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The BFG is a 1989 British animated film produced by Cosgrove Hall Films and based on the 1982 novel of the same name by Roald Dahl. It was directed by Brian Cosgrove and written by John Hambley. The film was first shown on 25 December 1989 on ITV in the UK.[2]

The BFG
The BFG (1989 film).jpg
Directed byBrian Cosgrove
Produced byBrian Cosgrove
Mark Hall
Screenplay byJohn Hambley
Based onThe BFG
by Roald Dahl
StarringDavid Jason
Amanda Root
Angela Thorne
Ballard Berkeley
Michael Knowles
Don Henderson
Mollie Sugden
Jimmy Hibbert
Frank Thornton
Music byKeith Hopwood
Malcolm Rowe
Edited byNigel Rutter
Production
company
Distributed byITV
Release date
  • 25 December 1989 (1989-12-25)
Running time
91 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguageEnglish
Budget£3,000,000[1]

The film was dedicated to animator George Jackson, who had worked on numerous Cosgrove Hall productions after his death in 1986. This film is also the last and posthumous role of Ballard Berkeley (voice of the Head of the Army), who died in 1988.

PlotEdit

Sophie is a young orphaned girl living in the orphanage of the cantankerous and abusive Mrs. Clonkers. One night, Sophie wakes up and goes to look through the window but sees a cloaked giant blowing something through a trumpet into a bedroom window down the street; whereupon the giant notices her and snatches her to the realm of Giant Country.

In his cave, the giant identifies himself as the Big Friendly Giant (the BFG for short) who blows dreams into the bedrooms of children at night, while all the other 9 giants are vicious, child-eating beasts. Because the BFG refuses to eat people or steal food from humans, he subsists on a revolting vegetable known as a "Snozzcumber", which is all that grows in Giant Country. He explains that he took her so she couldn't tell anyone that she had seen him and start a giant hunt. Sophie and BFG quickly become friends; but Sophie is soon put in danger by the sudden arrival of the Bloodbottler Giant, who suspects BFG of harbouring a human after hearing him talking. BFG tricks the Bloodbottler into eating the Snozzcumber to repel him from his cave, during which Sophie is almost eaten. BFG makes her a new dress out of her blanket to replace her ruined nightgown. When Sophie announces she is thirsty, BFG treats her to a delicious fizzy drink called "Frobscottle", whose bubbles go downwards, which causes the drinker to flatulate; this is known as a "whizzpopper" to giants, and causes the drinker to soar and shoot around the place.

The next morning, BFG takes Sophie to Dream Country to catch more dreams, but they are first tormented by the other giants along the way; notably by the Fleshlumpeater Giant, who is the largest and most fearsome and hideous. In Dream Country, BFG demonstrates his dream-catching skills to Sophie and teaches her to fly; but BFG mistakenly captures the worst kind of nightmare. Upon arriving at his Dream Cave, BFG shows Sophie all the dreams he has captured already and locks away the nightmare in his cavern of lava in a tiny chest, and takes Sophie to watch him on his dream-blowing duties; but this is cut short when they spot the Fleshlumpeater about to eat a little boy whom BFG had previously given a pleasant dream. When Sophie tries to intervene, BFG flees with her and escapes to save her from the Fleshlumpeater. Afterwards, the grief-stricken Sophie tries to persuade BFG to stop the evil giants.

At first, BFG is reluctant to do so out of cowardliness and low trust in humans; but Sophie develops a plan to expose the evil giants to the Queen of the United Kingdom. Using dreams from his collection, BFG creates a nightmare, blows it into the Queen's bedroom, leaves Sophie on the Queen's windowsill to confirm the dream and retreats into the palace gardens when Sophie calls him. Because the dream included foreknowledge of Sophie's presence, the Queen believes her story, and speaks with BFG. After considerable effort by the palace staff, BFG is given a copious breakfast.

Once ready, the army and the airforce, in a fleet of RAF Chinook helicopters, follow BFG to Giant Country to the 9 giants' homeland, where the giants are tied up and taken prisoner. The only one that is not there is the Fleshlumpeater, who immediately attacks BFG for his betrayal and later pursues Sophie when she intervenes; but after a long chase he is stopped when BFG subdues him with the nightmare he had captured earlier, which he later reveals was a nightmare about Jack and his beanstalk, both of which all giants, including BFG himself, fear.

