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Ruddigore / Tales from Hoffnung [DVD]
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 17 February 2009
I bought this DVD for the Ruddigore animation which I had seen on TV some years previously. The Hoffnung cartoons are good, but require a certain mindset to find them funny. Gilbert and Sullivan on the other hand always had a good strong narrative structure and Ruddigore, with its burlesque of late Victorian melodrama has both a good plot as well as sublime music. The sound is a trifle odd and has always reminded me of an edited (not every line of dialogue is there, and it is the Toye version of 1920) D'Oyly Carte recording in an empty theatre, the ambiance is a trifle echoey. The animation is stylised but satisfying, the character designs angular but quite acceptible. The way the coming of the curse is portrayed and also the Ghosts High Noon sequence is wittily constructed and I would say that this disc was a worthwhile purchase.
You'll wish you could still get it! There are not enough DVD recordings of Ruddigore, just this and the '82 Brent Walker with Keith Michell as Robin Oakapple and Vincent Price as Sir Daspard... I wish recordings had been made of the D'Oyly Carte on stage....
With regard to the whole disc, I would like to see more British Animation made available; Halas and Batchelor were a significant force in the UK but still get subsumed under the weight of US animation even when the American films are dross.
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on 27 March 2015
Being in the running for the world's biggest "Ruddigore" fan, I had wanted to see this version for half a century, but never had the chance until this year, when I discovered it was on YouTube. After watching it twice there, I decided my life would not be complete without a copy of my own. What an age we live in!
I am not sure I would have liked it as much in 1964 as I do having first met it in 2015. By and large, I find the "full" animation style of "Snow White" more pleasing than the minimalist school of the 1960s. But I did love "Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol" from its first broadcast, so maybe, at 20, I could have appreciated the H&B "Ruddigore." Its minimalism is deceptive. In their apparently simple lines, the facial expressions alone add whole new depths to the story.
Yes, much is gone -- even, believe it or not, Rose's book of etiquette! But exactly what was sacrificed to get it down to under an hour makes a fascinating study in itself. And what remains is the heart of the story, given in lively, winning fashion that steps right along without seeming rushed, and makes full animation use of the ghostliness. (What a pity this approach to the agonies would be difficult to translate to the stage!)
I would recommend this for every G&S collection that includes video recordings (whatever format). Someday I may even watch the "Tales of Hoffnung."
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on 29 June 2013
Halas and Batchelor was Britain's most influential animation company. These little gems were taken from a BBC series based on the works of Gerard Hoffnung, who was a brilliant cartoonist specialising in musical subjects. Ruddigore was an interesting attempt at making an animated version of the Gilbert and Sullivan opera.
The distinctive H & B style could be seen in many television commercials of the 1950s and 60s some of which can be found on YouTube.
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