Wombling Free

Wombling Free is a 1977 British film adaption of the children's television series The Wombles.[1] Directed by Lionel Jeffries, it stars The Wombles, David Tomlinson, Frances de la Tour, and Bonnie Langford.

Wombling Free
Directed byLionel Jeffries
Produced byIan Shand
Written byLionel Jeffries
StarringThe Wombles
David Tomlinson
Frances de la Tour
Bonnie Langford
Narrated byLionel Jeffries
Music byMike Batt
Chris Spedding
CinematographyAlan Hume
Edited byPeter Tanner
Distributed byThe Rank Organisation
Release date
  • 1977 (1977)
Running time
96 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguageEnglish

Plot

Based on the popular BBC children's series, this film charts the adventures of the Wombles, a colony of small litter-picking creatures who live in Wimbledon Common in 1970s London, England, United Kingdom. The film begins with Great Uncle Bulgaria Womble telling the story of how Wombles have always been cleaning up after humans from the very beginning with Adam and Eve, and how Wombles continue to clean up after humans for generations up to the present day all around the world, including the United States, Russia, and India. Only seen by those who believe in them, their work goes largely unnoticed until a young girl, Kim, spots them and their worthwhile purpose. As she invites them to her birthday party, her father is forced to believe as he comes face to face with Orinoco, Tobermory and the rest. A public meeting is set to prove to the local population that the Wombles do exist and should be aided in their anti-rubbish campaign. But on the day in question, a storm breaks out over the Common.

At the end, Kim, Wombles and all the children help in cleaning up Wimbledon Common.

Cast

Humans

Wombles

The Womble characters were portrayed by dwarf actors Kenny Baker as Bungo the drummer, Eileen Baker as Tobermory the keyboardist, Sadie Corre as Madame Cholet the saxophonist, Tony Friel as Wellington the lead guitarist, John Lummiss as MacWomble the rhythm guitarist, Jack Purvis as Great Uncle Bulgaria the violinist and music director, Albert Wilkinson as Tomsk the bassist, and Marcus Powell as Orinoco the lead singer. Womble voices were provided by David Jason, Janet Brown, Jon Pertwee, John Graham and Lionel Jeffries.

Soundtrack

An accompanying soundtrack was released by CBS featuring a selection of Mike Batt's score cues plus new recordings and remixes of previous Womble songs as featured in the film. No items from this album have ever appeared on any Wombles compilation, but in 2011 the soundtrack was given its first ever CD release on the Dramatico label.

  1. "The Wombling Song (Film Version)"
  2. "The Creation Of The World (Main Title)"
  3. "Edinburgh Rock"
  4. "Introduction From Minuetto Allegretto"
  5. "Introduction To The Womble Burrow"
  6. "Wombling White Tie & Tails (Film Version)"
  7. "Under The Hills And Not Far Away"
  8. "Madame Cholet"
  9. "Mr. Roland Frogmorton's Music"
  10. "Miss Felicity Kim Frogmorton's Music"
  11. "Frogmorton's Theme"
  12. "The March Of The Machines"
  13. "Exercise Is Good For You (Film Version)"
  14. "The Underground Garden"
  15. "Count Down And Lift-Off"
  16. "Womble Of The Universe"
  17. "The Queen"

Production

Wombling Free was part of a slate of films made in the late 70s by the Rank Organisation, who re-entered the filmmaking arena.[2]

Locations

Most exterior shots were filmed in Black Park in Wexham and Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire.

Reception

The film critic from the Observer called the film "abysmal".[3]

References

  1. WOMBLING FREE Monthly Film Bulletin; London Vol. 45, Iss. 528, (Jan 1, 1978): 99.
  2. FINANCE FOR LOCAL TALENT Perry, Simon. Sight and Sound; London Vol. 49, Iss. 3, (Summer 1980): 144.
  3. French, P. (1978, Jul 23). Computerised tears. The Observer (1901- 2003). Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/476435740
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