|The Wind in the Willows|
|Directed by||Mark Hall|
|Produced by||Brian Cosgrove|
|Written by||Rosemary Anne Sisson (Screenplay)|
|Based on||The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame|
|Music by||Keith Hopwood|
|Edited by||John McManus|
Cosgrove Hall Films
|Distributed by||Independent Television (ITV)|
|27 December 1983 (UK)|
The Wind in the Willows is a 1983 British stop motion animated film produced by Cosgrove Hall Films (Same Team behind Truckers) for Thames Television and aired on the ITV network. The film is based on Kenneth Grahame's classic story The Wind in the Willows. It won a BAFTA award and an international Emmy award.
Between 1984 and 1990, Cosgrove-Hall subsequently made a 52-episode television series, with the film serving as a pilot for the series. The film's music and songs are composed by Keith Hopwood, late of Herman's Hermits, and Malcolm Rowe. The Stone Roses guitarist John Squire worked on the series as a set artist. Voice actors include David Jason, Ian Carmichael, and Michael Hordern.
Fed up with spring cleaning, Mole (Richard Pearson) ventures out of his underground home. He goes for a walk in the countryside and soon comes to the river where he meets and befriends Ratty (Ian Carmichael), for whom the river is home. Rat is eager for Mole to have new experiences and takes him on a journey down the river in his boat. While having a picnic, they notice Badger (Michael Hordern) in the undergrowth. Rat invites him to join them, but he declines abruptly and continues on his way. Rat reflects that Badger is kind but insular, not caring for society and social events. Mole asks where he lives, and Rat explains that Badger's domain, the Wild Wood, is not a safe place for animals such as themselves. Mole asks what kind of creatures live there that make it so dangerous, but is interrupted by the arrival of the Chief Weasel (David Jason) and his henchman. While the Chief distracts them with pleasantries, his henchman steals a jar of potted meat. Ratty then warns Mole that, though the weasels might seem "alright in a way", they are not to be trusted. He then takes Mole to visit Toad (also voiced by David Jason) at his grand residence, Toad Hall. Toad invites them to join him on a road trip in his latest source of amusement, a garishly-decorated gypsy caravan, with his horse Alfred pulling the vehicle. On the group's first camp out for the night, Ratty quietly reminisces about his home on the river, but declines Mole's suggestion that they return. The following day, disaster strikes as a passing motorcar spooks Alfred and sends the caravan careering into a ditch. Toad impulsively decides that motor cars are his calling in life, and he derides the "nasty, common, canary-coloured cart" as antiquated, proclaiming that motorcars are the only way to travel. Rat and Mole can do nothing but look on as Toad buys and quickly crashes his cars one after another. Summer and autumn go by, and by winter, Rat and Mole have had enough and decide to call on Badger to see if he can curb Toad's enthusiasm for reckless driving. Rat says it's too late in the day to go to the Wild Wood, so Mole sets out alone to find Badger after Rat falls asleep in front of the fire.
Mole reaches the border of the Wild Wood and encounters a weasel on the road. Forgetting Rat's advice never to trust the weasels, he asks for directions to Badger's house and is sent the wrong way. As night falls he becomes lost and confused by the strange sights and sounds of the woods. The weasels begin stalking him, and the terrified Mole stumbles over tree roots in his desperation to get away. Lying exhausted in the snow, he calls out for Rat, who is awakened by the crackling fire back at the riverbank. He reads a note left by Mole, explaining where he has gone. Fearing the worst, Rat takes a brace of pistols and a cudgel and ventures into the Wild Wood. After some time searching, he finds a collapsed Mole, who has literally stumbled across Badger's house, having tripped Badger's door scraper buried in the snow. Initially angry at being disturbed, Badger is pleasantly surprised to see that it's Rat and Mole. He invites them inside and they warm themselves by the fire, discussing Toad's incorrigible passion for frivolous driving. The next morning they visit Toad Hall and Badger interrogates Toad, but Toad still refuses to take their advice to stay away from motorcars. Confessing that Toad's obsession is worse than he feared, Badger has Toad locked in his bedroom, under close supervision by Rat and Mole. The next day, Toad feigns illness and asks Ratty to fetch a lawyer. Toad then escapes and flags down a passing motorist named Reggie (Jonathan Cecil), who continually mistakes him for a frog, and his wife Rosemary (Una Stubbs). Posing as a fellow motorist, Toad asks them to inspect his "flat crank shaft" and steals their car as soon as they step out of it. Speeding away down the road, he almost collides with a constable, who he calls "fat face" as he passes by. Meanwhile, Mole breaks down in tears after he catches the scent of his home on the breeze. Rat feels terrible for not having noticed the signs that Mole was homesick, and he insists that they return to Mole End for Christmas. Some young field mice come carol singing and Rat and Mole invite them inside for Christmas dinner. When the field mice inform them that Toad has been arrested, the pair become consumed with guilt for their friend.
