RIP Bob Godfrey – Great (1975) Isambard Kingdom Brunel

isambard-kingdom-brunel-and-the-launching-chains-of-the-great-eastern

Bob Godfrey, the award winning animator, has passed away aged 91.

I’ve posted a picture of the great Victorian engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, to make the connection to his biographical film, Great (1975). Brunel is a larger-than-life figure who conceptualised an integrated system of enormous machines connecting London and New York!

The steam railway to Bristol and then steam ships across the Atlantic.

Bob Godfrey was one of a whole lot of people who really transformed the moving-inage culture of Britain in the early 1970s. Along with Terry Gilliam, of Monty Python fame, he combined ready-made elements, surrealism and irreverence to create fast-paced, clever and funny films. He attacked various sacred-cows of British culture and an establishment tendency to pomposity and hypocrisy.

It’s difficult, nowadays, to understand how fresh and radical this kind of moving image was.

Apart from a few notable exceptions, the word animation had become linked to a specific, American, style of cartoon. At its worst, this was exemplified by the exquisite banality of the huge Disney studio productions.

By literally drawing on the sex, drugs and rock and roll traditions of the counter-culture; Godfrey created something clever and funny.

Bob_framed

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