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   Now we're looking at the hidden detail in "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" (Aardman/DreamWorks)
   The hidden detail in
   Curse of the Were-Rabbit


   Our last little trip down the Aardman tunnels to Ratropolis turned
   out to be a gnawing success. So The Hound at Toonhound has once
   again taken the time out of his busy schedule of walks, barks and
   wags to settle down in his kennel and rewind another Aardman
   classic, just for you. This time, we're putting that award-munching
   hit film "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" under the
   moon - er - spotlight, and as you'll see, it's got a veritable salad's
   worth of hidden detail in its DVD furrows. So if you're sitting
   comfortably... lettuce begin...



                  "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" (Aardman/DreamWorks)

   00.36 -  Crikey. The opening credits are still rolling when this gem pops up. It's a
                  framed photograph of Gromit graduating from Dogwart's University (1).
                  That's a spoof of Harry Potter's famous wizarding school "Hogwart's",
                  of course...

                  And instead of flying ducks, our duo have a series of flying orange
                  spaceships on their wall (2). That's the moon rocket Wallace built in
                  the duo's very first stop-motion outing, A Grand Day Out....

                  "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" (Aardman/DreamWorks)
.08 -  Now here's our first proper in-joke. The greengrocer is called "Harvey's".
                 That's lifted from the movie "Harvey" (1950), in which barfly Jimmy
                 Stewart starred alongside his own imaginery giant rabbit pal.

                 The store is actually one of three in the street, all with spoof names,
                 as we'll discover shortly...

   02.43 - The photos with the eyes lighting up is a homage to that classic Gerry
                Anderson TV series Thunderbirds (1966). If you recall the show, there
                were portaits of each of Jeff Tracy's siblings lined up on the walls of
                International Rescue's HQ on Tracy Island, and the appropriate portrait
                would light up, as each of the boys made contact...

   03.32 - And it goes on. This whole departure sequence continues to pay
                 homage to "Thunderbirds". The show was, and still is, a hugely
                 influential production, imposing itself on the formative minds
                 of a generation of future film makers, artists and designers...
03.55 - Hmm. There's an A-Z street map of Wigan on the dashboard of the
                 van. Folks across the pond and beyond might not know that Wigan
                 is one of UK's great "northern" towns and the various Wallace & Gromit
                 films and shorts often play up their brash and brassy northern lineage...

                "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" (Aardman/DreamWorks)

   06.59 - Now this odd. There's a calendar on the side of the SMUG (SMEG)
                fridge here, and two fridge magnets, and they look very in-jokey, but it's
                so difficult to make out the detail.. *gnash*... . What we can say for sure is,
                all three of  these items are missing when we return to the kitchen at
                24.38... Don't say it too loudly, but it looks like it might be a continuity
                error. You can check it out for yourself, anyway, if you keep watching
                and reading...

                 "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" (Aardman/DreamWorks)

07.47 - There are always spoof products a-plenty in Wallace and Gromit's
                West Wallaby Street
home. It's been that way since their first adventure,
                A Grand Day Out, and we could sit here all day pointing out the product
                placements, and what they're referring to. That Middle Age Spread jar (1)
                is self-explanatory, playing on the fact that poor old Wallace has just
                got stuck in that trapdoor in the ceiling. But there's also a particularly
                UK-centric joke here, in the shape of that bottle of Mummie's Sauce (2).
                It's playing on the popularity of a particular brown ketchup billed as
                Daddie's Sauce. It's a cafe classic for us Brits...

                 "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" (Aardman/DreamWorks)

   08.11 - Hmm. That scoreline on the back of "The Morning Post" could be bit of
                wish fulfilment for Nick Park and co. Someone's beaten Manchester
                10-0. Could it be Preston North End? - Nick's a lifelong fan of that
                football club and he's referenced them in other Wallace and Gromit
                productions. But even if we're wide of the mark, the notion of any
                team beating another from Manchester by a wide margin plays up
                the old northern rivalry that exists between towns and clubs from
                the region...