In the courtroom, the jury box is packed with weasels and the magistrate, Mrs. Carrington-Moss (Beryl Reid), sentences Toad to "twelve months for the theft, three years for furious driving, and fifteen years for the cheek", with another year added "for being green", a total of twenty years incarceration. The jailer's daughter (also voiced by Una Stubbs) feels bad about Toad's disproportionate punishment and decides to help him escape by disguising him as a washerwoman. Toad uses the disguise to walk out of the prison gates and makes his way to a railway station, where he tricks a train driver (Edward Kelsey) into giving him a free ride home. However, it isn't long until another train with the police, Reggie and Rosemary, Mrs. Carrington-Moss and the jailer are pursuing him. Toad's identity is discovered by the driver, who pushes him off the train and he tumbles down the side of a hill and into a field. Toad then calls in at Ratty's house, where he is told by Mole that the weasels have overpowered Badger, thrown him out of Toad Hall and secured themselves inside. Toad is dismayed, but Badger has a plan to take back Toad Hall via a secret tunnel, the existence of which was confided in Badger by Toad's late father. Mole, using Toad's washerwoman disguise and under the instruction of Badger, pays a visit to the weasels and tells them that they will be attacked by an army of bloodthirsty badgers, rats and toads. The story is false, concocted by badger, but succeeds in weakening the morale of the enemy, as the Chief Weasel places most of his men at the gates and on the walls, which will make retaking the Toad Hall from the inside that much easier. The following night, the friends sneak through the tunnel and surprise the weasels in the banqueting hall. Toad spends most of the battle swinging from the chandeliers, but eventually falls on the Chief Weasel, knocking him unconscious. After victory, Badger, Mole and Ratty settle down and look forward to a peaceful future, until Toad flies overhead in his new "Flying Machine" contraption. Toad's engine suddenly stalls and he crashes into the river. During the end credits, the river bankers are pulling Toad and his machine out of the river.
Behind the Scenes
The weasels have a greater role and are considerably more villainous and menacing in this adaptation of Kenneth Grahame's beloved story. The main banqueting hall and grand staircase of Toad Hall were inspired by the ones in Leap Castle in Ireland.
- David Jason as Toad and Chief Weasel
- Richard Pearson as Mole
- Ian Carmichael as Rat
- Michael Hordern as Badger
- Beryl Reid as Mrs. Carrington-Moss
- Una Stubbs as the Jailor's daughter and Rosemary
- Jonathan Cecil as Reggie, the motorist
- Brian Trueman as Henchman Weasel and various voices
- Allan Bardsley as Alfred the Horse, the Policeman, and the Jailer
- Edward Kelsey as the Engine Driver and the Clerk
- The Wind in the Willows (1987 film)
- Wind in the Willows (1988 film)
- The Wind in the Willows (1995 film)
- The Wind in the Willows (1996 film)
- "BAFTA Awards - Television - Children's Programme - Entertainment/Drama in 1984". BAFTA. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
- Priebe, Ken A. (26 January 2011). "The Advanced Art of Stop-Motion Animation: History of Stop-Motion Feature Films: Part 2". Animation World Network. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
- "The Wind in the Willows". Britmovie. Retrieved 8 December 2013.
- https://onceuponaspice.com/2016/03/16/leap-castle-of-ireland-the-most-haunted-in-the-world-2. Missing or empty
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