Badger, Rat and Mole are trying to save Toad Hall and its owner, their rich irresponsible airhead playboy friend Toad, from himself, as well as financial ruin, the court and a gang of conspiratorial weasels who have their eye on the place.
Arthur Rankin Jr.
Charles Nelson Reilly,
I am probably one of the six people who saw this on its first theatrical run in the US. Because of a complicated and ultimately stupid legal battle between distributors involving this and other films this film got so lost that the only promotional material available to the theater I saw it in was a picture from a newspaper, which they pasted into a much too big poster holder.
To add insult to injury despite getting raves from the New York papers, all of which wondered why the distributor was dumping a wonderful "children's" film, a new distributor, Disney released it on video after changing its name to tie into their amusement park ride, there by confusing those of us who saw this as the Wind in the Willows.
This film is a great film. Its simply a fantastic film comedy, never mind the stupid label of children's or family film, this is just great movie making.
The only people I know who are disappointed in it are people expecting a Monty Python film. Although it pretty much reunites all of the surviving Pythons only Jones and Eric Idle are in it for any length of time, Cleese has one scene as a lawyer and Palin is fleetingly seen as the sun. The film is light years from Python, despite having just a touch of Python's madness.
The humor is gentle and loving and keeping both with the period and with modern tastes. The songs are wonderful. Granted the story is changed to deal with the dangers of crass commercialism, the weasels want to turn Toad Hall into a factory, but having seen several version of the story told with people in costume, this is only one of two versions that has ever worked, and this one did it in half the time of the other.
This is a film that will make everyone feel good and which despite the PG rating is great for everyone.
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