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Customer Review

98 of 101 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Merriment and joy!, 29 Oct. 2008
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This review is from: The Wind in the Willows - The Complete Collection [DVD] (DVD)
I had already written reviews three times for the dvd's of the original 'The Wind in the Willows' film adaptation and series 1 and 2 produced by Cosgrove Hall, but I never tire of revisiting its wonderful universe. Allow me to focus a bit on the background of the film special for a while.
The original adaptation of 'The Wind in the Willows' cost £400.000 to make, spent 18 months in production due to all the minute details that went into the recreation of the novel by Kenneth Grahame in intricate, brilliant stop-motion animation. And that's what accounts for the added ingredient that separates this from previous and later adaptations: it brought along plenty of atmosphere! Indeed, the riverfront world of the novel was splendidly captured, the models were exquisitely tailored and dressed - the characters themselves cost £5,000 each to produce, consisting of 9" high figures containing a brass ball and socket skeleton with a latex exterior -, the homes were filled with implements, artworks and paraphernalia scaled down to minute proportions, and the country side rich with a variety of flora and fauna. Just for added curiosity concerning the details, Mole's Willow pattern crockery was minutely scaled down to a half inch diameter, whilst Ratty's jumpers were sewn together from real men's socks, and there were even miniature copies of Tatler magazine to be spied around the houses!
The film was first broadcast in December 27, 1983, and it truly recreated that Edwardian spirit of joie-de-vivre, merriment and melancholy from the original book thanks to the extraordinary and impeccable crafstmanship on display. The success of Cosgrove Hall's achievement garnered the company several international awards, and led to the production of all the series now compiled in this gorgeous box set. All the actors rendered marvellous vocal performances to their respective characters, with David Jason's Mr. Toad practically stealing every scene in which he appeared, and the rest, as they say, is history.
I will finish by mentioning that, as the previous reviewer pointed out, all 65 episodes from the five series and both films are included here and, being the timeless classics that they deservedly became, no one can miss this box set.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 30 Jan 2009 10:13:54 GMT
Book Beaver says:
Thank you for a most informative review - I give it 5 stars! I hope that you will review all the other "Willows" merchandise including the ones that I have already reviewed. Thanks again!

Posted on 26 Jan 2010 18:08:13 GMT
Excellent review. I enjoyed how you added behind the scenes details (I hope for Ratty's sakes they used new socks :)).

In reply to an earlier post on 25 May 2011 12:01:26 BDT
Last edited by the author on 16 Jun 2011 17:06:21 BDT
Siamese says:
I'm coming back to this discussion to reveal the truly sad and most undeserving fate of the Cosgrove-Hall animation studios. It has come to my attention that the studio ceased operations for good on October of 2009. ITV, the company's owner, had closed the studios in Chorlton, where they were based for over 30 years, at the beginning of 2009 and that location was sold in the summer of 2010 to a housing development company in order to build retirement flats there(!).
Apparently, ITV lost interest in investing in Cosgrove-Hall Films due to the broadcaster's own failing financial situation and to the strugling state of the British animation production industry in general. This is a most tragic and ignoble end to an animation studio that was once one of the biggest, best and most reputed in the UK during the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s! I will never forget series like 'Count Duckula' and especially 'The Wind in the Willows' :(.
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Location: Azores, Portugal

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