THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS
This version comes from Terry Jones. Jones was one of the core members of the Monty Python troupe and directed the three principal Python films Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), Monty Pythons The Life of Brian (1979) and Monty Pythons The Meaning of Life (1983). On his own, Jones has written the script for the George Lucas-Jim Henson fantasy Labyrinth (1986) and made his first non-Python directorial outing with Personal Services (1986), a comedy about prostitution. Joness previous fantasy outing was the rather limpid Erik the Viking (1989), based on his own childrens story.
The good news is that The Wind in the Willows is a much better film than Erik the Viking was; the great shame is that it was little seen when it came out and almost vanished without a trace. It is a rather good adaptation of the story. Jones gets Kenneth Grahames nonsensical absurdity and the surreal fabulism of the tale down pat, with wonderfully nonchalant images of animals conducting the most British of pursuits the green-skinned Toad catching flies with his tongue while dressed in the tweeds of a country gentleman, huntsmen that have foxs tails, an Oxford rowing team that all have bunny ears passing by down the river.
Jones also manages to array a substantial number of names from British comedy and theatre and to reunite most of the remaining Monty Python troupe Eric Idle, John Cleese and Michael Palin all in substantial parts, with the only absentees being Graham Chapman (who died in 1989) and Terry Gilliam. He casts himself as Toad and with bulked out body is well suited to the part, although the shrilly annoying falsetto he delivers all the dialogue in quickly begins to weary. On the whole, this is a worthwhile, surprisingly faithful, surprisingly amiable and good-natured production of The Wind in the Willows. It deserved to be more successful than it was.
Film online in several parts beginning here:-