Best of Halas & Batchelor SO BRITISH

By : John Halas & Joy Batchelor

Grande-Bretagne, 1938 - 1995, PAL, 1.66 - 312 mn
zone 2, Couleur et N&B, mono
16.00 €


BEST OF Halas & Batchelor SO BRITISH

Animated films directed by : John Halas & Joy Batchelor

Great-Britain, 1938 - 1995, PAL, 1.66 - 312 mn
zone 2, color / black and white, mono
A two-DVD pack with TALES FROM HOFFNUNG, RUDDIGORE and 18 best short films of the studio chosen by Halas & Batchelor's French distributor. In English and French.

Halas and Batchelor was an animation company founded by John Halas and his wife, Joy Batchelor. The company started as a small animation unit that created commercials for theatrical distribution. For over 50 years, it was the largest and most influential animation studio in Western Europe. They made over 2000 films and earned an international reputation for fine animation extending the medium to explain complex ideas with clarity and humour.
This double DVD is a selection the winning short films produced by the studio.

DVD 1 :

MUSIC MAN
1938, 5 mn
Here's a film that John Halas and Joy Batchelor worked on in 1938, before they formed the Halas & Batchelor studio. Halas directed the film; although Joy Batchelor is not credited, she is identified as an animator on the film by Vivien Halas and Paul Wells' book Halas & Batchelor Cartoons.
The film was written by Emeric Hajdu, who would go on to become a noteworthy figure in French animation under the stage name of Jean Image.

MAGIC CANVAS
1948, 10 mn, silent film
An animated quest for freedom. After the war years the studio made this beautifully fluid experiment in animation, a remarkable achievement before computers were born. The film shows how the union of the material and spiritual natures of man can lead to fulfilment. John Halas with the Hungarian designer Peter Foldes produced and directed Magic Canvas with an original score by Matyas Sieber, a student of Bella Bartok.

THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT
Official Selection – shorts films, Cannes Film Festival 1954
1952, 7 mn, original version, english subtitles
An elegant film based on Edward Lear’s nonsense poem; one of the world’s first stereoscopic animated cartoons.The courtship of the owl and the pussy cat who go to sea in beautiful pea green boat. They take some honey and plenty of money as they set sail to the land where the bong tree grows.

THE FIGUREHEAD
1953, 9 mn, original or french versions, english subtitles
A poem of unrequited love: the studio’s first puppet production. Based on a poem by Cosbie Garstin, the film tells the story of a carved wooden saint who is painted to look like a soldier and used as a figure-head on a sailing ship. The ship sinks and the figurehead is saved by a beautiful mermaid who falls in love with him. Her love is not returned because despite his dashing looks he has the wooden heart of a saint.

HISTORY OF THE CINEMA
1957, 10 mn, original or french versions, english subtitles
An animated cartoon presenting a satirical review of the follies of motion pictures--past, present, and future.

CULTURATED APE
1960, 7 mn, original version, english subtitles
First Prize, Mostra de Venise 1959
This is the story of an ape of exceptional culture who is disillusioned by modern civilisation. One of a series of 6 satirical tales made for ABC TV with adult rather than children’ audiences in mind.

FOO FOO - The Stowaway
1960, 6 mn
First Prize, Mostra de Venise 1959
One of the award winning films from the comic FOO FOO series of 33 episodes made for ABC Television. Here, Foo Foo, the anti-hero becomes a stowaway on a transatlantic liner with disastrous consequences.

SNIP AND SNAP - Top Dogs
1960, 6 mn, dumb
First Prize, Mostra de Venise 1960
One of the more obscure British animated series is SNIP AND SNAP a stop-motion production from Halas & Batchelor that premiered in 1960. According to Vivien Halas and Paul Wells' book Halas & Batchelor Cartoons: An Animated History, the series was sponsored by the American broadcaster ABC.

INSOLENT MATADOR
1960, 7 minutes, original version
The story of a matador who fights only short sighted bulls. One of a series of 6 satirical tales for ABC Television made with adult rather than childrens’ audiences in mind.

HAMILTON AT THE MUSICAL FESTIVAL
1961, 10 mn, original or french versions, english subtitles
Hamilton leaves the circus and finds a job as a babysitter. When he hears an orchestra playing, he forgets everything for the music- with disastrous results.

AUTOMANIA 2000
1963, 10 mn, original or french versions
BAFTA best animated film, BAFTA Awards 1964
First Prizes : Moscou Festival, 1963 / Festival of Locarno, 1963
A satiric tour de force on technological overkill. This prophetic and humorous film concerns the state of the world at the millenium. Uncannily accurate in its prediction, the film shows the results of technology gone mad. In the race to produce bigger and better cars we see how humanity adapts to life in a grid-locked world. One of the studios finest films, AUTOMANIA 2000 was a prize winner all round the world, including a Hollywood Oscar nomination and a British Academy award.

