The Most Famous Animated Film You’ve Never Heard Of.

Flaklypa / Pinchcliffe Grand Prix.

There is a Swedish manufacturer of super high performance cars called Koenisegg, named after it’s founder, Christian Von Koenisegg. I just discovered that his inspiration to build fast cars came from a stop motion animated film he saw when he was five years old. The film is Norway’s Flåklypa Grand Prix (1975). Also known with the English title The Pinchcliffe Grand Prix, it was a massive hit in Norway and other countries. This from Wikipedia:

The Pinchcliffe Grand Prix (NorwegianFlåklypa Grand Prix) is a Norwegian stop motion-animated feature film directed by Ivo Caprino. It was released in 1975 and is based on characters from a series of books by Norwegian cartoonist and author Kjell Aukrust. It is the most widely seen Norwegian film of all time…

To describe how popular the film was, here is a trivia fact from IMDB.

Since its premiere on 28 August 1975, the movie was shown at a cinema somewhere in the world every day of the week, for 28 years. Mainly in theaters in Norway, Moscow or Tokyo, the non-stop run ended in 2003.

The story centers around an inventive bicycle repairman and his two animal friends who build a ridiculously fast car to race against a villain who has stolen his technology.

The film is available for purchase on disc, and there is a trailer for it. But the trailer is poorly edited and doesn’t give the best impression of the story or animation. As a sample I am embedding a music video made with footage from the film. It’s much more enjoyable.

The centerpiece of the story is the race car, Il Tempo Gigante. Look at this gorgeous model. It’s undoubtedly the hero piece used for closeups.

Ivo Caprino and Il Tempo Gigante
Ivo Caprino and Il Tempo Gigante

And I have to include this BTS shot of the shirtless animators on set.

As stated, the story came from illustrator Kjell Aukrust.

Kjell Aukrust
Kjell Aukust

While the film has many qualities, Aukrust may be the real discovery for me. Here is one of his drawings of Il Tempo Gigante.

Here are some other drawings he did.

Il Tempo Gigante is so popular in Norway, there is a full scale working version that still tours the country for charity events.

There is actually a theory that the pod race sequence in Star Wars, The Phantom Menace was modeled after the race in this movie. Watch this side by side, and see what you think.

I appreciate this review of the movie, from an English speaking Norwegian.

Finally, while the whole film is not online, this appears to be the first 8.5 minutes

Celebrity Deathmatch

In the news, MTV is bringing back Celebrity Deathmatch, which was created by Eric Fogel in 1998. Here are some samples from earlier seasons. Celebrity Deathmatch. (Click link to see Buster Keaton Vs. Charlie Chaplin)


Bring back the Charley Bowers DVD

I don’t recall what inspired me to buy the Charley Bowers DVD set a few years ago, but it was more than a pleasant surprise.   I was introduced to a great talent in comedy, and animation.  Before seeing the DVD’s I had not heard of him, he is not mentioned in any of the many books on silent film that I had read.  If it weren’t for an essay by the surrealist Andre Breton praising his work, he probably would have been lost to history.  It took some film historians years to collect his surviving films from dusty collections around europe.

Charley Bowers began his entertainment career in 2D animation, writing and directing hundreds of short films based on the cartoon strip “Mutt & Jeff”  as well as “The Katzenjammer Kids.”  In 1926 he went into live action slapstick comedy, which is where the DVD collection starts.  His live film work was respectable, but it was the addition of  some extremely imaginative stop motion animation that brings him up to a level of quality that makes him worthy of  your time to watch.

Here are some samples:

He even has a facebook page

Also, a book is published in France that looks interesting.

The Bowers’ Mother Goose Movie Book

It has flippable pages.

Youtube calling

I really like this stop motion animation, inspired by Basil Wolverton

It’s quick and fun, and nicely done. The animator was Thomas R. Smith

I also noticed two other things about it. It has 16 million views, and no advertising. I recently read that popular youtube videos with advertising earn about $5000 for every million views. By that number, “Ugly Girl” could have pulled in $80,000. I wonder if Mr. Smith intentionally declined, or was just unaware of the potential. UPDATE: On further thought, perhaps Smith doesn’t legally own the piece.

I know the people behind “Kozo, the Dancing Hippo” On youtube it has been duplicated and remixed so many times I haven’t bothered to count. The views on all of them runs into the tens of millions. I imagine if they had worked the system, they could have profited from each of them. I need to learn more.

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