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British Movie Toons
Toad Of Toad Hall

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  The Wind
 in the Willows
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  producers: Cosgrove Hall Productions
stop-motion animation
     run time: 74 mins



"Poop- poop!" - Toad, Ratty, Mole, Badger and the rest are brought into intricate,
     brilliant stop-motion life in this 1983 feature from Cosgrove Hall. All the major
     elements of Kenneth Grahame's tale are in their proper place - the Wild Wood,
     Toad messing about with motor cars, the CourtHouse, the Gaol - but there is an
     added ingredient which lifts this up above previous adaptations, and indeed, most
     subsequent efforts. It has atmosphere. Lots of it. The riverfront world of the novel
     has been beautifully captured. The models are exquisitely tailored and dressed,
     the homes filled with implements, knick-knacks, artworks and paraphenelia
     scaled down to minute proportions, the countryside rich with a variety of flora
     and fauna.

     This £400,000 film spent every last possible penny on its detail. Mole's Willow
     pattern crockery is minutely scaled down to a half-inch diameter, Ratty's jumpers
     are sewn together from real men's socks, and there even miniature copies of
     Tatler magazine and their ilk to be spied around the houses. The characters
     themselves cost £5,000 each to produce. The 9" high figures contained
     a brass ball and socket skeleton with a latex exterior.

     Cosgrove Hall's film proved to be a popular critical succes, collecting a 1983
     BAFTA and an Emmy Award as well as a 1st Prize at the Chicago Festival 1984.
     The film was the springboard into a seven-year love affair with Mr Toad and friends.
     52 episodes of The Wind in the Willows television series were made and broadcast
     from 1984 to 1987. A second tv-film 'A Tale of Two Toads' was produced in 1989,
     after which came 13 episodes of Oh! Mr Toad! a series concentrating a little
     more on Toad's antics in and around Toad Hall.

     Other film and television adaptations have come and gone before and after.
     Disney's Mr Toad was interesting, TVC's has charm, Terry Jones' live-action
     film captures the hysteria and surrealism rather well, but it's the Cosgrove Hall
     version that has truly bottled that Edwardian spirit of joie-de-vivre, merriment and
     melancholy from the original book. Oddly, though, it's success also highlights  
     a personal bug-bear with the whole Willows concept. That being the conflict
     of scale bewteen the animals and the human elements of their environment.
     Toad, Ratty, Mole and Badger are the same size as the humans, able to
     sit in motor cars and talk face-to-face with folks in the courthouse and gaol.
     It's most awkward and detracts from the naturalism of the piece. But that's
     not a sleight on Cosgrove Hall's work, rather a flaw with the original novel.
     At least, that's The Hound's perception of it anyway!...


     See also

    The Wind in the Willows (series)
    A Tale of Two Toads (feature)
    Oh! Mr Toad! (series)


The Wind in the Willows on DVD

     UK DVD
The Wind in the Willows
                Region 2 / Pearson Televsion / September 2000

     USA DVD The Wind in the Willows
                Region 1 / A&E Home Video / October 2004


from the book by Kenneth Grahame

            Mark Hall
    producers:          Mark Cosgrove, Brian Hall
    exec prod:          John Hambley
    anim director:     Chris Taylor
    adapted by:        Rosemary Anen Sissons
    music:                Keith Hopwood, Malcolm Rowe
                             arranged by Brian Ibbetson
         Brian Cosgrove, Bridget Appleby, David Hayes
    constructed by:   Peter Saunders, Neal Scanlan,
                              Rebecca Hunt, Bridget Smith
    models, sets,
     & props:
             Chris Walker, Yvonne Fox, Terry Brown
                             Jerry Andrews, John Squire, Tony Dunsterville
    animators:         Marjorie Graham, Barry Purves,
                             Andrea Lord, Sue Pugh
    costume des:     Nigel Cornford
    illustration:         Beverly Bush
    stills:                 Richard Smiles
    model camera:   Joe Dembinski
    rostrum:             Frank Hardie
    film editor:         John McManus
    asst editors:       Nibs Senior, Zygmunt Markiewicz
    dubbing mixer:   Ted Spooner
    voices:               Ian Carmichael (narrator)
                             Richard Pearson (Mole)
                             Sir Michael Hordern (Badger)
                             David Jason (Toad)
                             Peter Sallis (Rat)
                             Beryl Reid
                             Una Stubbs
                             Edward Kelsey
                             Daphne Oxenford
                             Jonathan Cecil
                             Brian Trueman
                             Alan Bardsley


      On the web

Wind in the Willows Fansite
        Nicholas Houghton's excellent fan site has info on the film and series,
        including a complete episode guide, 'making of' info, and more, plus lots
        of screen grabs...

David's Pages

        The beginnings of an episode guide here, theme WAV, screen grabs
        and a little bit more...

        Pluto Music
        Info here on the sound studio owned and operated by Keith Hopwood
        and Malcolm Rowe, who wrote the splendid songs and music for
        both the film and the subsequent series as well as many more
        Cosgrove Hall favourites...
        Cosgrove Hall Ate My Brain
       100% unofficial, but very keen and very professional. Nyanko's site
        takes an enthusiastic look at the CH CV, and much more besides...

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© Cosgrove Hall Productions / F2007