Rock-a-Doodle Review

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Based on the charming French fable of Chanticleer, the rooster who raises the sun, Don Bluth's lively animated musical is more engaging for kids than his last effort, All Dogs Go To Heaven. Frankly, one has to have reservations about a contemporisation in which Chanticleer, voiced by C&W rhinestone cowboy Glen Cambell, is a blue jeaned hip swiveller, but if it errs, at least it's on the side of good-natured kitsch rather than the too twee.

Rockin' cock-a-doodler Chanticleer, undermined by the Duke, an owl who loves the dark and Bach and is given fruity villainy by Christopher Plummer, flees the farm to become a star known as The King in The City. Meanwhile his barnyard buddies are trapped in unending stormy night, under siege by the owls. So trusty hound Patou (voiced congenially by aged Phil Harris, of Baloo the Bear fame) and the requisite Little Boy - one Edmond, magicked by the Duke into a kitten - lead an expedition to find Chanticleer, bring back the sun and save the farm. The scenes mixing live action and animation are successful if unspectacular, and Bluth scores major points for getting the legendary Jordanaires to sing backing for Cambell's noisy but not unpleasant Presleyan numbers.