                 "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" (Aardman/DreamWorks)

09.30 - Spoof books ahoy! - Wallace's works are all cheese-related riffs on
                classic titles. So we have:

             Waiting for Gouda (Waiting for Godot)
             Fromage to Eternity (From Here to Eternity)
             Grated Expectations (Great Expectations)
             East of Edam (East of Eden)
             Swiss Cheese Family Robinson (Swiss Family Robinson)
             Brie Encounter (Brief Encounter)
             How Green Was My Cheese
(How Green was my Valley)
             Brighton Roquefort (Brighton Rock)
             The Hunt for Red Leicester (The Hunt for Red October)

                "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" (Aardman/DreamWorks)

   11.18 - The interiors of Tottington Hall are festooned with faux art pieces,
                 representing the Tottingtons through the ages (1) (2).

                And Fashion buffs should also keep their eye on Lady T's delightful
                dresses. They're all based upon various vegetables, beginning with
                this pea flower design (3)...

  11.30 - By the way, what's in a name? - Lots, actually, in Aardmanland.
               Posh ladies are known to "totter" around their stately homes. Equally,
               posh boys like to refer to their scrumptious lady friends as "totty".
               Hence, Lady Tottington.

               And in Victor Quatermaine's case, we can giggle at his surname and
               how it reflects upon his own personality. If you know your Rider Haggard
               books, you'll recall that the khaki-clad, gun-toting, action-seeking hunter
               who stars in "King Solomon's Mines" goes by the name of Allan
               Quatermain. Victor is a rather poor hunter and adventurer, in
               comparision, wouldn't you say?
                "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" (Aardman/DreamWorks)

Tee-hee! - Wallace is reading a copy of "Ay-up!" magazine. That's
                a colloquial northern greeting, here in the UK, and it's being used as                
                a spoof on that famolus celebrity chat magazine "OK!".

                There are spoofs within those sub headlines too. "Shed Pounds"
                references the great tradition of menfolk inhabiting their garden sheds
                to escape from "her indoors". There's also a reference to "Rude Veg"
                and a picture of a farmer holding up some rather phallic crop. That's
                another Brit-centric favourite, that is. Rude and knobbly vegetables
                appear in our magazine shows and tabloid publications all the time!

   18.46 - And now, on the back cover there's an advertisement that says "Welcome
                to Wensleydale" which is yet another northern reference. Wensleydale is
                both a place, and a type of cheese, and it's one of Wallace's favourites.
               That same ad also features a sheep not unlike the ones who star in
               "Shaun the Sheep", Aardman's hit TV spin-off...
   20.25 - Two spoof vinyl records here. Instead of Gustav Holst's Planet Suite
                 (1914-1916) we have "The Plant Suite" with radishes and onions on
                 the cover. And there's a P.E.A. (R.C.A.) record of Elvis Parsley
                 (Presley) singing "Blue Swede Shoes" (Blue Suede Shoes)...

   21.05 - That stone figure protecting the vegetables is Frank the Tortoise from
                 Nick Park's original "Creature Comforts" film...

   22.12 - Rev. Hedges' greenhouse features a super stained glass window. It depicts
                a mother with a crying infant, hushing an angelic orchestra. And between
                them and her, three not-so wise men have their fingers in their ears!

   24.38 - Have you been keeping notes? - Good! - You can see now, the cale
                 and the fridge magnets from 06.59 have indeed disappeared from the
                 duo's refridgerator... So is this a continuity error?

   27.45 - Onwards now, and you don't need a screen grab to see how Lady T is
                depicted as a veritable angel in this church scene. Whilst, moments later,
                Victor is exposed as a cunning little devil. These super little moments lift
                the film head and shoulders above the cartoon crowd...

                Oh, and fashion-buffs, ahoy. Lady Tottington is now dressed up as
                a beautiful beetroot...

   30.26 - Hmm. That Barber's Shop next to Harvey's is named after the third
                Wallace & Gromit film, A Close Shave...

   30.31 - The letters on the car radio buttons spell out MUTT = DOG = Geddit?
                And that snippet of a song on the airwaves, as Gromit glowers is
                from "Bright Eyes", the hit theme tune of "Watership Down" (1978).
                Thast film is infested with rabbits, so it is...

