Newest Reviews
Bruce Lee & I
Doraemon The Movie: Nobita's Dinosaur
Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood
Invasion Planet Earth
Buddhist Spell, The
Steel and Lace
Reivers, The
Angel Has Fallen
I Lost My Body
At First Light
Free Ride
Blank Check
Mad Monk, The
Wind, The
Holly and the Ivy, The
Now, Voyager
Wolf's Call, The
Nightingale, The
Eighth Grade
Irishman, The
Lords of Chaos
Operation Petticoat
Dead Don't Die, The
On the Waterfront
Last Faust, The
Art of Self-Defense, The
Beach Bum, The
Kill Ben Lyk
Into the Mirror
Support the Girls
Newest Articles
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
But Doctor, I Am Pagliacci: Tony Hancock's The Rebel and The Punch and Judy Man on Blu-ray
Once Upon a Time in Deadwood: Interview with Director Rene Perez
Shit-Eating Grim: Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom on Blu-ray
Stallone's 80s Action Alpha and Omega: Nighthawks and Lock Up
Python Prehistory: At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set on DVD
You Could Grow to Love This Place: Local Hero on Blu-ray
Anglo-American: Joseph Losey Blu-ray Double Bill - The Criminal and The Go-Between
  Pinchcliffe Grand Prix, The Racing CarsBuy this film here.
Year: 1975
Director: Ivo Caprino
Stars: Various
Genre: Comedy, Action, Animated, Fantasy
Rating:  8 (from 1 vote)
Review: Here is the small town of Pinchcliffe, and towering above it is a mountain plateau on which the home of inventor Theodore Rimspoke sits. Theodore shares his home with his assistants Sonny Duckworth, a chirpy magpie (or is he a duck?), and Lambert, a hay fever-suffering hedgehog, and they are very happy working on the bicycles that they repair for a fee. The whole house, workshop and its surroundings are testament to Theodore's talent for creating things, but one morning when Sonny brings him the newspaper, they notice a super-duper racing car on the front page, which is driven by somebody not unknown to the old man...

The answer to the question, "What's the most successful Norwegian film of all time?" is this, The Pinchcliffe Grand Prix as it was known in Britain, and Flåklypa Grand Prix as it was known in its native land. It was shown in cinemas continuously somewhere in the world for almost thirty years straight, and went over especially well in the likes of Russia and Japan, but it has become an institution in Norway, where it is shown every Christmastime, much like The Snowman is in the United Kingdom. Not bad for a production that almost never happened at all, as funding for its original incarnation as a television special fell through.

But the puppets had been made, and director Ivo Caprino forged ahead to make a feature film instead, making history in the process. The level of detail is quite something to behold, and the charming characterisation places it on a par with Nick Park's Wallace and Gromit animations, but for its first hour it's a curiously sedate experience. Gentle, even, with the rivalry between Theodore's old apprentice Gore-Slimey, who is the champion driver of the car they see on the front page, and the three friends not exactly the kind of thing that you could imagine fuelling much of a battle, as the ill-feeling doesn't appear to run that deep.

But Sonny is determined to show up Gore-Slimey when he catches him on television demonstrating the invention that makes his race car so much better than anyone else's - because the invention was stolen from Theodore! It is the little bird who persuades the craftsman to build his own car, which has a secret weapon of its own, and they find funding from an unlikely source. It so happens that Sonny notices through his binoculars a Sheik at the bottom of the mountain, and he owns an oil company, so who better to put up the cash? Once the Sheik sees a drawing of what Theodore has in mind, he's only too glad to be a part of the plan.

Gore-Slimey may try to sabotage their Il Tempo-Gigante, but we are safe in the knowledge that good will triumph over evil, so it's just a matter of enjoying the Grand Prix of the title. Up until that point all has been quaint and cosy, but once the drivers get behind the wheel and the race commences, all hell breaks loose in a lightning fast, white knuckle ride of a half-hour finale. This sequence was reputedly the inspiration for the pod race in the otherwise disappointing Star Wars prequel, The Phantom Menace, but if anything the Norwegian film is better as the action arrives from out of the blue compared to what has gone before. Brilliantly fashioned and genuinely tense, it bullets along while never letting go of the enchantment carefully built up over the rest of the film, and for British viewers there was the novelty of hearing Formula 1 commentator Murray Walker narrating the contest. This was truly one of the best animated adventures of its era, and has a place in the heart of anyone who ever played with toy cars. Music by Bent Fabricius-Bjerre.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 2990 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star do you think makes the best coffee?
Emma Stone
Anna Kendrick
Michelle Rodriguez
Sir Patrick Stewart

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
  Rachel Franke
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M


Last Updated: