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Toonhound presents...






British Movie Toons

            Tom Thumb

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   The Secret Adventures
  of Tom Thumb
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    producers: bolexbrothers / BBC Bristol /
                      La Sept / Manga / Lumen
pixilation & stop-motion techniques
       run time: 61mins


"A nursery crime of epic proportions"

     In a bizarre, grim world (Future? Past? Who can tell?) a young mother gives
     birth to our tiny titular hero who is immediately whisked away by shadowey
     agents and earmarked for 'examination' by the scientists working from a grisly
     laboratory. We follow Tom's efforts to escape from captivity, with its pitiful
     mutated inhabitants, and somehow negotiate his way back to his pining father
     through a Big World inhabited by dirty freaks and fools and skittering critters
     festering in rundown tenements drinking houses and crumbling suburban sprawl...

     Awkward, uncomfortable, unsettling with a disturbing soundtrack layered over
     the staccato images, Dave Borthwick has produced a pixilated masterpiece.
     Tom and his pint size friends, creations and creatures are stop-motion figures.
     Tom himself resembles some distressed Aardmanesque abortion, Morph on
     acid, if you will. The Big People - Tom's parents and such - are played by real
     people, photographed frame by painstaking frame to produce a grotesque,
     jumping, ultra-reality presence. Lighting is grim and grimy, dialogue restricted
     to just a few grunts and and groans, but it all gels perfectly to produce a unique
     animated experience to savour. The middle portion of the film focuses on
     Tom's arrival and exploration of a garbage-strewn swamp that's home to
     a tribe of little people and, frankly, it's mesmerizing. The tiny medieval world
     is beautifully realised, the figures here make such gentle, delicate movements
     completely at odds with the grotesque neanderthal Big People who blindly
     stomp on the tribe's homes and inhabitants, even squishing the occupants
     on occasion. There's real emotion on show here, ranking alongside the best
     of Christmas Films' work or those Truckers from Cosgrove Hall. Some may be
     deterred by the squeamish opening, but stick with it and you'll be rewarded
     in spades...

     Mainstream? - No, not really. A must-see movie? - Absoloutely.

        An encounter in the swamp...  Swamp folk agog...

     Bolexbrothers are a small independent team of freethinking film-makers
     based in Bristol. "Tom Thumb" was originally a 10min short film commssion
     for the BBC, broadcast at Christmas on BBC2. It was considered a tad too
     grim and twisted for such a festive slot but the film was well received on the
     animation circuit and twelve months later the BBC commssioned a
     feature-length remake.
     The real peole we see animated in the film are actually the bolexbrothers
     themselves, plus a few friends and associates. Nick Upton and the gang were
     directed frame-by-labour-intensive-frame by Dave Borthwick whilst model
     insects and moths flit and scuttle through frame in between the real folk - it's
     an arresting effect. It's also interesting to see the face of Richard Goleszowski
     featured as one of the background people. He's gone on to great things at
     Aardman Animation, bringing us Rex The Runt and friends, and the two
     "Creature Comforts" series....

»"Tom Thumb"s electronic score is as mesmerizing as the visuals.
       Trivia Hounds will note that the Tom Thumb theme was actually
       composed by John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin fame.

» bolexbrother's most recent production has been the all-new
        Magic Roundabout movie...    



     1995 Evening Standard British Film Award - Best Technical/Artistic Achievement
     1994 Fantasporto - Critics Award / Special Mention
                                  Intl Fantasy Film Award

     1993 Catalonian Intl Film Festival, Sitges - Best Director


     Tom Thumb on DVD

     USA DVD 
The Secret Adventures of Tom Thumb
                 Region 1 / Manga / August 1998


      written, designed, directed and edited by Dave Borthwick

     producer:            Richard 'Hutch' Hutchinson
     exec prod:          Colin Rose
     music:                Tom Thumb theme by John Paul Jones
                               Music and theme variations by Startled Insects
    Frank Passingham, Nick Upton,
                              Mike Gifford, John Schofield, Lee Wilton
     charac models:   Justin Exley, Jan Sanger
     add. models
      & set dressing:
    Cathy Price, Beverley Knowlden
     key animators:    Dave Borthwick, Frank Passingham, Lee Wilton
     asst anim:           Cathy Price, Jan Sanger, Nick Upton,
                               Tobias Fouracre
     featuring:            Nick Upton (Pa Thumb)
                               Deborah Collard (Ma Thumb)
                               Frank Passingham (Man)
                               John Schofield
                               Mike Gifford (Woman In Bar)
                               Robert Heath
                               George Brandt
                               Andy Davis, Dave Alex Riddett, Andy Joyce,
                               Richard Goleszowski, Tim Norfolk, John Beedel,
                               Andy McCormack,
     voices:                Brett Lane, Helen Veysey, Paul Veysey,
                               Peter Townsend, Marie Clifford, Tim Hands,
                               Andrew Bailey, Nick Upton, John Schofield


      On the web


       The official studio site, suitably twisted with red letter links cropping
       up against a jet black background. An informative place...


       Manga have produced an excellent site. It features a fuller storyline,
       background info, info on the animation techniques involved in the
       production, a full list of awards and a clip to view...

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© bolexbrothers / Manga / F2006