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Toonhound presents...






  Short British Films &  TV Specials  

      A Close Shave

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A Close Shave    (1995)
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producers: Aardman Animation / BBC
   animation: stop-motion animation
      run time:
30 mins


     "The bounce has gone from his bungee..."

    This is the third film outing for Wallace and Gromit, the hugely popular
    human-canine combo created by Nick Park and brought to life by the folks
    at Aardman Animation in Bristol.

    There's a wool shortage in town, and its got the newspapers all in a knot.
    But Wallace is oblivious to the crisis. He's fallen for the charms of Wendelone
    Ramsbottom, who just happens to be the proprietor of the local wool shop.
    She's a customer of Wallace and Gromit's Wash'N'Go, an inventive window
    cleaning service involving a motorbike and sidecar, some skilled ladder work
    and a fair bit of bungee jumping.

    Wendolene is embroiled in a plot to rustle sheep, with her sinister doggy
    Preston. But Wallace can't see through the scheme, so it's Gromit who
    follows the clue, which lead him into Preston's clutches. The canny canine
    has Gromit framed and imprisoned for his own dastardly deeds. That's our
    cue for a daring escape, and a wild ride involving a stunt-tacular bike chase,
    a tower of tottering sheep, a stomping steaming dog food machine, and a
    last stand against a rampaging robot cyberdog. Though Wallace's romance
    ultimately falters (she doesn't like cheese), his love for life and fromage
    remains undimmed...

     WEallace meets Wendolene   Gromit cranks up the tension
    "A Close Shave" introduces us to the bleating brilliance of Shaun the
    sheep. He's the poor young lamb, shaved a bit to cleanly by Wallace's
    Knit-o-Matic machine. Wallace and Wendolene's blossoming romance is
    beautifully observed and developed through priceless dialogue and
    tender actions. There's something so affecting in the way they touch
    hands over a ball of wool, or mimic that classic Wallace hand gesture
    acoss the shop floor. And what a contrast with the acrobatics of the
    finale. Where "The Wrong Trousers" has its train chase, "A Close Shave"
    gives us Wallace on his Wash'N'Go motorbike, in pursuit of a truck-load
    of sheep, whilst Gromit takes to the skies in the sidecar. It's outrageous,
    outlandish and utterly brilliant. Which explains its numerous industry
    awards, including a prestigious third Oscar™ for Nick Park and company.
» Gromit is incarcerated in the same cell as Feathers McGraw, the
        villainous penguin from "The Wrong Trousers". How do we know?
        Well, "Feathers was here" is scrawled on the cell wall.

» Look out for the billboard depicting a baker, with the slogan "Try Bob's
        Buns". That's a sly reference to Bob Baker, the film's co-writer. And
        that's a characture of him on the poster.

» Nick Park was born in Preston, Lancashire and still supports Preston
        North End football team. Hence the name of Wendolene's pooch.

    » Wendolene takes her name from that of a rather popular window
        cleaning product Windowlene™
. Originally, she was conceived as
        living on the moors, at her ancestral home of Ramsbottom Manor.
        Preston was going to be her butler dog of devious intent. But
        these scenes, and developments within her inherited mansion
        were dropped just before filming commenced.

» Look out for Frank the Tortoise from the Aardman Heat Electric
        campaigns.You'll need to freeze frame your film, but he's just visible
        for half a second on the underside of the garden pond, as it flips over
        to enable the Wash'N'Go motorbike to depart.

"A Close Shave" had a production budget of £1.3m.

    » Whilst promoting the film in New York, Nick Park accidentally
        mislaid a case containg two precious Wallace and Gromit figures
        in the back of a taxi cab. The ensuing hunt filled many newspaper
        columns. It even inspired the creation of a special collectible...



    1997 Annecy Intl - Audience Award
    1997 World Animation Celebration - Best Stop-Motion Animation
    1996 Acadamy Award - Best Short Film, Animated
    1996 BAFTA - Best Animation
    1996 Chicago Intl Children's Film Fest - Animation Jury Award
            Chicago Intl Children's Film Fest - Children's Jury Award
    1996 Royal Television Society (RTS) - Best Prod Design (ent + non-drana)
            Royal Television Society (RTS) - Best Sound (non-drama)


    Broadcast info

     The film premiered on December 24th 1995 on BBC2, at 6.15pm.
    and that first screening picked up 10.6m viewers.


    See also

    Curse of the Were-Rabbit
    A Grand Day Out 

     A Matter of Loaf and Death


    Further reading

    Wallace and Gromit:
A Close Shave Storyboard Collection
    edited by Brian Sibley /
1997 / published by BBC Worldwide


    A Close Shave on Blu-ray

W&G: The Complete Collection [Blu-ray]
               Region 2 / all four short films / BBC / November 2009

    A Close Shave on DVD

UK DVD W&G: The Complete Collection
               Region 2 / all four short films / BBC / November 2009

UK DVD W&G: 3 Cracking Adventures
               Region 2 / the first three short films / BBC / September 2007

    USA DVD Wallace and Gromit in 3 Amazing Adventures
               Region 1 / MCA Home Video / September 2005


an Aardman Animations Production
     of a Nick Park film

     in association with
     BBC Bristol and BBC Children's International

    director:           Nick Park
    exec prods:      Peter Lord, Dave Sproxton (Aardman)
                           Colin Rose (BBC)
    producers:       Carla Shelley, Michael Rose
    writers:            Bob Baker, Nick Park
                           based on original characters by Nick Park
    music:             Julian Nott
    animation:       Steve Box, Loyd Price, Peter Peake,
                          Gary Cureton, Nick Park
    art director:     Phil Lewis
    dop:                Alex Riddett
    editor:             Helen Garrard
    voices:            Peter Sallis (Wallace)
                          Anne Reid (Wendolene)


      On the web

       Wallace & Gromit
       Aardman's official W&G site...

       Aardman Animations
       The official Aardman site showcases all of the Wallace & Gromit films,
       of course. Plus there's news on the feature, the studio, and lots more
       besides. A very smart site, is this...

       Grand Appeal            
       This one's for charity, folks, so pop on by and make a donation to a
       very-needy fundraiser sponsored by our crackin' duo...

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© Wallace and Gromit Ltd / BBC Worldwide Ltd / F2009