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From Jealous Dolls to Brutish Bulldogs

A New History of British Animation

Take another look at British animation with this genre-hopping, whistle-stop tour of an animated century of surprises. All newly remastered by the BFI National Archive, this selection of shorts salutes the independence, innovation and irreverence of generations of British animation talent.

Programmed by Jez Stewart | Total running time 90min

Films in this programme
  • Image from Jealous Doll, Or, The Frustrated Elopement

    Jealous Doll, Or, The Frustrated Elopement

  • Image from Animated Doll and Toy Town Circus

    Animated Doll and Toy Town Circus

  • Image from Ever Been Had?

    Ever Been Had?

  • Image from Booster Bonzo; Or, Bonzo in Gay Paree

    Booster Bonzo; Or, Bonzo in Gay Paree

  • Image from Experimental Animation 1933

    Experimental Animation 1933

  • Image from Fox Hunt

    Fox Hunt

  • Image from The Figurehead

    The Figurehead

  • Image from Parents Take Hart

    Parents Take Hart

  • Image from Do It Yourself Cartoon Kit

    Do It Yourself Cartoon Kit

  • Image from Transformer

    Transformer

  • Image from Mr Pascal

    Mr Pascal

  • Image from NightClub

    NightClub

  • Image from Clothes

    Clothes

  • Image from The Kings of Siam

    The Kings of Siam

  • Image from Britannia

    Britannia

Film 1

Jealous Doll, Or, The Frustrated Elopement

Though likely intended as a charming comic tale of young love, this film takes on a strangely gothic hue thanks to the uncanny movements of a puppet plaything.

Dir Percy Stow. UK 1909. 6min

Film 2

Animated Doll and Toy Town Circus

An early experiment in bringing colour to animation sees a bubble-blowing doll, a toy circus and a stubborn donkey revelling in two-tone glory.

Dir Uncredited. UK 1912. 3min

Film 3

Ever Been Had?

The man on the moon and the last Englishman on Earth appear in a clever mix of propaganda, science fiction and comedy, with a killer punchline.

Dir Dudley Buxton. UK 1917. 10min

Film 4

Booster Bonzo; Or, Bonzo in Gay Paree

George Studdy’s cartoon pup makes the transition to the cinema screen and sets the tone for many a British tourist with his drunken high jinks in Paris.

Dir Uncredited. UK 1925. 6min

Film 5

Experimental Animation 1933

Before opening A Colour Box for the GPO in 1935, New Zealander Len Lye experimented with an all-singing, all-dancing stop-motion monkey hungry for peanuts.

Dir Len Lye. UK 1933. 2min

Film 6

Fox Hunt

This delightfully choreographed Technicolor follow-up to the modernist cartoon classic Joie de Vivre, made for Alexander Korda’s London Films, is a lesser-known delight.

Dir Anthony Gross, Hector Hoppin. UK 1936. 9min

Film 7

The Figurehead

Sea gods, mermaids and drunken carpenters. A rare venture into stop-motion from Halas & Batchelor, producers of Britain’s first animated feature Animal Farm.

Dir Joy Batchelor, Allan Crick, John Halas. UK 1952. 7min

Film 8

Parents Take Hart

Some rum parenting advice from the innovative Larkins Studio in this cinema commercial, based on the drawings of the much-loved Ronald Searle.

Dir Uncredited. UK 1953. 3min

Film 9

Do It Yourself Cartoon Kit

A forerunner of Terry Gilliam’s work for the Pythons, this off-beat exquisite corpse exercise is enlivened by the creative spirit of Bob ‘Roobarb’ Godfrey.

Dir Bob Godfrey, Vera Linnecar, Nancy Hanna, Keith Learner. UK 1959. 6min

Film 10

Transformer

All aboard the psychedelic steam engine! After finishing Yellow Submarine, Heinz Edelmann and friends produced this stunning promo for the Cambridge Animation Festival.

Dir Charlie Jenkins. UK 1968. 3min

Film 11

Mr Pascal

A film to restore your faith in the world, with a tale of quiet charm and astonishing depth from industry veteran Alison De Vere.

Dir Alison De Vere. UK 1979. 7min

Film 12

NightClub

A vicarious night out lived through an animated sketchbook, laid down to a hypnotic post-punk beat performed by the filmmaker himself.

Dir Jonathan Hodgson. UK 1983. 6min

Film 13

Clothes

Ever wondered what your wardrobe is up to when your back is turned? A new version of this lively short, originally edited on analogue video.

Dir Osbert Parker. UK 1988. 3min

Film 14

The Kings of Siam

All the fun of the fair, as a pair of conjoined twins wrestle with their sideshow reality, dreams of fame and each other.

Dir Ged Haney. UK 1992. 11min

Film 15

Britannia

Joanna Quinn’s concise history of the British Empire sees the British bulldog let off its leash before being brought to heel.

Dir Joanna Quinn. UK 1993. 5min


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