Otherwise Known As: Double-crossing Crook (By Mr. Snoops)
Premiered in: The Rescuers (1977)
Voiced By: Geraldine Page
Madame Medusa is, in a roundabout way, a clone. Not in the literal sense of the word but rather that she and her character, though based primarily on the villainess of the book entitled simply as “The Duchess of Diamonds”, her role in The Rescuers was originally intended to be filled in by previous Disney Villain. Though Disney changed their mind, many of that villain’s characteristics and mannerisms shine through Madame Medusa like a spotlight. Who was the original villain intended for The Rescuers?
Yes, I kid you not Cruella De Vil was originally slated to be the villain in The Rescuers. There were even sketches created of Cruella in alligator skin outfits fit for the bayou but that’s as far as it went for her because, at the time, Disney was not interested in making sequels for any of its previous films.
The irony in that statement does not escape me.
On to the dear Madame Medusa… She would almost tie with Prince John as far as greed is concerned if it weren’t for the fact that while the both of them are indeed obsessed with monetary gain, Madame Medusa wanted only one thing in particular: the world’s largest finely cut diamond appropriately named “The Devil’s Eye”. Though the film never goes into detail as to how she managed to locate it, Madame Medusa managed to find its location in a cave in the Devil’s Bayou way down south where she had her chief minion, a Mister Snoops, “force” a little orphan girl to try and retrieve.
I say “force” in the sense that Mister Snoops has about a spine equivalent to that of a jellyfish’s own and that’s without Madame Medusa’s presence. He’s described as the typical minion being both extremely cowardly and serving as a yes-man to Madame Medusa, particularly when her two true minions, Brutus and Nero, are at her side. Brutus and Nero are a pair of American crocodiles that Madame Medusa has not only managed to successfully tame whom, for whatever reason, have a strange attraction to perfume used by mice.
While many Disney Villains are vicious and cruel to the heroes and heroines to their respected films, I personally think that Madame Medusa is the only one capable, and willingly, to commit murder if it means getting her precious diamond. Looking back on those few villains whom targeted human children (because animal cruelty is a whole other mess entirely), let’s look at logically for a moment…
Shere Khan wanted to off Mowgli before he becomes a threat to the jungle like the rest of his kind. Rather harsh but justifiable. Captain Hook: Peter Pan not only cut off his hand but fed it to a crocodile for fun. That the crocodile actually liked the taste of Hook to the point of constantly following him around was only icing on that cake. The Queen of Hearts: Aside from severe public humiliation, no one ever looses their heads anyway, at least in the original book and animated film. Maleficent technically allowed for Aurora to live until she was sixteen and even when her curse had been changed to sleep rather than death only went so far as to see it fulfilled and keep it so for a hundred years. The Coachman… Yeah, okay, nightmare fuel aside he only changed the children into donkeys and I’m certain, that is to say fervently hopeful, that he got his just deserts in the end.
Madame Medusa? Threatened to let Penny drown until she retrieved the diamond. It didn’t matter that, after three months spent searching for it, that the girl had managed to find it, Madame Medusa wanted it right then and there no matter the consequences. Those consequences being of course that with the high tide coming in, Penny would drown in the flooding cave and Madame Medusa would have to start all over again.
In the end, she loses the diamond to her own greed as Mister Snoops miraculously develops a spine and the two begin a free-for-all chase for the diamond with Penny and the mice Bernand and Miss Bianca in the lead. What makes it even more ironic is that Madame Medusa manages to tick off her beloved pets to the point that they turn on her when she lays stranded atop a pipe of the destroyed riverboat while Mister Snoops gets away scot-free but without the Devil’s Eye. Though her fate is left ambiguous, much like Edgar Balthazar, it can be assumed that given the boat’s slow but certain sinking into the marsh and her former pets’ ire at having been whipped unjustly, it’s quite likely that Brutus and Nero ate their former master.
Though why anything, even a pair of slightly off crocodiles, would want to I can’t help but shudder in revulsion at the thought…