The Wind in the Willows is the first segment of The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad, narrated by Basil Rathbone. The other half of the animated feature was based on the unrelated short story, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. It was reissued as a stand-alone short in the 1950s.
The Wind in the Willows is based on the children’s book by the British novelist Kenneth Grahame, first published in 1908. Alternating between slow- and fast-paced, it focuses on four anthropomorphic animals: Mole, Rat, Toad, and Badger. They live in a pastoral version of Edwardian England.
“If you want to preserve your power indefinitely, you have to get the consent of the ruled”
– Aldous Huxley
This is an interview by Mike Wallace that took place on May 18, 1958, from the Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas at Austin, in which Huxley foretells a future when telegenic presidential hopefuls use television to rise to power, technology takes over, drugs grab hold, and frightful dictatorships rule us all.
“I’d rather be myself,” he said. “Myself and nasty. Not somebody else, however jolly.”
– Bernard Marx
*From the Aldous Huxley novel Brave New World published in 1932.
Frankenweenie is a 1984 featurette directed by Tim Burton and co-written by Burton with Leonard Ripps. It is both a parody and homage to the 1931 film Frankenstein based on Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein. Burton later directed a feature-length stop-motion animated remake of Frankenweenie, released in 2012.
I have recently had the pleasure of reading Richard Adams’ 1978 novel Watership Down, and have decided that it is now among my top-three favorite novels of all time. I highly recommend reading the novel and then watching this beautifully done animation. Thanks for watching!
Richard Adams was an English novelist and writer of the books Watership Down, Shardik, and The Plague Dogs. Adams originally began telling the story that would become Watership Down to his two daughters on a long car trip. They eventually insisted that he publish it as a book. He began writing in 1966, taking two years to complete it. In 1972, after four publishers and three writers’ agencies turned down the manuscript, Rex Collings agreed to publish the work. The book gained international acclaim almost immediately for reinvigorating anthropomorphic fiction with naturalism. In 1974, two years after Watership Down was published, Adams became a full-time author.
Watership Down is a survival and adventure novel set in southern England, around Hampshire. The story features a small group of rabbits. Although they live in burrows in their natural wild environment, they are anthropomorphized, possessing their own culture, language, proverbs, poetry, and mythology. Evoking epic themes, the novel follows the rabbits as they escape the destruction of their warren and seek a place to establish a new home, encountering perils and temptations along the way.
The British animated adventure-drama film adaptation of Watership Down was released in 1978 and was written, produced, and directed by Martin Rosen and based on the 1972 novel by Richard Adams. It was financed by a consortium of British financial institutions and was distributed by Cinema International Corporation in the United Kingdom.
It features the voices of John Hurt, Richard Briers, Harry Andrews, Simon Cadell, Nigel Hawthorne and Roy Kinnear, among others, and was the last film work of Zero Mostel, as the voice of Kehaar the gull. The musical score was by Angela Morley and Malcolm Williamson. Art Garfunkel’s hit song Bright Eyes was written by songwriter Mike Batt.
Animation Supervisor: Philip Duncan
Animation Director: Tony Guy
Senior Animators: Arthur Humberstone, George Jackson, Tony Guy, and Philip Duncan
Animators: Edric Raddage, Bill Littlejohn, Ruth Kissane, John Perkins, Ralph Ayres, Brian Foster, Chris Evans, Marie Szmichowska, Alan Simpson, Colin White, Doug Jensen, Bill Geach, Spud Houston, and Barrie Nelson
Still my favorite animated adaptation of my favorite classic Christmas tale, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.
A Christmas Carol, based on the Classic 1843 novel written by Charles Dickens, was directed by Richard Williams and its visual style is also largely due to Ken Harris, credited as “Master Animator”. It starred Alastair Sim as the voice of Ebenezer Scrooge — a role Sim had previously performed in the 1951 live-action film Scrooge. Michael Hordern likewise reprised his 1951 performance as Marley’s Ghost in the same film. Michael Redgrave narrated the story and veteran animator Chuck Jones served as executive producer. Williams’ son Alexander Williams, then aged four, provided the voice for Tiny Tim.
This adaptation of A Christmas Carol has a distinctive look, created by multiple pans and zooms and by innovative, unexpected scene transitions. The visual style, which is unusually powerful, is inspired by 19th century engraved illustrations of the original story by John Leech and the pen and ink renderings by illustrator Milo Winter that graced 1930s editions of the book. The intended audience does not include young children, and the film’s bleak mood and emphasis on darkness and shadows lead some to consider it the most frightening of the many dramatizations of the Dickens classic.
Originally produced as a 1971 television special, A Christmas Carol was considered so well done that it was subsequently released theatrically, thereby rendering it eligible for Oscar consideration, and the film did go on to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film for 1972. Some industry insiders took issue that a short originally shown on television was given the award, and the Academy responded by changing its policy, disqualifying any future works initially shown on television.
I recently had this wonderful Roger Rabbit trilogy signed by the original creator of Roger Rabbit himself, Gary K. Wolf. He is one of the kindest and most down-to-Earth artists I have ever had the pleasure of talking to.
For Gary K. Wolf, a simple philosophy of believing in an idea and seeing it through – whether it be a blue cow or a madcap rabbit – paid off. “I color cows blue,” he says, “and make people happy! That’s my fondest childhood dream come true.”
Gary K. Wolf is an American author. He is best known as the author of Who Censored Roger Rabbit?, which was adapted into the hit feature-length film Who Framed Roger Rabbit?