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  Short British Films &  TV Specials  


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The Pied Piper
     of Hamelin        (1980)
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producers:  Cosgrove Hall Productions Ltd
   animation:  stop-motion animation
      run time:  30mins


"Rats! - They fought the dogs and killed the cats,
    and bit the babies in the cradles

    In 1376, the city of Hamelin is freed from a plague of hungry rats by a mysterious
    Piper who plays a tune and leads the vermin on a mery dance out of town and
    straight in to the river. But the greedy city Governers refuse to pay their agreed
    fee, so  the Piper wreaks a terible revenge. He plays his pipe once more, only
    this time he leads all the children of Hamelin away to a magical mountain portal,
    from which they never return...

    "The Pied Piper" is a classic tale, often told, but never so well as in this
    Cosgrove Hall film. The production takes its cue from Robert Browning's poem
    of the same name, written in 1888, and it's a stirring adaptation. The thronging
    streets of Hamelin play host to a wave of gnashing, thrashing vermin who are
    led away by an elfin Piper. This stranger takes his cue from "Chitty Chitty Bang
    Bang"'s Childcatcher. He moves with malevolent grace, twisting his fingers and
    pointing his toes and unsettling all with his strange and beautiful manner. In the
    hands of animators Barry Purves and Marj Graham, each of the myriad puppets
    is imbued with its own unique character. This is fabulous stuff, and it's narrated
    with real gusto by Robert Hardy. As the children are led away to Koppelberg Hill,
    the music swells and kaleidoscope colours dance overhead before they 
    disappear, leaving just one lame boy behind in a lonely spotlight.


    The quietest scene is the best of all. The Piper, having fulfilled his pledge to
    rid the city of its scourge, settles down to rest by the riverbank. And there, as
    he sits swaddled in his warm cloak, we watch him rest through to morning.
    The sky behind him fades to lushious purple and welcomes in the night.
    Now he is silhouetted against the stars. As the soft violet of dawn spreads
    across the sky, a line of geese pass overhead and the Piper wakes and
    stretches. We are observing melancholic magic here. It is the calm
    before the storm that is the Piper's revenge.
    "The Pied Piper" is surely one of Cosgrove Hall's finest achievements.
    For students it's an animation masterclass, and they like everyone else
    will tell you it's also a haunting, beautiful film that lingers long in the

» For historians out there, the Pied Piper played his way into legend on
        22 July 1376. He was originally offered 1000 gilders for his assistance,
        but was latterly handed just 50 as compensation. Thus the Piper took
        up his magic flute and piped three notes...



    1981 BAFTA - Harlequin Award for Drama/ Light Entertainment
    1981 Intl Children's Programming Festival - Prix Jeunesse, Best Children's Program


    The Pied Piper on DVD

     UK DVD The Pied Piper / The Reluctant Dragon
                Region 2 / double bill / Clear Vision / Sept 2002


    a child's story by Robert Browning

    director:              Mark Hall
    producers:           Brian Cosgrove, Mark Hall
    exec producer:     John Hambley
    adapted by:         Rosemary Anne Sisson
                              from the poem by Robert Browning
    music:                 David Rohl, Stuart J Wolstenholme
    animators:           Marj Graham, Barry Purves
    puppets:              Bridget Appleby
      Peter Saunders, Sue Pugh, Yvonne Fox
    sets, models
     & costumes:
       Chris Walker, David Allen, Nigel Cornford
    model camera:     Joe Dembinski, Jim Noble
    col processing:     Humphries Laboratories, Manchester
    dubbing mixers:   Ted Spooner, Jon Blunt
    editor:                 John McManus
    narrator:              Robert


      On the web

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© Cosgrove Hall Productions Ltd / F2007