The BFG (1989 film)
The BFG is a 1989 British animated film produced by Cosgrove Hall Films, based on the 1982 novel of the same name by Roald Dahl. It was directed by Brian Cosgrove and written by John Hambley. The film was first shown on 25 December 1989 on ITV in the UK.
|Directed by||Brian Cosgrove|
|Screenplay by||John Hambley|
|Based on||The BFG|
by Roald Dahl
|Produced by||Brian Cosgrove|
|Edited by||Nigel Rutter|
|Music by||Keith Hopwood (music and score)|
Malcolm Rowe (lyrics and score)
The film was dedicated to animator George Jackson, who had worked on numerous Cosgrove Hall productions prior to his death in 1986. This film is also the last and posthumous role of Ballard Berkeley (voice of the Head of the Army), who died in 1988.
Sophie is a young orphaned girl living in the orphanage of the cantankerous and abusive Mrs. Clonkers. One night, Sophie wakes up and looks out of her window to see a cloaked giant blowing something through a trumpet into a bedroom window down the street; whereupon the giant notices her and snatches her through the window, carrying her away to a mysterious realm known as "Giant Country".
In his cave, the giant identifies himself as the Big Friendly Giant (or BFG for short) who blows dreams into the bedrooms of children at night, while all the other nine giants are vicious, bestial child-eaters. Not wanting to eat or steal from humans, the BFG subsists on eating "snozzcumbers"; revolting vegetables which are all that grows in Giant Country. He explains that he took her so she couldn't tell anyone that she had seen him and start a giant hunt. Sophie and the BFG quickly become friends; but Sophie is soon put in danger when a gruesome giant known as the Bloodbottler intrudes and unknowingly comes dangerously close to eating her. After the Bloodbottler leaves, the BFG makes her a new dress out of her blanket to replace her heavily soiled nightgown and treats her to a delicious and remarkable drink called "frobscottle".
The next morning, the BFG takes Sophie to Dream Country to catch more dreams. In Dream Country, the BFG demonstrates his dream-catching skills to Sophie and teaches her to fly; but the BFG mistakenly captures a "trogglehumper", the worst kind of nightmare. Upon arriving at his Dream Cave, the BFG shows Sophie all the dreams he has captured already and locks away the nightmare in his cavern of lava in a tiny chest, and takes Sophie to watch him on his dream-blowing duties; but this is cut short when they spot the Fleshlumpeater (the biggest of the evil giants) devouring a little boy whom the BFG had previously given a pleasant dream. The BFG flees with her to prevent her from being in danger again.
Afterwards, the grief-stricken Sophie convinces the BFG to stop the evil giants. They develop a plan to expose the evil giants to the Queen of England. Using dreams from his collection, the BFG creates a nightmare, blows it into the Queen's bedroom, leaves Sophie on the Queen's windowsill to confirm the dream and retreats into the palace gardens when Sophie calls him. Because the dream included foreknowledge of Sophie's presence, the Queen believes her story, and speaks with the BFG. The British Army and Air-Force follow the BFG to Giant Country where the giants are tethered and taken prisoner. However, the Fleshlumpeater is the only one to evade capture. He furiously confronts and attacks the BFG for his betrayal and then goes after Sophie but, with the help of the terrible nightmare he caught earlier, the BFG is able to subdue the Fleshlumpeater, who is captured as well.
All nine of the evil giants are then all transported via helicopters to London, where they are imprisoned in a deep metal pit and forced to eat snozzcumbers for the rest of their lives. Contrary to the book's ending, the BFG stays in Giant Country instead of moving to England, and Sophie becomes his assistant at the distribution of dreams.
- David Jason as the BFG
- Amanda Root as Sophie
- Angela Thorne as Queen Elizabeth II
- Don Henderson as the Bloodbottler, the Fleshlumpeater and the Sergeant
- Frank Thornton as Mr. Tibbs
- Mollie Sugden as Mary
- Michael Knowles as Head of Air Force
- Ballard Berkeley as Head of Army
- Myfanwy Talog as Mrs. Clonkers
- Jimmy Hibbert as Additional voices
The BFG was one of Cosgrove Hall Films' only feature-length films, which was directed by Brian Cosgrove, along with The Wind in the Willows. Cosgrove also produced the film along with Mark Hall, while John Hambley, who also executive produced the film, scripted the film after Brian Trueman's initial draft was rejected.
Development of the film can be traced as far back as 1984, when only 5 people, including Cosgrove, were working on the film before being joined by other crew members.
I painted a watercolour of how we saw him. I got a lovely note back from Dahl saying it was perfect, he was right behind it, and to just get on and do it. Sophie, the little girl who befriends the BFG, was easy. I had read that Dahl based her on his granddaughter, Sophie Dahl. At the time she wore John Lennon glasses, so we took it from there.
The film also used the rotoscoping technique for some of the characters, particularly for Queen Elizabeth II and her servants. Initially, the technique was used while animating Sophie, but it was soon discovered that Jean Flynn and Meryl Edge could animate Sophie's movements without a reference.
Possible deleted sceneEdit
Following its release, various children's books based on the film were published, one being a short narrative that featured printed still-shots of scenes from the film. Two pages consisted of some from a scene which was not featured in the final cut.
Taking place before the BFG and Sophie arrive at his Dream Cave, the two are on their way back from Dream Country when they again approach the other giant's domain. Sophie is somehow separated and placed in peril when she accidentally sits upon a giant dragonfly that flies off and drops her amongst the sleeping giants, who begin to stir from her scent. The BFG rescues her before they awake and begin scouring the land, convinced there is a human present.
