Basil of Baker Street

The Great Mouse Detective

Basil is the dauntless hero and title character in The Great Mouse Detective (1986).

Basil of Baker Street is a take off of the classic Sherlock Holmes character, modeling his career after the famous detective's. Moody, dramatic, and a model of English snobbery, but brilliant, he lives in a flat below Holmes's residence, and is a genius of mystery. Mice come from all over England for his assistance. When Dr. Dawson meets a lost and frightened Olivia Flaversham, desparately searching for Basil to help her locate her kidnapped father, he helps her find Baker Street. Before long, all three are involved in a maze of mystery and intrigue, looking for clues and realizing that all clues point to one person- Basil's arch enemy, the nefarious Professor Ratigan. Quick on his feet and in his mind, Basil and Dawson are able to track down Ratigan's hideout when Olivia is kidnapped as well.

Basil's keen and penetrating mind save the day when, after a near coup of the English royaly and a fierce, animalistic battle on Big Ben, he reunites Olivia with her father, and saves England, with only a few scratches and a smile on his face. At the end, he and Dawson become partners.

Basil is voiced with appropriate polish and sophistication by Barrie Ingham.

Basil doesn't really have a love story in this film, although I like to think that he finds some romance from that lady mouse in green who asks for his help at the end....
Basil's enemy in every way is Ratigan, a massive sewer rat in serious denial, with definite sophistication, but, by the end, extremely evident evil.
So what do I think?

I think this is one of the best, and most overlooked Disney films of the pre-Golden Age years. The characters are extremely charming and endearing, and the story is solid and captivating. Basil's character arc is interesting and believable, and the interaction between him and Olivia, and how it adapts over the course of the film is very sweet. Very good film, with an excellent Mancini score, and 3D elements incorporated before its time! Interestingly, of all the Disney films, this seems the one that would most likely have warranted a sequel (or MANY) or a series, but hasn't, as yet.

Basil's Thoughts

Basil: There's always a chance, Doctor, as long as one can think.

Basil: Don't worry, old fellow. It's not entirely hopeless.

Basil: The horror of my every waking moment, the nefarious Professor Ratigan! He's a genius, Dawson. A genius twisted for evil, the Napoleon of crime!
Dr. Dawson: As bad as all that?
Basil: Worse!
Basil There's no evil scheme he wouldn't concoct! No depravity he wouldn't commit.

Dr. Dawson: Scoundrel's quite gone.
Basil: But not for long, Miss Flamhammer!
Olivia: Flaversham!
Basil: Whatever.

Basil: Miss Flamchester!
Olivia, Dr. Dawson: Flaversham!
Basil: Whatever.

Olivia: Goodbye, Basil. (sniffles) I... I'll never forget you.
Basil: Nor I you, Miss... Miss Flangerhanger.
Dr. Dawson: (chuckles) Whatever.

Basil: Now, Toby, sit! (Toby doesn't sit) (sternly) Toby... sit!
Olivia Sit, Toby! (Toby sits)
Basil: (glaring at Olivia) Good boy...

Basil: Toby, I want you to find... this fiend! (Toby growls) Yes, you know his type. Arf! A villain! Arf-arf! A scoundrel! (growls) Low brow. Close-set eyes. Broken wing. (Toby stands there, confused) Oh. He's a peg-legged bat with a broken wing. (Toby resumes growling) Yes, Yes! Grr! That's the spirit! Grrr! Got his scent? (Toby nods) Good boy! Good boy!

Basil: Ratigan, no one can have a higher opinion of you than I have, and I think you're a slimy, contemptible sewer rat!

Ratigan: (standing atop Big Ben) I've won! Ha ha ha!
Basil: On the contrary! The game's not over yet!

Dr. Dawson: Dash it all, Basil! The Queen's in danger, Olivia's counting on us, we're about to be horribly "splatted" and all you can do is lie there feeling sorry for yourself. Well, I know you can save us, but if you've given up then why don't we just set it off now and be done with it?
Basil: (feebly) Heh heh. "Set it off now." Set if off... now? (triumphantly) Ha ha! Yes! We'll set the trap off now!

Dr. Dawson: How the deuce did you know I was a doctor?
Basil: A surgeon to be exact. Just returned from military duty in Afghanistan. Am I right?
Dr. Dawson: Why, ha, ha, yes. Major David Q. Dawson. But how could you possibly...?
Basil: Quite simple, really. You've sewn your torn cuff together with a Lambert stich, which, of course, only a surgeon uses. And the thread is a unique form of cat-gut, easily distinguished by its peculiar pungency, found only in the Afghan provinces.
Dr. Dawson: Amazing!
Basil: Actually, it's elementary, my dear Dawson.

Basil: Smile Everyone!

Dr. Dawson: I've never seen so many toys...
Basil: Behind any of which could lurk our blood thirsty assassin!

Robot Queen: You're a cheap fraud & impostor!
Ratigan (under his breath): Flaversham!
Basil (operating the robot): A corrupt, vicious, demented, lowlife scoundrel. There's no evil scheme you wouldn't concoct. (the robot goes crazy and breaks apart) No depravity you wouldn't commit. You, professor, are none other than a foul stenchus rodentus, commonly known as a...
Ratigan: Don't say it!
Basil: ...Sewer rat!

Vote for Basil as your favorite hero here!

I've managed to compile a couple of Basil links, or you can head back to the Heroes homepage.

Olivia's Animated Heroines page