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When the Wind Blows

Entry updated 23 February 2017. Tagged: Film, Radio.

Animated film (1986). Meltdown Productions. Directed by Jimmy T Murakami. Written by Raymond Briggs, based on his own When the Wind Blows (graph 1982). Cast includes John Mills and Peggy Ashcroft. 84 minutes. Colour.

Before turning his bestselling Graphic Novel into a screenplay, Briggs made a Radio adaption, with the unfortunate effect that When the Wind Blows is shackled to the non-stop chatter of its two (working-class) characters. Jim (Mills) and Hilda (Ashcroft) live in Sussex, and are concerned about the approach of World War Three. They follow advice given in official pamphlets, but the aftermath of the Bomb proves much worse than the pamphlets contemplate, and they are left on their own. Moaning about international crises they have not bothered to be interested in, misled by memories of the camaraderie of World War Two and somewhat unfairly patronized by the film, they are shattered to learn that nuclear Holocaust means no more milk deliveries, a toilet that will not flush and destroyed curtains, as well as presumably terminal radiation sickness. While Murakami, who had directed the live-action Battle beyond the Stars (1980), uses state-of-the-art animation technology to make the best use in the medium of three-dimensional sets since Hoppity Goes to Town (1941), the film suffers from a certain middle-class Campaign-for-Nuclear-Disarmament smugness, with Sir John Mills and Dame Peggy Ashcroft trying to sound as obtuse as "ordinary" people. The original tale by Briggs strikes a more delicate balance between compassion and irony. There is an irksomely dirge-like David Bowie theme song. [KN]


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