Nasrudin (partially found cancelled animated film and early prototype for "The Thief and The Cobbler"; early 1970s)

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Still from surviving footage of the film.

Status: Partially Found

Nasrudin is an early prototype for the film that would later become The Thief and the Cobbler, created by Richard Williams. The film would have been based on two books, The Exploits of the Incomparable Mulla Nasrudin and The Pleasantries of the Incredible Mulla Nasrudin, which were written by Idries Shah and illustrated by Williams.[1][2]


Nasrudin was a philosophical yet "wise fool" of Near Eastern folklore from the 13th century. In 1964, Richard Williams Productions had started the project with the Shah family championing production.[3] The known cast of "The Amazing Nasruddin!" included Kenneth Williams, Stanley Baxter, and Vincent Price. During the animation process, the studio was making deals with movie distributors such as British Lion Film Corporations and Paramount.

Idries Shah demanded 50% of the profits, and her daughter Amina Shah, who had translated the Mulla Nasrudin stories, claimed their ownership.[4] Williams also claimed that producer Omar Shah was messing with the studio's finances for personal gain, thus creating a financial crisis.

In 1972, 3 hours of footage was done for the film according to the composer Howard Blake. However, it is said that the film and the footage was not structured enough for a three-act feature film. Williams later had a falling out with the Shah family due to problematic relationships between the family and the studio, and Paramount withdrew the deal they had been negotiating. The Shah family later gained the rights for Williams' drawings however they allowed him to keep the characters he designed, including a thief character of whom Williams loved the most. The thief, as well as much of the supporting characters, would later be included in The Thief and the Cobbler.


The full movie has never been released to the public. Storyboards, unused drawings, and parts of the scripts have been released by those who have worked with Williams, however the only clip available from the movie comes from a documentary titled One Pair of Eyes.




The only surviving footage of Nasrudin


  3. Schreck, Kevin (Director) (2012). Persistence of Vision (film documentary (and DVD bonus features)). USA/UK.
  4. Grant, John (2006). Animated Movies Facts, Figures & Fun. pp. 47–49. ISBN 1-904332-52-8.

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