Hansel and Gretel (found Tim Burton short film; 1982)
|Screenshot of the short's three main characters, as taken from Ricsie's VHSRip.|
|Date found||13 Jun 2014|
|Found by||tapio1985, Ricsie|
Airing for the first and only time at 10:30 PM, Halloween night of 1983 (on the then-newly launched cable network Disney Channel) was a 35 minute early directorial effort of Tim Burton's, titled Hansel and Gretel (a quirky, Japanese-style take on the original Brothers Grimm story); the live action short was commissioned by Disney and was created the year beforehand on a modest budget of $116,000. The film was hosted by the late Vincent Price, who had previously worked with Burton on his 1982 short Vincent. Besides its single airing, the only other time Hansel and Gretel was screened for an audience (not counting those following its 2009 re-discovery and restoration) was in May of 1983, when it was shown exclusively to Disney employees.
The short fell into obscurity in the decades following, apparently due to the fact that Burton was somewhat embarrassed by how it turned out and that Disney executives felt that the film's themes were a little too dark and uncomfortable for their child-targeted network. A copy of Hansel and Gretel was eventually rediscovered, restored and made partially available (i.e., shown in limited access screenings) via various Tim Burton exhibitions around the world in late 2009 through 2012, with the restoration of the film premiering at the New York Museum of Modern Art.  Due to the exclusive nature of said screenings, many felt that much was left to be desired, as the majority of those who sought the film were simply unable to travel to the aforementioned Burton exhibitions to view it. Notably, a camcorder shot bootleg of Price's intro to the short (covertly recorded at one of the Burton exhibitions) was uploaded to YouTube in January of 2011 by user tapio1985, who went on to reveal that he had actually managed to record the majority of the film via this method, but had neglected to upload it due to the video length constraints imposed on YouTube's regular users.
Two years passed and the film once again shrank into obscurity, until October of 2013, when tapio1985 followed through with the rest of his bootleg footage, uploading it to YouTube in 7-8 minute segments. While this was a great deal more footage from the film than most had seen before, tapio1985 had, as previously alluded to, not managed to capture the whole thing (with roughly 10 minutes from the beginning unaccounted for), making for a bittersweet situation for fans and lost media buffs alike (not to mention the fact that the presence of background noise, plus the low-quality nature of the recordings resulted in a difficult viewing experience). However, in June of 2014, a VHSRip of the complete short (sans Price's intro) miraculously appeared on private torrent tracker Cinemageddon courtesy of user Ricsie, having acquired the 'rip' from an unnamed source who had recorded it during it's lone 1983 airing and whose brother had since digitised the recording after realising its rarity. The provision of this VHSRip (which subsequently and inevitably found its way to YouTube), along with tapio1985's previously uploaded bootleg introduction marked the first time that the production in its entirety had ever been made available on such a wide scale, much to the delight of many; the event went on to garner several write-ups in a variety of online columns in the weeks following, receiving generally favourable reviews.
The bootleg intro recorded by tapio1985, as well as a YouTube mirror of the VHSRip provided by Ricsie both remain active as of this article's publication and can be viewed below.
- Australian Centre for the Moving Image podcast on Hansel and Gretel, provided for their 2010 Tim Burton exhibition, via YouTube; 19 Jun 2013. Last retrieved 08 Nov 2014.
- Museum of Modern Art's site on their 2009-2010 Tim Burton exhibition. Last retrieved 08 Nov 2014.
- Australian Centre for the Moving Image's page on their 2010 Tim Burton exhibition. Last retrieved 08 Nov 2014.
- Los Angeles County Museum of Art's page on their 2011 Tim Burton exhibition. Last retrieved 08 Nov 2014.
- La Cinematheque Francaise's page on their 2012 Tim Burton exhibition (in French). Last retrieved 08 Nov 2014.
- Ricsie's original Cinemageddon upload (invite required for registration). Last retrieved 08 Nov 2014.
- tapio1985's incomplete bootleg recording of Hansel and Gretel (part 1 of 3), via YouTube; 18 Oct 2013. Last retrieved 07 Nov 2014.
- tapio1985's incomplete bootleg recording of Hansel and Gretel (part 2 of 3), via YouTube; 18 Oct 2013. Last retrieved 07 Nov 2014.
- tapio1985's incomplete bootleg recording of Hansel and Gretel (part 3 of 3), via YouTube; 18 Oct 2013. Last retrieved 07 Nov 2014.
- MEGA mirror of Ricsie's VHSRip. Last retrieved 07 Nov 2014.