Halas & Batchelor for
the Ministry of Information animation: cel animation films: 4
the Second World War, Halas & Batchelor produced some 70 films
for various Governmental departments. Most were
aimed at the general
population, or the average Tommy in the field,
giving practical advice,
encouraging the War Effort, and keeping the home
fires burning. But
the "Abu" films were part of a different
exercise altogether. They were
antifascist propaganda films, commissioned by the
Ministry of Information,
and intended specifically for Middle Eastern and
warning them of the dangers that lurked in
those desert dunes....
In the films, Abu the Arab boy and his donkey
are repeatedly menaced by a
cobra-like Hitler and a frog-shaped Mussolini.
It wasn't subtle, but like all the
Halas & Batchelor productions for the
War Effort, these were handsomely staged
and directed. They conveyed their message
with absoloute clarity, and that
image of the Hitler snake, looming over little
Abu (from "Abu's Poisoned Well")
is a classic propaganda snapshot.
This was purely an overseas exercise, and
although Abu's encounters were
conceived and produced in Britain, the films never
actually screened in British
Halas & Batchelor maintained close ties
with the Government after the War,
and were commissioned to produce a variety
of films dealing with post-war
reconstruction. Most notably, they brought
us the Charley films...
The "Abu" films were sometimes referred to as the "Khahil"
Builds a Dam" is also known as "Khahil builds
The Abu films
Abu's Poisoned Well
Abu Builds a Dam
Halas & Batchelor Cartoon
Halas, Joy Batchelor producers:John Halas, Joy Batchelor
Seiber animation:Vera Linnecar , Wally Crook,
The official site with info
on their magnificent catalogue, details of the
studio history, awards, availability
and clips to view too...
The Surrey-based centre
have an extensive Halas & Batchelor collection,
and they present a wealth
of information for us here...