The tethered giants are then all transported by the helicopters to London, where they are imprisoned in a deep metal pit and forced to eat Snozzcumbers for the rest of their lives. The orphanage is closed down so the children move into the palace and Mrs. Clonkers is given the job of feeding giants. Contrary to the book's ending, BFG stays in Giant Country instead of moving to England, and Sophie becomes his assistant at the distribution of dreams and people think they will visit Buckingham Palace sometimes.

CastEdit

ProductionEdit

The BFG was Cosgrove Hall Films' only feature-length film, which was directed by Brian Cosgrove. Cosgrove also produced the film along with Mark Hall, while John Hambley, who also executive produced the film, scripted the film after Brian Trueman's initial draft was rejected.[3]

Development of the film can be traced as far back as 1984, when only 5 people, including Cosgrove, were working on the film before being joined by other crew members.[4]

According to Brian Cosgrove, the director and producer of the film, Roald Dahl was very supportive to the studio in production.

I painted a watercolour of how we saw him. I got a lovely note back from Dahl saying it was perfect, he was right behind it, and to just get on and do it. Sophie, the little girl who befriends the BFG, was easy. I had read that Dahl based her on his granddaughter, Sophie Dahl. At the time she wore John Lennon glasses, so we took it from there.[5]

During production of the film, which took over 3 years, 750,000 cels were used against watercolour backgrounds designed by a team led by DC Thomson cartoonist John Geering.[6]

ReceptionEdit

The film currently has a 65% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with an average rating of 3.3 out of 5.[7]

Writing in The Sunday Times before its broadcast, Patrick Stoddart called it a "delight", and wrote that it "puts its already celebrated British animators, Cosgrove Hall, into the Disney class".[8] It has since gone on to be a cult classic.

In 2012, Louisa Mellor, of the Den of Geek website, stated that "Cosgrove Hall's twenty-seven year old animated feature may be less of a technical feat than the latter and was certainly made for a fraction of the budget, but that doesn't make it any less a whoppsy-whiffling, razztwizzling tribute to a terrific story."[2]

Roald Dahl's reactionEdit

This film was one of the few adaptations of Dahl's works to get praise from the author himself. Cosgrove said that after Dahl sat through a screening of the film, he stood up and applauded in delight.

When we finished, we ran a screening in Soho, and Dahl and his family came along. They were sitting at the back, and when the film finished they stood up and applauded. He could be quite vocal, Dahl, if he didn't like something. He didn't like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory at all, the 1971 Gene Wilder one. So it was a real relief that he liked our film.[5]

Media releasesEdit

The film was first released on VHS by Video Collection International in the United Kingdom on 10 September 1990, in collaboration with Thorn EMI's Thames Video Collection. It was released again by the same company on 25 September 1995 and 13 October 1997.

Roadshow Home Video and ABC Video released the film on VHS in Australia on 12 February 1992, while its first video release in the United States was by Celebrity Home Entertainment on 2 April 1996.

Pearson Television International Ltd re-released the film on VHS on 1 June 2001,[9] and on DVD for the first time on 8 April 2002.[10] The DVD features 3 interactive games, an interview with Brian Cosgrove, a photo gallery and storyboards. Another release followed on 1 January 2008 by Pearson's successor, Fremantle Home Entertainment.

The film's first DVD release in the United States was distributed by Celebrity Home Entertainment on 28 September 1999. It was re-released by A&E Home Video on 27 June 2006.[11]

On 10 September 2012, Fremantle Home Entertainment released a digitally restored DVD and Blu-ray Disc.[12]

On 11 July 2016, Universal Pictures Home Entertainment UK re-released the film on DVD and Blu-ray Disc.

