The Wind in the Willows – Cosgrove Hall

JOHN HAMBLEY, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF COSGROVE HALL PRODUCTIONS, TELLS HOW THEY APPROACHED THE ADAPTATION OF A CLASSIC BOOK INTO AN ANIMATED FILM.

The classics of English children’s literature are a privileged inheritance, treasures to be freely shared and lovingly passed on in the hope of fresh responses from new generations. Except for THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS. That, it seems, is a work which is taken immediately into the private and exclusive ownership of each one of its readers. How else to explain the reactions my colleagues and I have had to the news that we are turning Kenneth Grahame’s beautiful story into an animated film?

The Wind in the Willows – Cosgrove Hall

Yet from the beginning, producer-director Mark Hall and his team have aspired to something beyond historical precision: that is to be faithful not simply to the book, but to the book’s enchantment.. That ambition has taken everyone into uncharted areas of their craft. Designers and model engineers have been challenged to produce characters who’s physical … Read more

The Wind in the Willows – Cosgrove Hall

A number of puppet animators have written to Animator’s Newsletter about the difficulty they had in keeping figures stood up or moving them about without falling over. What the puppet department at Cosgrove Hall use is a sheet of metal, which can be obtained from any local sheet metal firm, 20 or 22 gauge. On this the sets are built and the puppets have a small metal plate on their feet. Then a magnet is placed under the table to hold them in position.

Cosgrove-Hall Productions (page 1 of 3)

ANIMATED PRODUCTIONS FROM COSGROVE-HALL RANGE FROM THE TV SERIES “DANGERMOUSE” TO THE FEATURE LENGTH “WIND IN THE WILLOWS”.

FRANK BAKER LOOKS AT HOW THEY GOT STARTED.

The early part of Brian Cosgrove and Mark Hall’s story reminds me of two other animators, Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks. As two students Brian and Mark met at Art College, and their paths were to cross again some years later when they both joined Granada Televisions’ Graphics Department.

Cosgrove-Hall Productions (page 2 of 3)

Each model animation production shows advances in technique. By using modern materials Cosgrove Hall’s young designers and model engineers have taken animation into entirely new areas such as the facial movements and lip synchronization in THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS. Some of the techniques used by the company, including chemical formulae of modelling plastics and the design features of the puppet skeletons, are trade secrets.

Cosgrove-Hall Productions (page 3 of 3)

Taking fourteen months from conception to completion, once again the Cosgrove Hall mark of quality shows through. This cartoon special tells a wonderful magical tale in the Walt Disney tradition with that extra punch that has been lacking in all the recent Disney features.
The characters are many in this cartoon but each holds his own.

The Brussels Super 8 International Film Festival 1983

I hope I have a fairly open mind about experimental work, I like to see people trying something new, but I have to say that I found 90% of the experimental films to be a complete waste of film-stock. Obviously there were good examples, I thought one of the very best films in the competition was an experimental film.

The Brussels Super 8 International Film Festival 1983

Along with all the routine pixillation, I had the pleasure of seeing the best example I’ve seen anywhere. It was called BONNE SOIREE. This Canadian film showed a man sitting down in front of his television. The camera was kept in one position. We saw the back of the man in his armchair and across the room in front of him was his television. A series of bizarre and very funny pixillated events then took place between the man and the television set – none of which he appears to notice. It used the technique to good effect, and was just the right length – stopping while we were still enjoying the film.

The Shadows Move – the 1950s (page 1 of 4)

IN PART FIVE KEN CLARK TAKES THE STORY OF BRITISH ANIMATION INTO THE 50s AND THE PRODUCTION OF BRITAIN’S FIRST FEATURE LENGTH CARTOON FILM No survey of British animation would be complete without a mention of the many small studios who survived the war and continued to produce films well into the peace that followed: … Read more