I have a brother who is two years younger than I am. We were pretty close as kids—we’d play with trains and Barbies simultaneously and enjoyed our Cowboy/Cowgirl, and digging for dinosaurs phases at roughly the same time. The one thing that always baffled me about him growing up was his love of the movie “The Fox and the Hound”. Little dude would watch that movie ALL THE TIME at our grandmother’s house, leaving me to weep in the hallway, not because I didn’t get to choose the movie, but because that movie is SO SAD.
Let’s recap, shall we? Little orphan fox Tod is adopted by the Widow Tweed, at the same time Amos (whose name sounds like “ominous”) brings home Copper, who’s a hound dog. Copper and Tod, of course, become the best of friends. (Begin weeping here.)
Tod runs afoul of Amos and his older hunting dog, Chief, and Amos says mean things. It is explained to Tod by the owl Big Mama that he and Copper are different kinds of dogs, and may not be friends in the future, but Tod believes in the power of friendship despite the odds. (More weeping here.)
Then Copper becomes a hunting dog and he and Chief end up chasing Tod, but Copper lets Tod go despite Amos being all “KILL HIM! THAT’S THE POINT OF HUNTING!” because duh, FRIENDSHIP. Then Widow Tweed, acting out of concern for Tod’s “safety” leaves him at a wildlife preserve. (Widow Tweed, how could you? Tod is going to have the worst abandonment issues. Also, like Rory Gilmore, Tod does not have wilderness skills. Not cool, Widow Tweed.)
So, Amos and Copper go hunting, and they start chasing Tod and his new girlfriend Vixey, but they’re attached by a bear, and Amos gets caught in a trap and it all looks grim until Tod fights off the bear! Go Tod! Then Amos is going to kill Tod, but Copper steps in front of him.
So Amos doesn’t kill him, and drags himself off. Then Tod and Copper exchange knowing, farewell looks, and they go off to live their separate lives.
THE END. (Succumbs to sobs.)
So, I know that this story is really all about the power of friendship, and how two species can coexist despite their natures, and forgiveness, and all that jazz, but SERIOUSLY. It’s the worst. This is the saddest movie, plus it’s also really scary. I will admit that I was a very fearful child, but after watching this movie, I was afraid of bear traps for years, despite the fact that I grew up in the city. Amos is SCARY. He makes little Copper sleep in a barrel all by himself! My brother, the aforesaid huge fan of Tod and Copper, once told two kids he was babysitting that if they didn’t sit down and watch this movie quietly, Amos was going to come out of the TV and sit on them, and it worked. Because Amos is FRIGHTENING. I know, I know, he’s probably just misunderstood, and he’ll be softened to humanness by Widow Tweed, but he doesn’t understand friendship. All you have to do is look at these two together and your heart just melts.
Maybe it’s a boy movie? I asked my brother why he loved this movie. Was it because it was about dogs? His response: “ MAYBE… It just tugged at my heart strings. The bear trap was pretty badass as well.”
I will admit that the first ten minutes are pretty adorable. CUTE ANIMATED PUPPIES.
But scary Amos! And BEAR TRAP! And Chief is so mean to little Copper. And then Big Mama and Tod have “The Talk”, and the audience knows, even at five years old, that they won’t be the best of friends forever. It just kills me. So, someone please explain it to me. What is the deal with “The Fox and the Hound”? Why is Disney trying to hurt my heart? And while you’re at it, please tell my younger self that “Pinocchio” remains terrifying and disturbing, even as an adult, and it should be kept on the highest shelf of the closet, because that’s where all scary movies belong. Also, my brother reminded me that I was freaked out by “ET” as a kid, but I’ve gotten over that. (Except for the part where the “space people” come to take him away and ET is sick and everything is awful.) Anyway, for now, I’m just going to go curl up in blanket and watch “Old Yeller” while this song plays on repeat in the background. Please feel free to sob along with me.