SoundtrackEdit

The BFG - Original Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by
Keith Hopwood and Malcolm Rowe
Released11 July 2016
RecordedPluto Studios
CTS Studios
GenreElectronic
Classical
Length57:33
LabelPluto Music
ProducerKeith Hopwood

Keith Hopwood's and Malcolm Rowe's original score to The BFG was completed by Pluto Music Limited and released on 11 July 2016 by Pluto Music Limited and FremantleMedia. The album contains the entire score as heard in the film in chronological order. Keith Hopwood gave an interview in June 2016 in which he told the story on how the score was composed and stylized:

"Early in 1986 Malcolm Rowe and I were asked by Cosgrove Hall to compose the score for Roald Dahl’s The BFG, which they were about to produce as an animated feature. We had a good relationship with Mark Hall and Brian Cosgrove, having just completed the feature and several series of The Wind in the Willows. This was an exciting 2 year project, scoring the world of Giant Country, home of Frobscottle, Snozzcumbers and Whizzpoppers, with of course the Big Friendly Giant and his new friend Sophie. The score production was an intentional mix of very synthesized pieces, and large orchestral sections for the action sequences."[13]

Track listing

No.TitleLength
1."The Vortex & Arrival"0:43
2."The Owl's Flight"1:34
3."Giant in the Street"1:49
4."The Getaway"1:29
5."Journey Through Giantland"1:41
6."You Snitched Me"1:41
7."Bloodbottler in the Cave"2:01
8."Sophie's Bath"1:35
9."Whizzpopping!" (performed by David Jason)2:40
10."Dusk to Dawn"0:51
11."Dream Country"3:29
12."Sometimes, Secretly" (performed by Sharon Campbell)1:54
13."Insects! Part 1"0:43
14."Insects! Part 2"1:11
15."The Dream Cave"1:39
16."The Fishing Village"1:53
17."The Boy's Dream"1:12
18."Flight to Buckingham Palace"0:58
19."The Queen's Dream"1:13
20."This is The BFG"0:33
21."Helicopter Flight to Vortex"2:02
22."Vortex to Landing"1:00
23."Giant Round Up"1:40
24."Giant Awake"2:02
25."Still Loose"0:48
26."The Fleshlumpeater: Part 1"1:15
27."The Fleshlumpeater: Part 2"2:52
28."Choppers Return"1:52
29."The End"2:48
30."Two Worlds" (performed by Paul Young and Sharon Campbell)3:38
31."Mirror, Mirror" (performed by Sharon Campbell)3:47
32."Sometimes, Secretly (Full Length Version)" (performed by Sharon Campbell)3:03
Total length:57:33

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Nominee Result[14]
1990 BAFTA Awards Best Children's Programme (Entertainment/Drama) Brian Cosgrove & Mark Hall Nominated
1989 New York Festival[15] Best Score and Songs Keith Hopwood Won

See alsoEdit

  • The BFG, the 2016 live action feature

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "The BFG - Animator Mag - Issue 26".
  2. ^ a b "Looking back at The BFG (1989) - Den of Geek". Retrieved 29 August 2016.
  3. ^ ""The success of Danger Mouse took us all by surprise." Brian Trueman talks about the legacy of Manchester animation studio Cosgrove Hall". Retrieved 23 October 2017.
  4. ^ "The design team at Cosgrove Hall - Animator Mag - Issue 17".
  5. ^ a b "How we made The BFG by director Brian Cosgrove and Ben Turner - Film - The Guardian". Retrieved 10 July 2016.
  6. ^ "Tails of Adventure - Arts and Entertainment - The Independent". Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  7. ^ "The BFG (1989) - Rotten Tomatoes". Retrieved 10 July 2016.
  8. ^ Stoddart, Patrick (24 December 1989). "Christmas comes but not this year – Television networks". The Sunday Times. London.
  9. ^ Cosgrove, Brian, Roald Dahl's The Bfg, Pearson, retrieved 16 July 2019
  10. ^ Cosgrove, Brian (8 April 2002), Roald Dahls The BFG Big Friendly Giant, Prism Leisure Corporation, retrieved 16 July 2019
  11. ^ "The BFG: Big Friendly Giant movie by Brian Cosgrove - Available on Blu-ray, DVD - Alibris UK Movies". Retrieved 10 July 2016.
  12. ^ "The BFG Digitally Restored Edition [Blu-ray] [1989] - Discount Toy Store". Retrieved 10 July 2016.
  13. ^ http://plutomusic.com/shop/the-bfg-soundtrack-cd.php
  14. ^ "The BFG - Awards - IMDb". Retrieved 9 July 2016.
  15. ^ Childs, Marti and March, Jeff (2011). Where Have All the Pop Stars Gone? - Volume 1, pp. 84. EditPros LLC. ISBN 1937317005

External linksEdit