THE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA (TALES FROM HOFFNUNG)
1964, 8 mn, original version
First Prize, Mostra of Venise 1965
Diploma, Chicago’s Festival 1965
Based on the drawings of Gerard Hoffnung, artist, comic and storyteller. The film follows the performance of an over enthusiastic conductor who brings the house down-literally.

BUTTERFLY BALL
1974, 4 mn, original version and english subtitles
John Grierson Award 1974
Elegant animation in classic style celebrating the Beatles era and psychedelia. Unlikley partners of insects, frogs and small animals have a woodland ball against a backdrop of Alan Aldridge’s richly graphic illustrations and featuring Roger Glover’s song “Love is All”. A film to delight both young and old.

AAUTOBAN
1979, 13 mn, original version
A visual interprtation of Kraftwerk’s music Autobahn. A fast paced experimental film which proved to be a ground breaking combination of electronic and manual animation. It has now become an icon of late seventies design and music. One of the first films produced specifically for video disk.

DILEMNA
1981, VO
Best short film, Moscou Festival 1981
Film of the year, London Festival 1981
DILEMNA is a 1981 film directed by John Halas, in collaboration with the American Jim Lindner. A philosophical piece lamenting the use of technology for destructive purposes, the short was possibly the first to be made entirely digitally (according to Vivien Halas and Paul Wells' book on Halas & Batchelor) and was described by Halas as the most important film of his life.

PLAERS
1982, 7 mn
Special Prize of the Jury, Montréal Festival 1982
An animated satire on aggression. Two tennis finalists confront each other. As the game begins the players start to change, becoming historical and mythical figures until the court turns into a vast battlefield. Two opposing armies march to meet each other and their ultimate weapons are revealed.

A MEMORY OF MOHOLY-NAGY
1990, 15 mn, original version and english subtitles
A documentary on the life and work of the Hungarian artist.T he film combines drawn animation with models and photographs to reveal the many facets of the work of Laszlo Moholy-Nagy whose work epitomised the Bauhaus movement in Europe. ‘Fast paced and information packed, never losing the viewer... crisp with accompanying high quality narration...graphics are clever and well done.

KNOW YOUR EUROPEANS
1995, 10 mn, original version and english subtitles
A romp through the essence of what makes the British man...and woman! Prince Charles is our host in this irreverent pastiche of British heroes, villains, wits, writers, artists and musicians, to find out just what it is that makes the British so, well, British. Bob Godfrey, one of the United Kingdom’s leading animators and an Oscar winner, teamed up with Colin Pearson, who wrote the script, and Rowland Lee, who adapted and arranged Sir Arthur Sullivan’s music, to create this animated extravaganza.


DVD 2:

THE TALES OF HOFFNUNG :
8 short films, 1964, 8 x 7min

PALM COURT ORCHESTRA
The dedicated orchestra plays on through a series of incredible events oblivious to their increasingly surreal surroundings.

THE MAESTRO
The attendant of the Festival Hall lives a musical fantasy of becoming the conductor. He is encouraged to great heights of musical virtuosity by his imaginary orchestra.

PROFESSEUR YA-YA'S MEMORIES
The professor’s photo album is full of strange and famous musical relatives who treat us to a range of comic and operatic moments.

BIRDS BEES AND STORKS
British Film Academy, Nomination 1966
A naive father makes an embarrassing attempt to explain the facts of life. The narration is by Peter Sellers with his own brand of humour.

THE MUSICAL ACADEMY
The music professor has his work cut out as his pupils enthusiasm for Lizt, Wagner and Mendelssohn’s music get them into trouble with their instruments.

THE VACCUM CLEANER
A salesman sells a vacuum cleaner with perfect pitch. Its new owner performs at the Albert Hall accompanied by similar instruments. When it comes to cleaning, a saxophone does the job.

THE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
First prize Vienna 1965
An Orchestra like no other. Musical and visual gags abound before reaching a momentous climax. The conductor leaves the concert hall unperturbed.


RUDDIGORE (56 mn)
Set in 19th century England, this lively film of Gilbert and Sullivan’s well known work was the first operetta to be animated. A line of British baronets are cursed to commit a crime every day...or die! This story of love and revenge with its ghosts and magic is an ideal vehicle for animation. Made with the co-operation of the D’Oyle Carte Opera Company who provide the voices and the London Philharmonic Orchestra who provide the music

BONUS : analysis of the films by Paul Wells (historian of animated films), Tony Guy (animation director of H&B) and Vivien Halas (daugther of John Halas and Joy Batchelor, Graphic designer and animator of Halas & Batchelor foundation).


Watch a video excerpt :

BAB_Halas&Batchelor
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Ext Ruddigore
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Ext The symphony orchestra
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Ext Autobhan
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