escapes. In the final version of that scene, however, it is unknown what kind of pie the Duke is baking.
  • Ellen Greene as Goldie, a pheasant and singer who is in Pinky's employment. She is initially jealous of Chanticleer for stealing her spotlight, but falls in love with him upon becoming more acquainted with him. Pinky initially tells her that Edmond is a bad kitty, but when Pinky has Edmond and his friends tied up, she realizes that they are actually Chanticleer's friends, and tells Chanticleer that they tried to get a message to him. After this, Chanticleer manages to escape the set of Pinky's new movie, and returns to the farm with his friends, Edmond, and Goldie. Goldie stays with Chanticleer on the farm, and they presumably get married at the end.
  • Eddie Deezen as Snipes, a magpie. He, Edmond, Patou, and Peepers travel to the city in a toybox floating on the floodwaters, with Snipes more interested in exploring the city and its sights than actually helping his friends. Being claustrophobic, this poses a problem when he pokes holes in the box trying to escape and reach open air. He despises garbage and dirt, but loves the food served in the city when they go inside a restaurant where Chanticleer sings, particularly lasagna.
  • Sandy Duncan as Peepers, a mouse. Because of this, she is initially terrified of Edmond, but he tries to convince everyone that he used to be a boy. She was willing to accept him for being a cat if he took her and the others to the city. It is not until the very end of the film that she believes him and comments "oh, he was a handsome little boy..." She has a lisp and very round glasses, and is constantly arguing with Snipes's chauvinistic views.
  • Charles Nelson Reilly as Hunch, the Duke's pygmy nephew and lead henchman. Hunch enjoys rhyming words with "aggravation" and humming "The Ride of the Valkyries". He is dimwitted, but extremely aggressive. He carries an all-purpose Swiss Army Knife in a lidless soda can strapped to his back and uses its various bladed objects, tools, and household objects (such as a flyswatter) as weapons. A small running gag in the film was that whenever the Duke would breathe on him, his magic would transform Hunch into a randomly different creature. In the end, Hunch gets the upper hand, and chases his abusive uncle away with his flyswatter.
  • Sorrell Booke as Pinky, a Southern fox who loves money and golf. He is also Chanticleer's manager in the city. His job is to ensure that Chanticleer never feels the compulsion to return home by convincing him that his friends hate him, making it easy to profit off of Chanticleer's singing skills. He secretly works for the Duke and lies to Goldie about Edmond being a "bad kitty". Chanticleer and Goldie, who have fallen in love with each other, escape with Edmond's friends, foiling Pinky's plans and destroying his limousine simultaneously. This was Booke's final film role.
  • Will Ryan as Stuey, a chronically nervous pig from Chanticleer's farm. Whenever anyone mentions the owls, he starts to freak out, and will sometimes snort and whimper. While Edmond, Snipes, Patou, and Peepers go to the city to return Chanticleer to the farm, he stays behind to keep the owls at bay. He is almost eaten by the Duke, but is saved when the group returns with Chanticleer, shining a helicopter light on the Duke.
  • Louise Chamis as Minnie, a rabbit from the farm.
  • Bob Gallico as Radio Announcer
  • Jake Steinfeld as Farmyard Bully, a chickenhawk and minion of the Duke sent by him to stop Chanticleer from crowing. Steinfeld also voiced Max the Bouncer, a bouncer frog who is one of Pinky's henchman.
  • T. J. Kuenster, Jim Doherty, John Drummond, and Frank Kelly as the Duke's owl henchmen.
  • Kathryn Holcomb as Dory, Edmond's mother
  • Stan Ivar as Frank, Edmond's father
  • Christian Hoff as Scott, one of Edmond's older brothers
  • Jason Marin as Mark, one of Edmond's older brothers

Merchandise

A novelization of the film, written by Don Bluth and Chip Lovitt, was published by Troll Communications LLC (ISBN: 0-8167-2475-X). The film also inspired a Computerized Coloring Book by Capstone Software and IntraCorp called The Rock-A-Doodle Computerized Coloring Book.

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