i used to post a little on the old site so not a total newbie. Haven't been around for a while but just seen the new site, looks good.
Anyway, I'm not sure if Smallfilms need their own thread. I'm sure they've been spoken about before on here but maybe not. For me, as a Brit, Oliver Postgate was a God indeed. He, along with Peter Firmin, created beautiful works, so very English and eccentric but without being conservative and stuffy. And they did it all on their own in a cowshed in Kent.
I want to talk about Tottie, though, because it's always overlooked and is the only Smallfilms work made after I was born. I remember watching it when very young and it really stuck out. Very different to the usual Smallfilms work, it was colder and almost Svankmajer-esque in its use of old dolls. No surprise it was based on Scandinavian books, it has something of the Ibsen about it. There was an existenialist quality which is summed up by this bit from Wikipedia:
"The whole series had a very dark edge as the Dolls had to wish very hard to hope that good things would happen and they would not fall on misfortune. The series started with the phrase
|“||Dolls are not like people, people choose, but dolls can only be chosen||
As far as I can remember a character was actually murdered in the programme! They did release DVDs but I think they're deleted now. You can get hold of them if you look around I think. I can't comment on the animation quality much because I'm not an animator. That said, I quite like my stop motion a little primitive. I don't like it too polished. Anyway, have a look.
(I hope this youtube vid embeds. It doesn't seem to be doing so when i look at the preview)
Failure to embed clip and no replies.....safe to say a successful post all round!
I humbly apologise for not mentioning Ray Harryhausen, Frankenweenie or Paranorman at least once in my post. Shan't happen again.
Sorry for not responding. I had never heard of Smallfilms, or Tottie, before, or seen any of it. It's good to be introduced to previously unknown work. Maybe you have to have been living in the UK to be familiar with it - I saw quite a few British stopmotion series on TV in Australia, but never that one. It's probably the same for members in the US, who are a majority here, so the name may not have sparked fond memories.
We do appreciate things not made by Harryhausen, Laika, or Tim Burton, honest!
To embed, you have to click on the little blue filmstrip icon - third from the left in the row of icons above the white box where you type. Then you paste.
And at Youtube, you have a couple more steps to get the Embed Code than you might think. It's not the URL for the clip. Click on Share, then click on Embed. A long code will come up for you to copy. It looks like this:
<iframe width="420" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/U8f2Le2B3ok" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
For it to work, you have to put it here via the blue film icon, which I didn't. Here it is:
Seeing it now for the first time, after major advances in smoothness from using framegrabbers have become commonplace and expected, the animation looks a bit crude. Entirely unfair, I know. Even Wind in the Willows, which for a long time was the standard I aspired to and never expected to reach, looks a bit rough now, though still expressive, and the storytelling and look of the sets and puppets still comes up as good as ever. It sounds like that's even more the case with Tottie, the storytelling is paramount, and the animation is at a low frame rate (on fours perhaps?). The limited animation is doubt a combination of wanting to keep a close connection with the world of children's toys and how a child might play with them, and the limited budget that was and is a big factor in all but a few high end feature films.
Coming to it as an adult, not as a member of the intended audience or with fond memories of seeing it when I was little, two things detract from it's impact for me. One is an inconsistent scale to the characters (very true to the actual toys a child might have), the other is a lack of any mouth movement when a character is speaking. That's not uncommon, but I always found it a bit unsatisfactory, however well the animator uses body language to show which one is speaking.
Looking at the responses from all those who remember seeing it as a child, it's clear it was something special.