a big top hat if you want to get ahead..."
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.
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
"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
tv treat Roobarb. Briers and
Godfrey teamed up once
more for Noah
touched upon the "Great" concept again in 1984 during production
Cat. The episode titled "The
New President" features Chris
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...?
that song leads us to another Godfrey connection. Jonathan Hodge
wrote the score
for "Great", and the third series of "Henry's Cat".
to Henry's bouncing bunny pal Chris Rabbit. In addition,
fellow has also brought us his very own cartoon
creation, in the
shape of The Fiddley Foodle Bird...
1976 BAFTA Award - Best
1975 Academy Award - Best Animated
produced by British Lion
Joe McGrath, Robin
Godfrey, Richard Taylor,
Tony Fish, Peter Hearn
Goldner, Anne Jolliffe
Challis, Mark Shepherd,
Godfrey, Moo, Graeme Jackson,
Denis Rich, Kevin Attew, Hester Coblentz,
Jelley, Video Animation Ltd
Oscar Grillo, John Challis,
Shepherd, Bob Godfrey,
Capelle, Graeme Jackson,
Ian Cowan, Anna Brochett
trace & paint:
Marianne Roof, Anna Brochett,
Kevin Attew, Katherine Cowan
prod assistant: Paul
No links right now....