When The Wind Blows - When The Wind Blows(Blu Ray) [Severin Kids - 2020]There are only a couple of films that manage to switch between comfy, charming & lightly comic to harrowing & emotionally troubling, and 1986ís When The Wind Blows is one such film. The animated film tells of Britain been nuked in the early 1980s, but tells its story from the point of view of an elderly couple living in a green & idyllic countryside setting. From the folks over at Severin Kids hereís release number three from the sub-label- the region free Blu Ray takes in a new scan of the film, and a good selection of extras.
When The Wind Blows was the screen adaptation of 1982's graphic novel of the same name written by celebrated British illustrator, cartoonist, & author Raymond Briggs- whose most known work is probably 1978ís The Snowman- which told of a young boy befriending a snowman. Briggs worked largely sat in the more children/ family-focused work- and while When The Wind Blows presents itís self initially in a cuddly 'n' cute fashion, it rapidly becomes bleaker & more troubling. The film adaptation was helmed by Teruaki "Jimmy" Murakami- a Japanese American film director & animator, who started working in film in the mid-1960ís- first doing animated shorts- then in 1980 he progressed to feature-length/non animated film with the Roger Corman produced mermen raping pic Humanoids from the Deep where he was an unaccredited director- his next film was another Corman produced venture Battle Beyond The Stars which was seemingly somewhat of a Star Wars rip-off. After this is did a segment on classic fantasy animation anthology Heavy Metal- before going on to make the small screen adaptation of Biggs The Snowman.
The films focus on naÔve elderly couple Jim (voiced by John Mills) & Hilda Bloggs( Voiced by Peggy Ashcroft)- they resided in a quiet & idyllic country location- where their house overlook miles upon miles of green fields. Jim is tubby, bolding & bespeckled, and Hilda is rather prim & proper in her white apron & linen hat. The film starts with Jim coming home from town with talk of the escalating convict between the UK & Russia- and the strong possibility of the UK been nuked. He starts building an indoor shelter, all the while the pair fondly reminisce about WW2 which they both lived through. Both are decidedly charming & loveable- Jim is bumbling & overtly positive, while Hilda is more practical through still naive. With-in due course an announcement comes over the radio that the Uk is going to be bombed in the next few minutes, so they rush to their shelter made from house doors, pillows & mattresses. The bomb drops, blasting out their house- and what follows is the slow-but-steady decline from the on-set of radiation sickness- all the while they try to remain positive & focused waiting to saved by the authorities- as we move towards a very glum & hopeless end.
The film's animation is fairly simple & basic- yet no less powerful & poignant. Both Mills & Ashcroft are great in their parts, managing to blend together naivety, hope, and believe that government/ system will help. The film's score is largely lo-key & moody fare created by Pink Floyd Singer/ songwriter Roger Walters, with a theme song by David Bowie. From the off the film pulls you into the comfy & charming life of the elderly couple, and one becomes very much attached to them- then of course the bomb drops and things go sadly go from bad-to-worse for some truly heart-breaking & troubling moments. Iíve seen the film several times over the years, and each time I've re-watched it still has the same impact & effect- so like all of Severin Kids titles, this is most certainly a family film.
Moving onto the extras- and the scan looks very balanced & even, with both the brighter-more buoyant colourings and the more gloomy & murky tones equally coming out well. The soundtrack & dialogue is even & clear through-out too. Moving onto the extras, and as far as I can gather the only new extra here is the commentary track with the films First Assistant Editor Joe Fordham and Film Historian Nick Redman- this is a nicely chatty & informative track- as the pair begin by talking about the time the film was made, and the very real fear that the bomb could be drop. They go onto talking about the work Fordham did on the film, including stories from his editing room- like when Paul & Linda McCartney, and the rather troubled Roger Walters. They talk about the on-screen action, character development, and more- all making for a worthy track. Moving onto the archive extras we get the 2010 documentary Jimmy Murakami: Non Alien- which runs for an hour & sixteen minutes and finds the director talking about his films & life in general, including the period as a child when he stayed in an American Japanese prisoner of war camp. Thereís a twenty-three-minute making of, a stand-alone twelve-minute interview with Raymond Briggs, and around twenty-three minutes of British Public Information Films that were made during the í80s to inform people what to do if the bomb did drop. So all told, not a bad selection of extras.
In finish donít be put off by some cute & colourful stills from When The Wind Blows- yes it begins cosy & pleasant, but as you get pulled in things quicky turn grim- then downright hopeless. Itís a clever & still very powerful film, that will most certainly be of interest to anyone interested in the very real 1980's terror of been nuked.Roger Batty