The 1970s also brought a very significant original stop-motion feature to Norway called Flaklypa Grand Prix (known as Pinchcliffe Grand Prix in its U.K. release version), which has become a national treasure with a huge cult following. Director Ivo Caprino had begun making short films and commercials with both live-action and stop-motion puppets in 1948. He had much support from his artistic parents; his mother would end up helping him build puppets and sets. Caprino continued making films into the ’50s and ’60s that captured elements of European folk tales and short stories with delightful puppet characters. His first feature film produced in 1959, Ugler i Mosen (Owls in the Marsh), was mostly live action, with some stop-motion sequences. His second feature project, about the Norwegian writer Peter Christen Asbjornsen, was never realized because of a lack of funds. Instead, it was adapted into a series of short films through the 1960s. Caprino began working on a half-hour television special in 1970 that was based on the books of cartoonist Kjell Aukrust. The special was ultimately abandoned because of difficulties in adapting the material into a short format, but many of the sets and puppets were used for what became a full-length feature. The feature took more than 3 years to make and had a very small crew of set builders and cameramen, with Caprino directing and animating (Figures 1.13 and 1.14).
[Figure 1.13] Ivo Caprino (center) and crew on the set of Flaklypa Grand Prix. (© 1975, Caprino Studios.)
Flaklypa Grand Prix
[Figure 1.14] Ivo Caprino and crew on the exterior set of Flaklypa Grand Prix. (© 1975, Caprino Studios.)
tells the story of an inventor named Reodor Felgen (U.K. version: Theodore Rimspoke), who lives quietly on a hilltop with his assistants: a bird named Solan Gundersen (U.K. version: Sonny Duckworth) and a hedgehog named Ludvig (U.K. version: Lambert). The trio (Figure 1.15) teams up with an Arab sheik to build an amazing race car named “Il Tempo Gigante” to compete in a Grand Prix race against their rival, the villainous Rudolf Blodstrupmoen. Highlights of the film include the complex Rube Goldberg–type contraptions in Felgen’s house, a delightful ragtime band number at the race’s opening ceremony, and the Grand Prix race itself. The race is incredibly exciting and beautifully edited, as the camera speeds along behind the cars through the elaborate miniature sets of the winding countryside race track (Figure 1.16). On many levels, the film is fun to watch and works brilliantly in terms of the set design and characterizations of the puppets.