Under the streets and in the dark corners of Victorian England exists a parallel world of mice and rats, and the world’s smartest rodent detective, Basil of Baker Street. When Olivia Flaversham’s toymaker father is kidnapped, she enlists the aid of Basil and his new, and faithful, companion, Dr. Dawson. Basil is brilliant and observant, but he’s not always right, and he’s sometimes undone by his over-eagerness as he drags Dawson and Olivia from one clue to the next.
The trail leads to the criminal mastermind and Basil’s long-standing nemesis, Professor Ratigan, dripping with evil delight and voiced by Vincent Price. Ratigan is preparing a “crime that will live in infamy” and he needs Mr. Flaversham’s help. But what does an evil genius need with a toymaker? To build a robot duplicate of the Queen so that Ratigan can replace the real one and take over the world of mice.
The film is based on the book “Basil of Baker Street” by Eve Titus and Paul Galdone, which drew inspiration from the Sherlock Holmes stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and the Sherlock Holmes movies starring Basil Rathbone as the great detective. “The Great Mouse Detective” is moody and atmospheric and filled with period detail amidst its antic fun. The action-packed finale takes place inside Big Ben, the giant British clock, during a thunderstorm and is heart-stoppingly animated. Two of the film’s four directors, John Musker and Ron Clements, would later go on to work on “The Little Mermaid” and “Aladdin.”