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Films: T is for...

Thumbelina

Barry Mahon’s production of the inch-high folktale. For those still in blissful ignorance, Mahon was a WWII flying ace and Stalag Luft escapee (rumour has it he was partly the inspiration for McQueen’s Cooler King) who moved into Hollywood, flying planes for Errol Flynn. Later he set up on his own, producing cheapo films of two varieties – sexploitation knock-offs with fantastic titles like 1000 Female Shapes and, best of all, International Smorgas-Broad; and hideously tacky DayGlo kids’ matinees with art direction that made HR Pufnstuf look like Brideshead Revisited, including Thumbelina, Santa and the Ice Cream Bunny, and a version of the Wizard of Oz which departed significantly from the original books by featuring a flying sofa, a drum majorette band and a bloke in shorts with hideous painted-on eyes and cardboard ‘tache calle the Wogglebug. We’re 99% certain this last queasy mess of a film was last seen on Channel Four when it was, inexplicably, chosen as the ideal emergency afternoon filler on September 12th 2001.

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