               "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" (Aardman/DreamWorks)

   30.34 - Here's our third grand shop, at last. Rare Bit is a traditional Welsh
                dish of cheese on toast. Here, it's being used as the name of an antiques
                store, hence "Rare Bits". But also, it's riffing on its pronunciation of course.
                Rare Bits = Rabbits = Geddit?

                "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" (Aardman/DreamWorks)
   32.07 - Well lookee here, "Bean" Martin is in concert. Bean Martin = Dean
                Martin = Geddit, again?

   36.36 - Gromit's got a BOTCH rivet gun here. BOTCH being a play on the
                name of that famous tool design and engineering firm BOSCH.
                Let's hope he doesn't do a "botch job" with it...

   38.40 - Fashion time. Lady Tottington is now wearing a green
                frond print..

                "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" (Aardman/DreamWorks)

   43.45 - Right there! - Hit your pause button! - There's just something about
                Wallace's gibbering pose as his transformation gathers pace... Those
                teeth.. the shirt and braces... He looks exactly like Jim Dale transforming
                at the climax of "Carry on Screaming" (1966). In fact, the whole of this
                wonderful film is imbued with that same giddy mixture of horror, sauce
                and silliness...

   45.37 - Oh, the magazine cover for "Pro Nun Wrestling" is just fab. Along
                 with its habits and wimples it includes a free Mother Superior poster!

                "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" (Aardman/DreamWorks)

   45.42 - And this is why Aardman win Oscars, folks. Rev. Hedges' volume is
                quite magnificent. It takes its title from a series of hugely popular
                UK guide books. The first Observer's guide was published in 1937,
                and there were 100 titles produced up to 2003. Lots of folks grew up
                with these encyclopedic guides to all sorts of worldly things.

                "The Observer's Book of Monsters" is written by Claude Savagely
                (ouch) (1), and the book's big wax seal (2) features a hammer and
                stake, a cross and a number of silver bullets - perfect for stopping
                all kinds of mythical monsters in their tracks!

                Thereafter, we're shown four fabulous entries within this guide book.
                They're designed after that famous German woodcutting of Vlad the
                Impaler feasting before his victims (circa 1499ad), and each entry
                has its own spoof latin name. Here are the four:

                The Loch Ness Monster (touristis trappus)
             Big Foot (enormus flippis-floppus)
             Were-Cow (numerous pendulus-udderis)
             Were-Rabbit (carrotus apetitus giganticus)

                There's more latin encircling each illustration, but deciphering it all
                has proven too tricky, thus far...

                "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" (Aardman/DreamWorks)

   47.10 - The Rev. tells Victor Quartermaine that a Were-Rabbit can only be
                 killed with a golden bullet - and a 24 carat one, at that. This is a
                 vegetarian twist on the old werewolf legends which said such
                 creatures could only be killed with a silver bullet, and was
                 conceived by DreamWorks honcho Jeffrey Katzenburg, during
                 story meetings...

                "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" (Aardman/DreamWorks)

   47.13 - Oh, now this really is something that freezeframing was invented for.
                As Rev. Hedges cries out and the lightning flashes, we withdraw past
                two framed photos. Pausing the film reveals the film's co-directors
                Nick Park (1) and Steve Box (2) dressed up as toothy vicars!

   47.31 - "The Morning Post" newspaper is a West Wallaby St regular, and
                 has featured in previous W&G outings. When ever it appears in
                 "Curse of the Were-Rabbit" its headlines are skewed towards various
                 vegetarian japes and rabbity puns. Here, we're told there's "Gnaw Relief"
                 from the beast at large. Oh, and the paper itself is billed as being
                 "The paper with its finger on the pulses" (groan)...

   48.35 - Wallace lands in his chair for breakfast, with great rabbity ears and
                 a carrot in his hand as he asks "What's Up, dog?". That's a super
                 Looney Tunes reference, of course, because "What's up, doc?" is
                 the catchphrase of that wonderful wisecracker, Bugs Bunny...

