Close Shave (1995) producers:
Aardman Animation / BBC animation:
animation run time: 30
"The bounce has gone from his bungee..."
This is the third film outing for Wallace
and Gromit, the hugely popular
human-canine combo created by Nick Park and
brought to life by the folks
at Aardman Animation in Bristol.
There's a wool shortage in town, and its got
the newspapers all in a knot.
But Wallace is oblivious to the crisis. He's
fallen for the charms of Wendelone
Ramsbottom, who just happens to be the proprietor
of the local wool shop.
She's a customer of Wallace and Gromit's Wash'N'Go,
an inventive window
cleaning service involving a motorbike and sidecar,
some skilled ladder work
and a fair bit of bungee jumping.
Wendolene is embroiled in a plot to rustle
sheep, with her sinister doggy
Preston. But Wallace can't see through the scheme,
so it's Gromit who
follows the clue, which lead him into Preston's
clutches. The canny canine
has Gromit framed and imprisoned for his own
dastardly deeds. That's our
cue for a daring escape, and a wild ride involving
a stunt-tacular bike chase,
a tower of tottering sheep, a stomping
steaming dog food machine, and a
last stand against a rampaging robot cyberdog.
Though Wallace's romance
ultimately falters (she doesn't like cheese), his
love for life and fromage
"A Close Shave" introduces us to
the bleating brilliance of Shaun the
sheep. He's the poor young lamb, shaved a
bit to cleanly by Wallace's
Knit-o-Matic machine. Wallace and Wendolene's
blossoming romance is
beautifully observed and developed through
priceless dialogue and
tender actions. There's something so affecting
in the way they touch
hands over a ball of wool, or mimic that classic
Wallace hand gesture
acoss the shop floor. And what a contrast
with the acrobatics of the
finale. Where "The Wrong Trousers"
has its train chase, "A Close Shave"
gives us Wallace on his Wash'N'Go motorbike,
in pursuit of a truck-load
of sheep, whilst Gromit takes to the skies
in the sidecar. It's outrageous,
outlandish and utterly brilliant. Which explains
its numerous industry
awards, including a prestigious third Oscar™
for Nick Park and company.
is incarcerated in the same cell as Feathers McGraw, the
from "The Wrong Trousers". How do we know?
was here" is scrawled on the cell wall.
out for the billboard depicting a baker, with the slogan "Try
That's a sly reference to Bob Baker, the film's co-writer. And
that's a characture
of him on the poster.
Park was born in Preston, Lancashire and still supports Preston
North End football
team. Hence the name of Wendolene's pooch.
her name from that of a rather popular window
cleaning product Windowlene™.
was conceived as
living on the moors,
at her ancestral home of Ramsbottom Manor.
Preston was going to be
her butler dog of devious intent. But
these scenes, and
developments within her inherited mansion
were dropped just
before filming commenced.
Look out for Frank the Tortoise from the Aardman Heat Electric
campaigns.You'll need to
freeze frame your film, but he's just visible
for half a second on the
underside of the garden pond, as it flips over
to enable the Wash'N'Go
motorbike to depart.
Close Shave" had a production budget of £1.3m.
promoting the film in New York, Nick Park accidentally
mislaid a case containg
two precious Wallace and Gromit figures
in the back of a taxi
cab. The ensuing hunt filled many newspaper
columns. It even inspired the
creation of a special collectible...
1997 Annecy Intl - Audience Award
1997 World Animation Celebration - Best Stop-Motion
1996 Acadamy Award - Best Short Film, Animated
1996 BAFTA - Best Animation
1996 Chicago Intl Children's Film Fest - Animation
Intl Children's Film Fest - Children's Jury Award
1996 Royal Television Society (RTS) - Best
Prod Design (ent + non-drana)
Television Society (RTS) - Best Sound (non-drama)
film premiered on December 24th 1995 on BBC2, at 6.15pm.
and that first screening picked up 10.6m viewers...
Aardman Animations Production
of a Nick Park film
in association with
BBC Bristol and BBC Children's International
Park exec prods: Peter
Lord, Dave Sproxton (Aardman)
Rose (BBC) producers: Carla
Shelley, Michael Rose writers: Bob
Baker, Nick Park
on original characters by Nick Park music: Julian
Nott animation: Steve
Box, Loyd Price, Peter Peake,
Cureton, Nick Park art director: Phil
Lewis dop: Alex
Riddett editor: Helen
Garrard voices: Peter