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  Short British Films &  TV Specials  

The Reluctant Dragon

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  The Reluctant Dragon    (1987)
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  producers: Cosgrove Hall Productions Ltd
stop-motion animation
    run time: 30 mins


"It's a good dragon, it's a kind dragon,
     it's a friend of mine - it writes poetry!"

    Kenneth Grahame's classic story about the knight St. George and a
    not-so-fearsome dragon is here retold by the folks at Cosgrove Hall.

    The dragon in question is discovered by a shepherd boy, in a cave overlooking
    his village. The boy is a dreamer, and dragons and nonsense don't scare him
    as they do the villagers. But he has nothing to fear, anyway, because this
    particular dragon is a rather refined character who craves nothing more than
    a little solitude:

    "I like to get my meals regular, and then prop my back against
     a rock and snooze a bit - I have such an active mind, you see.
     It's always occupied with something......"

    And that "something" happens to be poetry, for he likes to wile away his
    time composing stanzas of verse, with ne'er a violent thought in his head.
    Meanwhile, the villagers have called in brave St.George to slay the deadly
    beast, and they will not listen to the boy's pleas for calm. So the boy visits
    the Knight, where he finds that, underneath the balderdash and piffle,
    St. George isn't quite the fearless hero he's cracked up to me
. Thus
    the boy brings his reluctant Knight to meet his reluctant foe and the
    three conspire to fool the villagers and leave each unharmed, with
    reputations intact...
        Reluctant St. George
    It's a thin story, and a familiar one, but this is a delightful retelling. As you'd
    expect, the Cosgrove Hall team bring us magnificent puppets and sets, some
    lovely character animation, and perfect voice casting. The set design is quite
    stylised for its time, with the landscape sporting distinct rakings and markings
    on the rocks and grass. There are some splendid cut-away crowd scenes
    at the end, with cavorting children and the like - just lovely observational
    snapshots. And there's some playful editing and camerawork as St. George
    arrives, and during the titanic duel. It all ends with our trio walking into
    the night, hand-in-hand, against a big silver moon, as Mike Harding's simple
    theme takes flight. It's a very charming film...

» "The Reluctant Dragon" was previously animated by Walt Disney in 1941.

    » Kenneth Grahame's tale features in his collection of short stories,
        entitled "Dream Days" and first published in 1898 - ten years
        his most famous work "The Wind in the Willows".

» Cosgrove Hall are no strangers to Grahame's work. In 1983 they brought
        The Wind in the Willows into award-winning life. They followed it up with
        an equally-successful series. In 1989 they brought us the spin-off tale
        A Tale of Two Toads and a second new series Oh! Mr Toad! starring
        the irrascible Toad of Toad Hall, Ratty, Mole and Badger in all-new
        adventures and escapades...


    Dragon poetry

     An introduction:
    "There once lived a prince among dragons,
     An exquisite dragon was he,
     Not quite green and hardly blue,
     But greeny-blue, just like the sea."

     A work in progress:

    "A dragon of taste, charm and wit,
     said 'I do not like fighting, not a bit...'
     In conclusion:
"Here's a dragon of taste, charm and wit,
    Who's been round the world quite a bit,
    Dare I state off the cuff, I have travelled enough,
    There's a place I've found friends - this is it.

    In conclusion I'd just like to say,
    That's it's been a remarkable day,
    You've all been so kind, I'm sure you won't mind,
    If I tell you I think I might stay


    A reluctant DVD

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


     director:         Bridget Appleby
    producers:      Brian Cosgrove, Mark Hall
                          with grateful thanks to Frank Moynihan
    assoc prod:     Chris Taylor
    exec prod:      John Hambley
    adapted by:    Willis Hall
                          based on the book by Kenneth Grahame
    music:            Mike Harding
    animators:      Loyd Price, Rachel Robinson,
                          Claire Bissiker, Sue Pugh,
                          Stuart Sutcliffe
    puppets:         Bridget Appleby, Noel Baker,
                          Colin Batty, Peter Bentley,
                          Clare Elliott, Ian MacKinnon,
                          Marcia Pidgeon, Peter Saunders,
                          Bridget Smith
    sets:               Bridget Appleby, Jeff Spain,
                          Rowena D Kidd, Graham Maiden,
                          Rick Kent, Pail Simpson,
                          Pippa Lewis, Jim Bridge,  
                          Terry Brown, Chris Walker
    costumes:       Nigel Cornford, Helen Plaumer
    illustrations:    Maggie Riley
    film editor:      Patrick Haggerty
    dub mixer:      Ted Spooner
    lighting cam:   Joe Dembinski    
    voices:            Martin Jarvis (Narrator / Boy / Father)
                          Simon Callow
                          Robin Bailey (St George)
                          Daphne Oxenford (Mother)
                          Brian Trueman
                          Jimmy Hibbert
                          Edward Kelsey


      On the web

      No links right now...

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© Cosgrove Hall Productions Ltd / F2007