                "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" (Aardman/DreamWorks)

   49.28 - Just a directional aside, for us to savour. Look how Wallace's rabbity
                 head marries up to the newspaper photo. And look at all those
                 veglines - I mean - headlines. It's a super, classy shot that shows
                 yet again
why this film was a deserved Oscar-winner!

   52.42 - He's already wearing Wallace's green cardigan and slippers, but now,
                Hutch is even lifting quotes from the great man. "The bounce has gone
                from his bungee!" was first spoken by Wallace in A Close Shave,
                whilst he was in Wendolene's wool shop. Part of the Wash'n'Go
                window cleaning service featured Gromit tied to a bungee chord to
                speed up the cleaning process...

               "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" (Aardman/DreamWorks)

   57.15 - The Were-Rabbit has been killed. Everyone celebrates. But you'd do
                 well to keep your eye on Mr Growbag here, because you'll see that he
                 reaches down surreptiously and snips a sip from a can of fertilizer!

                "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" (Aardman/DreamWorks)

   57.38 - Look at the vegetarian acts on this rock'n'roll concert poster. Headlining
                the "rock around the crop" are Cark Gherkins (Carl Perkins) and
                Roy Aubergine (Roy Orbison)!

   58.23 - Woo! - Pretty! - Just for a second, the Tottington Hall fireworks combine
                 to make a rabbit shape in the night sky...

                "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" (Aardman/DreamWorks)

   59.05 - Cats'n' Burgers? - Hmm - This fast food sign is clearly a nod to Jeffrey
                Katzenberg of DreamWorks SKG...

   59.45 - Fashionable fans will note, Lady Tottington is now dressed as a carrot...

                "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" (Aardman/DreamWorks)

   59.48 - Another little aside for you here. Keep your eye on that lad in the
                balaclava, as everyone panics. They're all running around, hands in
                the air. But our boy is frozen to the spot with shock. He just crosses
                his eyes and faints out of frame - brilliant!

                 "Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit" (Aardman/DreamWorks)

   63.05 - That book on the antiques store, the one with Springfield on the spine,
                 is it a rabbity reference, or something to do with The Simpsons? - Actually,
                 it's neither. It's Springfield, next to a rifle = Springfield Rifle = So The
                 Hound reckons...

   64.25 - Yes, it's all gone "King Kong" (1933) hasn't it? - The Were-Rabbit is
                 scaling Tottington Hall with Lady Tottington in his arms, just like that
                 famous suequence at the end of the Merian C Cooper film, when Kong
                 climbs the Empire State Building with Fay Wray in his clutches. It's
                 also harking back to the climax of "Curse of the Werewolf" (1961),
                 Hammer's horror gem starring Oliver Reed...

   65.02 - The dog-fight that ensues between Gromit and Phillip, in those
                 coin-operated planes is a nod to all those classic British war movies.
                 Gromit - our hero - jumps in the British plane, whilst nasty Phillip
                 pursues him like that Germanic scourge of the skies, the Red Baron!

   66.00"Get your hairy mitts off my future wife, you big brute!"

                 Victor's line is an unabashed spoof of Charlton Heston's classic quote
                 from "Planet of the Apes" (1968). If you need reminding, the original is:
                 "Get your stinking paws off me, you damn dirty ape!"

                 Oh, and just some extra detail. Isn't it great how the Were-Rabbit
                 takes a suruptious nibble of Lady Tottington's headpiece? She's
                 dressed up like a tempting carrot, after all...                

    72.33 - Gromit uses a slice of Stinking Bishop to revive Wallace. Overseas
                 viewers may be surprised to learn this is no joke. It's a real cheese,
                 and it is indeed, really smelly...

    74.01 - Lady Tottington just has to have the last word, doesn't she?
                 As we reach our climax, she's now dressed up as a giant sweetcorn!


    And that, as they say, is that. Or probably not. You've probably found loads more
    hidden stuff in this cracking film, and if you have, why not get in touch and share
    it with the world?

    There's always so much to find in Aardman's feature films. It's why they're so
    revered, and digging up the detail and sharing it with you guys has been great
    fun, so far...

    Till next time!

       Pooch says 'Stay tooned!'
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