Annie Mall wrote:
I tell you, if you ever want to scare a child out of their wits, this is it! Nuclear bombing as the main theme for an animation feature? Ok...
I actually recorded this off the television in the early 90s and the tape ran out just at the part where the old man has the flashback to being on the firetruck ladders during the blitz, which is just before the film goes into its final section. It's not a film thats often shown so while I was told it ended sadly my copy always ended on a high note! I guess that proves the theory that it is very important where you end
There was a copy of the graphic novel in my school library so I read that to see the ending. I think this shows that the librarians at my school didn't really read the books they bought - it was together with the other Raymond Briggs such as The Snowman and Father Christmas!
I remember liking the book as much as the film as there was something extremely disturbing about flicking back and forth through the pages and seeing brief glimpses of the end during the early scene or of the life before the bomb while approaching the end. Flicking back and forth also showed more drastically the characters getting sicker.
Also in the book during the early scenes you have the normal frames of graphic novels (I can't remember for sure but around twelve to a page or so) and then one huge double page of the cutaways to the sub or the missile silos. A very effective use of the page, as well as the frames slowly swimming back into focus after the blast.
I really like the film as well - I like the combination of cell drawn characters and their real surroundings, in a way it makes the animated characters seem even more fragile. I also think the title tune is perhaps my absolute favourite Bowie song.
A very harrowing piece of work and perhaps one made much more by being so well made and having such nice characters who have to die for others mistakes, while living by a set of values that have completely changed on them. In a similar way to Straw Dogs I find myself drawn more and more to the opening scenes which are stating the themes and futility in a more understated way before we are bashed senseless by the apocalypse, and also the way in which it will take more than a nuclear bomb to stop the old lady trying to clean up and fix tea! I guess it is a similar set of circumstances that the couple were living under as they were before the bomb - then they were following the government guidance as gospel and afterwards waiting confidently for help to come.
It is a piece of work I've always connected with James Herbert, since I was reading most of his books at around that time and especially his final book in the 'Rats' trilogy called Domain written at around the same time as When The Wind Blows (in 1984) but dealing with nuclear war in an action adventure style.
It wasn't until 1998 that I finally got to see the rest of the film (and it was
shown at Christmas that year at about 2.30 in the morning!) and found the way the film very moving in the way it handled the ending of the couple 'in the sack' together, so to speak!