Director: Various

United Kingdom 1952-1979 | 78mins | Animation

Avaliable on: DCP

British animation came of age in the second half of the 20th century. This selection of films from its mature years reveal the many faces of its independent spirit. From sea gods and mermaids, to warnings of the rise of the machine age it is a programme filled with surprises. A series of beautifully crafted shorts from Yellow Submarine (1968) director George Dunning, and a goonish work from the irreverent Bob Godfrey explore the process of animation itself, whilst a range of independent works by women animators dig into femininity, philandering and faith.



The Figurehead (Halas & Batchelor, 1952)

A nautical tale of sea gods, mermaids, romance and drunken carpenters. A rare venture into stop-motion and modelwork from Halas & Batchelor, the producers of Britain’s debut animated feature Animal Farm (1954)

Parents Take Hart (Larkins Studio, 1953)

Some rum parenting advice from the innovative Larkins Studio in this cinema commercial based on the drawings of Ronald Searle, the creator of St Trinian’s. 


The Wardrobe (George Dunning, 1958)

A big box of cartoon tricks is opened in this deceptively simple short, the first of three films in the programme by George Dunning, the director of Yellow Submarine (1968). 

Do It Yourself Cartoon Kit (Biographic, 1959)

An irreverent but affectionate poke at the pretensions of the industry, enlivened by the creative spirit and offbeat humour of Bob Godfrey. Cobbled together in downtime from making TV ads, this exquisite corpse exercise remains a timeless comic classic.


Automania 2000 (Halas & Batchelor, 1963)

A satirical swipe at the relentless pursuit of scientific progress at the expense of basic humanity. Joy Batchelor’s witty script treads with a perfect balance through comedy and cataclysm, supported by colourful modern visuals. The first British animation to be nominated for an Academy Award.


Springtime for Samantha (Vera Linnecar, 1965)

Meet Samantha, a far from typical cartoon heroine but delightful in her independence and imagination. Her creator was Vera Linnecar, already an industry veteran with over two decades of experience but making her independent directorial debut in this charming short.


Note from Above (Derek Phillips, 1967)

An animated aphorism from one of the most individual spirits of British animation. Derek Phillips took to his spare room to produce over 45 films in a decade of prolific and targeted comic provocation. No two films were visually alike, but each carried their creator’s keen mind and sharp wit. 


The Ladder (George Dunning, 1967)

The second George Dunning short in the programme sees his art pared back to the barest of brushstrokes. Simple daubs of colour make up our cast of characters in a stark tale which elevates cartoon logic to a fine art.


Transformer (Trickfilms, 1968)

All aboard the psychedelic steam engine. After building the visual world of Yellow Submarine (1968) Heinz Edelmann, Charlie Jenkins and Alison De Vere set up their own company and produced this stunning promo for the Cambridge Animation Festival. 


Damon the Mower (George Dunning, 1972)

Poetry and animation combine in George Dunning’s masterpiece. Andrew Marvell’s verse is the catalyst for a stripped-back experiment that strips the process of animation bare and leaves it naked under the rostrum camera. A film of stark beauty.


Green Men, Yellow Woman (Thalma Goldman, 1973) 

You will never look at Clark Gable the same way again. Thalma Goldman came to Britain from Israel and discovered the possibilities of adding movement to her paintings. This playful look at deceitful male suitors is typical of the provocative and vibrant series of animated shorts she produced across the seventies.


Ubu (Geoff Dunbar, 1978)

The riotous rudeness of Jarry’s play makes an effortless transition to animation thanks to Geoff Dunbar and his talented animation team. The drawings are inked with such astonishing verve that they appear still fresh.

Mr Pascal (Alison De Vere, 1979)

A film to restore your faith in the world. Alison De Vere’s long career in animation had a remarkable twilight with a series of staggering short films of quiet charm and astonishing depth. Mr Pascal is a spiritual tale that goes beyond religion to show faith in the value of small gestures of human kindness.