The shot of the giants departing is later reused in the film as part of the Queen's nightmare of them and their heinous acts. A still from this scene can also be seen during the end credits of the film, and the scene's soundtrack is featured on the official soundtrack release. As of yet though, no media release has ever featured this supposed deleted scene.
Writing in The Sunday Times before its broadcast, Patrick Stoddart called it a "delight", and wrote that it "puts its already celebrated British animators, Cosgrove Hall, into the Disney class". It has since gone on to be a cult classic.
In 2016, Louisa Mellor, of the Den of Geek website, warmly appraised the film in comparison to Steven Spielberg's then just-released adaptation, saying, "Cosgrove Hall's twenty-seven year old animated feature may be less of a technical feat than the latter and was certainly made for a fraction of the budget, but that doesn't make it any less a whoppsy-whiffling, razztwizzling tribute to a terrific story."
Roald Dahl's reactionEdit
This film was one of the few adaptations of Dahl's works to get praise from the author himself. Cosgrove said that after Dahl sat through a screening of the film, he stood up and applauded in delight.
When we finished, we ran a screening in Soho, and Dahl and his family came along. They were sitting at the back, and when the film finished they stood up and applauded. He could be quite vocal, Dahl, if he didn't like something. He didn't like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory at all, the 1971 Gene Wilder one. So it was a real relief that he liked our film.
The film was first released on VHS by Video Collection International in the United Kingdom on 17 September 1990, in collaboration with Thorn EMI's Thames Video Collection. It was released again by the same company on 25 September 1995 and 13 October 1997.
Roadshow Home Video and ABC Video released the film on VHS in Australia on 12 February 1992, while its first video release in the United States was by Celebrity Home Entertainment on 2 April 1996.
Pearson Television International Ltd re-released the film on VHS on 1 June 2001, and on DVD for the first time on 8 April 2002. The DVD features 3 interactive games, an interview with Brian Cosgrove, a photo gallery and storyboards. Another release followed on 1 January 2008 by Pearson's successor, Fremantle Home Entertainment.
The film's first DVD release in the United States was distributed by Celebrity Home Entertainment on 28 September 1999. It was re-released by A&E Home Video on 27 June 2006.
|The BFG - Original Soundtrack|
|Soundtrack album by |
Keith Hopwood and Malcolm Rowe
|Released||11 July 2016|
Keith Hopwood's and Malcolm Rowe's original score to The BFG was completed by Pluto Music Limited and released on 11 July 2016 by Pluto Music Limited and FremantleMedia. The album contains the entire score as heard in the film in chronological order. Keith Hopwood gave an interview in June 2016 in which he told the story on how the score was composed and stylized:
"Early in 1986 Malcolm Rowe and I were asked by Cosgrove Hall to compose the score for Roald Dahl’s The BFG, which they were about to produce as an animated feature. We had a good relationship with Mark Hall and Brian Cosgrove, having just completed the feature and several series of The Wind in the Willows. This was an exciting, 2 year project, scoring the world of Giant Country, home of frobscottle, snozzcumbers and whizzpoppers, with of course the Big Friendly Giant and his new friend Sophie. The score production was an intentional mix of very synthesized pieces, and large orchestral sections for the action sequences."
|1.||"The Vortex & Arrival"||0:43|
|2.||"The Owl's Flight"||1:34|
|3.||"Giant in the Street"||1:49|
|5.||"Journey Through Giantland"||1:41|
|6.||"You Snitched Me"||1:41|
|7.||"Bloodbottler in the Cave"||2:01|
|9.||"Whizzpopping!" (performed by David Jason)||2:40|
|10.||"Dusk to Dawn"||0:51|
|12.||"Sometimes, Secretly" (performed by Sharon Campbell)||1:54|
|13.||"Insects! Part 1"||0:43|
|14.||"Insects! Part 2"||1:11|
|15.||"The Dream Cave"||1:39|
|16.||"The Fishing Village"||1:53|
|17.||"The Boy's Dream"||1:12|
|18.||"Flight to Buckingham Palace"||0:58|
|19.||"The Queen's Dream"||1:13|
|20.||"This is The BFG"||0:33|
|21.||"Helicopter Flight to Vortex"||2:02|
|22.||"Vortex to Landing"||1:00|
|23.||"Giant Round Up"||1:40|
|26.||"The Fleshlumpeater: Part 1"||1:15|
|27.||"The Fleshlumpeater: Part 2"||2:52|
|30.||"Two Worlds" (performed by Paul Young and Sharon Campbell)||3:38|
|31.||"Mirror, Mirror" (performed by Sharon Campbell)||3:47|
|32.||"Sometimes, Secretly (Full Length Version)" (performed by Sharon Campbell)||3:03|
Awards and nominationsEdit
|1990||BAFTA Awards||Best Children's Programme (Entertainment/Drama)||Brian Cosgrove & Mark Hall||Nominated|
|1989||New York Festival||Best Score and Songs||Keith Hopwood||Won|
- The BFG, the 2016 Disney live action feature
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- "Tails of Adventure - Arts and Entertainment - The Independent". Retrieved 27 May 2019.
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- "The BFG / Trivia". TV Tropes. Retrieved 8 February 2020.
- "The BFG (1989) - Rotten Tomatoes". Retrieved 10 July 2016.
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- Childs, Marti and March, Jeff (2011). Where Have All the Pop Stars Gone? - Volume 1, pp. 84. EditPros LLC. ISBN 1937317005