amazingly, even with such high-profile success to build upon, McCartney's
long-gestating film did not materialize.
In 1987 the project awoke when Macca
recorded another new Rupert song with
arranger George Martin, but the track
was never released as a single and alas
yet again, no feature followed. Since then,
the high-profile tv series from Nelvana
has feasted upon the world market and it
now seems unlikely that the McCartney
film will ever see the light of day...
But a most successful partnership
has flourished on the back of Macca's efforts.
McCartney laid down a musical score for a new film project, 'Daumier's
Dunbar was commissioned to
direct and produce the 15min short which brought the
drawings of French artist Honore Daumier
into animated life. It premiered at the
Cannes Film Festival in 1992 and, like
Frog Song eight years earlier, collected a
BAFTA for Best Animated Short. In 1998
Macca and Dunbar teamed again on the
video to 'Tropical Island Hum'.
And then, last year they premiered their acclaimed
new short film 'Tuesday'. Adapted from
the book by David Weisner, this is another
amphibian-filled fantasy about frogs
on Lilly pads who, on one particular Tuesday
evening take a twilight flight into town.
The film is narrated by actor Dustin Hoffman
and is dedicated to Paul's late wife
Linda. It was shown at the Venice Film Festival
and went on to give the Macca/Dunbar
partnership their third BAFTA Nomination.
Whilst promoting the project in Italy
Macca was very vocal about his passion for
animation and commitment to making a
full-length feature soon - even giving a hint
that it might again feature frogs...
Frogs are good, but little bears would be
better still, eh?
Officially the full Frog Song film
title is 'Paul McCartney's Rupert And The
Frog Song', and the song credit for 'We
All Stand Together' cites Paul McCartney
and The Frog Chorus - the latter
being an ensemble of The St Paul's Choir together
with The King's Singers...
McCartney's connections with animation
began in the sixties with the Beatles
TV series which, in turn, lead to that
triumphant mixture of music, motion and
Meanie mayhem 'Yellow Submarine'.
Apparently, his favourite animated feature
is 'Lady And The Tramp'...
Director Geoff Dunbar is a most
influential animator. His career started at the
W M Larkins studio in London. A
stint with Halas & Batchelor followed. In 1975 he
collected a short film award at Cannes
for 'Lautrec' - a film which brought to life
Toulouse Lautrec's cancan drawings.
His most daring work was displayed in
'Ubu', an adaptation of a notorious award-winning
play by Alfred Jarry released
in 1979. Half funded by the Arts Council
Of Great Britain 'Ubu' is a bold, outspoken
twenty minute film which shocked critics
and distributors and collected several
notable awards - including a 1980 Golden
Bear. The contrast with his subsequent
work on Rupert couldn't be more dramatic.
And indeed, Dunbar's recent work has
moved further into the safety of the
nursery with directing chores on three of
TVC's splendid Beatrix
Potter adaptations: 'The Tale Of Peter rabbit And Benjamin
Bunny' (1992), 'The Tale Of Mrs Tiggy-Winkle And
Mr Jeremy Fisher' (1993),
and 'The Tale Of Mr Tod' (1994)...
Frog Song fans should keep their
eyes peeled for the small, but perfectly
formed, Ladybird tie-in book filled
with splendid screen shots from the film.
'We All Stand Together' was also
released as a fantastic shaped picture disc
featuring Macca and Rupert (similar to
the photo, top). On video, a collectable
edition was packaged to resemble
a book, with a special owner's bookplate
on the inside...
1985 BAFTA - Best Animated Short