In 1986, Disney was still very much a company in turmoil. Their last animated feature, The Black Cauldron, had been very expensive and had not returned that expense at the box office. New management had taken over, led by Michael Eisner and Frank Wells, and they were not entirely sure that feature animation was part of Disney’s future. It was into this environment that The Great Mouse Detective entered.
Directed by a combination of Burny Mattinson, John Musker and Ron Clements, The Great Mouse Detective adapts the Basil of Baker Street books by Eve Titus. Taking off the concept of Sherlock Holmes and applying it to the “underworld” of mice and rats, the story is a fast paced adventure through the streets of London, as Basil, his companion Dawson and a little girl named Olivia search for the girl’s missing father.