Cosgrove Halle Productions, 1980
Animators: Marj Graham, Barry Purves
Being a stop-motion animation nut I obviously prefer Cosgrove Hall's classic puppetry output to their drawn (cartoon) animation, and this is a another fine example of this rather rare (these days, anyway) artform. This execution of the famous tale of the Pied Piper is nothing short of brilliant, well, it's perfect in every detail. It's scary, it's funny, it's beautiful, it's all those things that make a great puppetfilm for children. And I do say children, because when this film was made (1980) nobody seemed to mind showing children a bit of horror in fairytales as opposed to today where kids get pampered with tame eye candy and superficial gloss. You didn't talk down to children in those days like you do now, TV makers didn't shy away from more adult themes and heavy dialogue. This animation film is a perfect example, the dialogue is delivered in poem form and it didn't seem to matter that smaller children probably didn't understand much of it they would still enjoy it. Today you have to understand everything in order to enjoy it - or so the TV makers think, thus robbing kids now of some wonderful and magical TV experiences. The narration is a chapter all to itself, the great Robert Hardy shows his enormous range and I have quite frankly never heard a puppetfilm narration as excellent and exquisite as this one. Of course it also helps that I'm a big fan of his but this truly is an amazing achievement, I wonder if he was acknowledged for it at the time. Why don't they make family entertainment as carefully detailed like this anymore ? Watching television really was a whole different experience 20+ years ago, and this glorious puppetfilm will take you back to a time sadly long gone when they knew how to make it right. Hopefully more classic Cosgrove Hall puppetry will be released. Buy it now, it's on both DVD and VHS and highly recommended!
Review by 'Daisy Ghostly', Amazon.co.uk