Tales of Beatrix Potter
Beatrix Potter, the children's story-teller who scaled her tales down to size of her readers, has been well served by a film that brings the best-loved of them to the screen as a ballet. Not a word is spoken; everything is danced by the Royal Ballet to Sir Fredrick Ashton's choreography. But the effect is totally faithful in reproducing the essential pleasure of Potter - the pleasure of littleness. The two Town Mice, togged -up in picnic gear, waltz over the kitchen tiles and hold up their tails like trailing ball-gowns while behind them, seemingly as high as a football stadium wall, looms a brass fireplace fender.
Even the scenes that do not aim at a similar subtle interplay of scale and effect succeed because of the animal characteristics that dancers like Alexander Grant, Lesley Collier, Wayne Sleep and Ashton himself (as that hyphenated washerwoman Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle) bring to a world were mice brew tea , frogs go fishing and pigs wear smocks. Pigling Bland plights his troth with his Black Berkshire beloved in a pas de deux under kitchen rafters that are ominously festooned with pork sausages. Jeremy Fisher, enraptured by a rain storm, splashes through his waterlogged living-room. Squirrel Nutkin's tail is involved in a painful mishap.
And Jemimah Puddleduck almost succumbs to the blandishments of the fox witha recipe for duck casserole in the inside pocket. The masks are designed by Rotislav Dobujinsky and the sets by Christine Edzard are as neatly in keeping with Beatrix Potter's own little pantings as the muted watercolour look of the film which is directed by Reginald Miles and photographed Austin Dempster. The music that assigns each animals theme tune -waltz, march or polka - is an inspired blend of hitherto unheard period melodies discovered and transcribed by John Lanchberry from manuscripts in the British Museum. Ingenuity, care and love have all gone into making of Tales of Beatrix Potter (1971) and it shows.
Director: Reginald Mills
Cast: Frederick Ashton, Alexander Grant, Michael Coleman, Brenda Last, Ann Howard, Robert Mead, Lesley Collier, Sally Ashby, Carole Ainsworth, Avril Bergen, Jill Cooke, Leslie Edwards
Genre: Music and Performing Arts, Childrens
Tales of Beatrix Potter
* N/A or Unknown
Small Box - Rental Tape
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