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Toonhound presents...






  Short British Films &  TV Specials

Bob Godfrey's Great

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Great          (1975)
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  producers: Bob Godfrey / British Lion
2D mixed-media animation
      run time:
30 mins

"Get a big top hat if you want to get ahead..."

   What we have here, ladies and gentlemen, is Bob Godfrey's anarchic musical
     sprint through the life, works, achievements and  failures of Isembard Kingdom
     Brunel - Britain's genius industrial engineer from the Victorian era.

     The film is an irreverent classic that's brimming with invention and inspiration
     in every scene. And music, because it's also packed-to-the-gills with songs
     to suit the occassion, including such classics as "Get a Big Top Hat" and
     "Oh Wot a Big One!" written and performed by Jonathan Hodge.

       Queen Victoria is "Great"   stovepipes and ships in "Great"

     Oh, the wit and wonder of this film. It's absurdly saucy and informative, both
     at the same time as Brunel romps with Queen Victoria and a cavalcade of
     stovepiped gentlemen and big-bustled women join the chorus line. Cut-outs
     and photo montages are inserted into the action too, so that the film inhabits
     that same strange, Pop Art land as Yellow Submarine and the works of
     Terry Gilliam. But the mockney-cockney feel of the thing, and those cheeky
     asides confirm that this is, indisputably, a Bob Godfrey film - and probably
     his best.  

    "Great" received much international acclaim upon its release, and went on
     to collect the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film, 1975...

» The film features voicework from Richard Briers, who went on to provide
         the colourful voices and role of narrator for Bob Godfrey and Grange Calveley's
         wobbling tea-time tv treat Roobarb. Briers and Godfrey teamed up once
         more for Noah and Nelly...

» Godfrey touched upon the "Great" concept again in 1984 during production
         of Henry's Cat. The episode titled "The New President" features Chris
         Rabbit's stupendously daft sprint through the history of America, which he
         supposedly read about on the back of a packet of cornflakes. Such luminaries
         as Newton, Washington, William Tell, The Lone Ranger, Charlie Chaplin and
         the 7 Dwarves all feature, and in the end we learn that "pie in the sky was
       the American Dream
". There's also a rousing song "I Was Great!", in which
         every single state in America is name-checked. Surely that song title
         isn't just coincidental...?

» And that song leads us to another Godfrey connection. Jonathan Hodge
         wrote the score for "Great", and the third series of "Henry's Cat". He also
         gives voice to Henry's bouncing bunny pal Chris Rabbit. In addition,
         this multi-talented fellow has also brought us his very own cartoon
         creation, in the shape of The Fiddley Foodle Bird...


Hats off to "Great"


       1976 BAFTA Award - Best Animated Short
       1975 Academy Award - Best Animated Short


       produced by British Lion

       director:            Bob Godfrey
       writers:             Joe McGrath, Robin Smyth,
                               Bob Godfrey, Richard Taylor,
                               Paul Weisser
       music:              Jonathan Hodge
       editing:            Tony Fish, Peter Hearn
         Jeff Goldner, Anne Jolliffe
       animators:        John Challis, Mark Shepherd,
                               Bob Godfrey, Moo, Graeme Jackson,
                               Denis Rich, Kevin Attew, Hester Coblentz,
                               Chris Jelley, Video Animation Ltd
        Mark Shepherd, Moo
          Oscar Grillo
       & backgrounds:  Oscar Grillo, John Challis,
                                Mark Shepherd, Bob Godfrey,
                                Gary Capelle, Graeme Jackson,
                                Ian Cowan, Anna Brochett  
       trace & paint:     Marianne Roof, Anna Brochett,
                                Kevin Attew, Katherine Cowan
       prod supervisor: Hester Coblentz
       prod assistant:   Paul Weisser
       voices:               Richard Briers
                                Harry Fowles
                                Barbara Moore
                                Angus Lennie

                                Peter Hawkins
                                Dick Graham
                                Imogen Claire
                                Cyril Shaps  


      On the web

      No links right now....

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© 1975 Bob Godfrey / British Lion / F2009