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|Index||17 reviews in total|
Absolutely wonderful short animated mini-musical about the life, career
and works of the redoubtable British engineer and inventor, Isambard
Kingdom Brunel. Unforgettable songs (I saw it years ago and can still
sing nearly all of them!--ranging from 50's style rock to wistful
ballads to up-tempo show-tunes; none of which, sadly, are given actual
titles in the credits), delightful (and bawdy!) comedy, combined with
thorough and loving research for a memorable portrait of one of the
Industrial Revolution's most remarkable figures. It deserves particular
applause for appropriate use of rotoscoped footage to depict the
inaugural day of the Great Western Railway--for a minute I almost
wondered if they'd somehow found real film of the event, the effect is
that convincing. That this film continues to be unavailable is simply a
IMPORTANT NOTE to anyone reading the review (posted 2005) by Judy Renee Pope: I sadly report that Judy passed away in 2007. Please, do not email her asking for a copy of Great; no one is reading her email anymore except me, and I do not know where her copy of the film is. I much regret this, as it seems to have been one of the very few copies anywhere, but I can't help with your requests. Sorry.
Exactly why an Academy Award winning film of this caliber should be so
sorely neglected and unavailable all these years I can't say, but this is
one of the few times animation (of varying techniques), music, archive
photos, and history have come together into something truly Great.
Reminiscent of some of Terry Gilliam's animation for Monty Python's Flying
Circus, but yet uniquely it's own beast. I whole-heartedly recommend this
anyone, providing you can find a way to see it. If you're looking for a
copy, write me =).
"Oh; it's a ship..."
One of my favourite animations of all time "Great" combines humorous
drawing and plot while actually telling you something about the life &
works of Brunel.
It has many different styles of animation and uses archive photographs, comic drawings and live action. It has humour with a little innuendo but also poignancy in what his inventions actually cost Brunel in terms of his health.
The songs are hilarious, and very catchy. After seeing this film you can never look at Queen Victoria without smiling ever again. A well deserved Oscar.
As you can see from other reviews of this little masterpiece, "Great -
IKB" is a splendid piece of work that is shamefully neglected.
I first knew of the film when I heard the song "It's A Big One" played on the radio when it was released in 1975. I was looking forward to seeing this film about Brunel (already a hero of mine and now 2nd Greatest Briton of All Time, folks!). I never heard any more about it and began to wonder if I'd just dreamt it.
Then in the 1980's Channel 4 broadcast it one Saturday afternoon. Of course I watched it and was amazed at the number of animation styles and the sophisticated humour that was packed into a short film. For example, the film starts with a run-down of Victorian heroes in the style of a football team: 'Boots' Wellington, 'Flash' Gordon, 'Knockers' Nightingale and 'Little Willie' Gladstone on the touchline with his black bag. You need to know your history to appreciate this stuff. There are even references to the size of Prince Albert's manhood (when Queen Victoria said in her diary that "Albert's beauty is most striking" she wasn't writing about his haircut).
When the film was shown again a few years later I set up my cassette player and recorded the soundtrack, just to make sure I could play it whenever I wanted. A good job I did as to my knowledge it has never been shown again and is not available commercially.
I often wonder if a series of these was planned and didn't come off? I think it was produced by British Lion which went bust in the mid-70's. This might explain why "Great - IKB" was a one-off and the lack of a video/DVD distribution deal.
Great is, quite simply, great! A funny, warm, poignant look a real-life builder named Isambard Kingdom Brunel. I wish it was in-print. It's a masterwork. It deserves better than to languish in an obscurity it most definitely does not deserve.
Bob Godfrey's free-wheeling, imaginative and irreverent look at the life and achievements of Isambard Kingdom Brunel benefits from eye-catching animation, upbeat songs, memorable set-pieces and an overall mood of infectious good humour. Although it's been years since I last saw it, several lines stick in my mind, including "Queen Victoria came to look, she said I'm tickled pink", a list of all the things Brunel didn't invent (including heroin, and, because this is a Bob Godfrey cartoon, a live-in bra!), a song about the diminutive inventor's taste in tall hats and a pre-punk rock and roller doing a very gritty song about the great man! At his best, Godfrey was capable of genius, and GREAT is proof of that. A DVD release is long overdue.
Delightful animated musical biography of IKB. Showed up on a public television academy award winners program before I owned a VCR and I have been looking for a copy ever since. It is a wonderful view of the great engineering age in Britain. I second the previous submission that I wish I had a copy.
I saw this animated short as a teenager in the late 1970's as part of a PBS Television show called "Academy Leaders", a limited-run series which showcased Oscar winning or nominated short subjects which typically were viewed only by voting academy members, then put back into the can and seldom given the public viewing. I recorded the audio to a cassette and listened to it in the car repeatedly. To this day I can still recall the catchy songs and witty narration at will. This is truly an unforgettable short subject, biographical, musical, and bearing no small portion of witty irreverence toward the Victorian aristocracy. I have searched for a way to see "Great" again ever since and, if there is any way possible, obtain a copy for myself. This is not to be missed. It is, well, GREAT!
This Oscar winning mini masterpiece is a cherished memory of many I'm
sure. The dulcet tones of Richard Briars guide us through the
incredible life of possibly the greatest ever Englishman, Isambard
Kingdom Brunel. The animation is very much reminiscent of Terry
Gilliam's 'Monty Python' work and is accompanied by some really quite
impossibly catchy songs along the way. The comedy has a very British
feel to it, in fact it could easily have been titled 'Carry On Brunel',
but is also at times serious and even poignant. This is an ideal way of
tricking a young, awkward child into learning some important British
history as it is simply a joy to watch time and again. It is actually
available on YouTube but there is something like thirty seconds missing
from the beginning..
Thanks to Amid on Cartoon Brew, I discovered this Oscar-winning animated short from 1975, directed by Bob Godfrey, on YouTube in three parts. As one can tell from the title, this is about the great British inventor Isambard Kingdom Brunel as illustrated by the animated musical numbers that dominate the nearly 30-minute short as well as many photos and live-action shots that are also depicted. Quite irreverent with the way Godfrey tells us what Brunel didn't invent as well as the many shots of a drawn Queen Victoria saying one thing or another. I found the whole thing quite entertaining even though not everything that came on the scene made complete sense to me. Still, one should give Godfrey credit for even attempting such a massive undertaking!
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