This forest home is not so idyllic if you're a fox like Tod (voiced by Kieth Coogan as a youngster and Mickey Rooney as a grown-up), who loses his mother to fanatical game hunter Amos Slade (voiced by Jack Albertson) and is adopted by the big-hearted Widow Tweed (Jeanette Nolan), who turns him into a docile house pet.
It is in these happy days that Tod meets Copper (voiced by Corey Feldman as a pup and Kurt Russell a a adult dog), a blood hound puppy who is the newfound property of Amos. Too happy and naive to know they're not supposed to be friends, Tod and Copper play together for a couple of heart warming scenes until reality sets in.
This wake-up call intrudes when Amos takes Copper and his old dog Chief (Pat Buttram) on a long hunting trip, which lasts them from Copper's puppyhood to the time when Copper is almost grown. Torn between his friendship with Tod and his desire to please his master, Copper finds himself at an impasse which leads to an emotional finale.
I'm not ashamed to say that I cried... a lot at the moments of sentiment in this animated tale. I'm told that I tried to watch this as a young child, only to go ballistic about five minutes in when Tod's mother is chased by dumb ol' Amos Slade with his hunting dog and his shotgun. Of course, I cried if it started to rain in a video, so don't compare the reactions of your youngsters with mine.
I think the characters of the stuttering bird and his pal would just as well have been absent. I also felt the romantic subplot was too predictable. The song Big Mama the maternal owl (Pearl Bailey) sings, "The Best of Friends," was heart-wrenching and effective, but the other songs were pretty forgettable.
Besides Copper and Tod, I liked Widow Tweed best (like a grandmother everyone should have) and Chief, Slade's ornery old hunting dog, because he reminded me of my old rottie mix Elissa. The typical "Disney" humor (i.e. slapstick) didn't always fit the somber plot, but there should be fun hijinks for the kiddies as well as high drama.
"The Fox and the Hound" is one of the few classic Disney movies I'd watch for my own enjoyment, or when I'm accompanied by a child (y'know, when "The Human Centipede" or it's sequel just won't do.) My sister loves foxes, so she couldn't get enough of Tod, and I wanted to pinch the flaps on Copper's unfortunately-animated wrinkly face. So long and happy watching!