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Toonhound presents...






British Movie Toons
The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship

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The Fool of the World
  and the Flying Ship
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producers: Cosgrove Hall Productions
                     WGBH Boston
stop-motion animation
      run time: 54 mins


"I shall give the hand of Princess Alexeya
     in marriage only for a ship that will fly..."


   A Russian folk tale here, as told by Cosgrove Hall. Princess Alexeya is to be
   married but she is unimpressed by her potential suitors. Tsar Nikolai is thus
   encouraged to issue a seemingly unachievable decree. The first man to bring
   him a ship that will fly shall win his daughter's hand in marriage. Word of the
   decree spreads throughout the kingdom, eventually reaching young Pyotr -
   the fool of the title - and his ungracious older brothers. The brothers set forth
   to acquire such a ship, but instead they embezzle the money they have raised
   from the family. Pyotr then sets off to find them, but is waylaid by the
   companionship of a strange old man with magical powers. In his wake
   comes a swanlike flying ship, and six extraordinary passengers..

   These upstanding fellows help Pyotr overcome the machinations of the Tsar
   and his Chamberlain, who are not so keen to honour their decree. Pyotr is
   regarded as a fool only because he speaks very little and keeps his thoughts
   to himself. But in the end this simple "fool" and his friends win through, and
   he becomes husband to the beautiful Alexeya and a permanent resident
   at the Tsar's Winter Palace...

   This is another exquisitely presented puppet film from Cosgrove Hall (the fourth
   such film, and the last of its kind, in fact). Like its predecessors, the production
   defies any technical criticism: It's another animation masterclass, with some
   magnificent design, and terrific puppets which move and interact so effortlessly.
   If there's a fault, it can only lie in the familiarity of the story. The eccentrics who
   join Pyotr appear to have stepped straight out of "Baron Munchausen" and
   anyone familiar with the Baron's extraordinary tales will find it very difficult to
   separate one from the other. But such is the way and wonder of folk and fairy
   tales, each borrowing elements from other tellings through the years and from
   country to country. Cosgrove Hall even borrowed elements of their telling from
   another retelling, by Arthur Ransome (he of "Swallows and Amazons" fame).

   "The Fool of the World" was justly awarded a number of festival prizes,
   most notably a 1991 Emmy for Best Children's Program.


    Pyotr's Pals

    The six extraordinary friends who join Pyotr are:

  He's deadly accurate with a bow and arrow...

     The Farmer
He carries Siberian straw so cold it can not be burnt...

He keeps one leg tied up because he can run terribly fast, when released...

     A big-eared fellow with extraordinary hearing...
     The Forester
     He carries magic twigs that become an army of saplings...

     The Forester's Wife
     A woman with an extraordinary appetite!



     Collectors may want to track down this tie-in storybook, written by
     John Hambley and published by Hodder and Stoughton in the year the
     film was first televised. It features plenty of top quality stills from
     the production...

     "The Fool of the World" storybook cover



1991 - Intl Emmy - Best Children's Program
     1992 - Chicago International Children's Festival - First Prize
     1992 - Los Angeles Animation Celebration - First Prize
     1992 - 40th Annual Columbus Intl Film & Video Festival - CHRIS Award


The Fool of the World on DVD

     UK DVD 
The Fool of The World and The Flying Ship
                 Region 2 / Revelation Films / February 2010


a Brian Cosgrove and Mark Hall production

    produced by Cosgrove Hall Productions & WGBH Boston
    with the assistance of the National Endowment 
    for the Humanties

    director:            Francis Vose
    producer:          Chris Taylor
    exec prod:         Carol Greenwald (for WGBH)
    writer:               John Hambley  

                             Based on the story as retold by Arthur Ransome

    music:               Mike Harding
    art director:       Bridget Appleby
    animators:         Paul Berry, Rachel Hall, Andrea Lord,
                             Loyd Price, Sue Pugh, Stuart Sutcliffe
     model characters designed & sculpted by:

    Bridget Appleby, Colin Batty, Brian Cosgrove
     model characters constructed by:
Noel Baker, Colin Batty, Peter Bentley, Ian MacKinnon,
    Marcia L Pidgeon, Peter Saunders, Bridget Smith, Stuart Sutcliffe
     models, sets & props:
    Graham G Maiden, Pippa Greenwood, Rick Kent, Christine Keogh,
    Fiona Randall, Richard Sykes, Jeff Spain, Paul Simpson

    model cameras & lighting cam:     
    Joe Dembinski, Jerry Andrews, Mark Stewart

    costume design:   Helen Plaumer
    costume makers:  Patricia Brennan, Geraldine Corrigan,
                               Clare Elliott

    research:             Terry Brown
    prod co-ord:         Christine Walker
    post prod man:     Chris Phillips
    rostrum camera:   Peter Kidd
    dubbing mixer:     John Wood
    processing:           Rank Film Labs, Manchester

    film editor:            Nibs Senior 

    asst editors:         Geoff Lawson, Therese Lynch
    voices:                 David Suchet (narrator)
                               Jimmy Hibbert
                               (Crown Prince of Anatolia / Boris / Pyotr)

                               John Woodvine (Lord Chamberlain / Father)
                               Robin Bailey (Tsar Nikolai)

                               Barbara Wilshire (Princess Alexeya)
                               Alan Rothwell (Sergei)

                               Miriam Margolyes (Mother / Mrs Forester)
                               Maurice Denham (Old Man)
                               Martin Jarvis (Sharpshooter / Lightning)
                               Edward Kelsey (Farmer / Listener / Forester)


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