The Wrong Trousers
|The Wrong Trousers|
|Directed by||Nick Park|
|Produced by||Peter Lord
|Written by||Nick Park
|Music by||Julian Nott|
|Running time||30 minutes|
The Wrong Trousers is a 1993 stop motion animated short film directed by Nick Park at Aardman Animations, featuring his characters Wallace and Gromit. It was his second half-hour short featuring the eccentric inventor Wallace (voiced by Peter Sallis) and his silent but intelligent dog Gromit, following 1989's A Grand Day Out, and preceding 1995's A Close Shave.
As in A Grand Day Out, the 30-minute film uses sight gags and exaggerated physical comedy and quiet moments, as well as a few subtle film parodies. The film premiered in the United States on 17 December 1993 and the United Kingdom on 26 December 1993. It won the 1993 Academy Award for Animated Short Film.
It was highly successful and inspired a charity fundraising day, known as Wrong Trousers Day, one of several events organised by the charity Wallace and Gromit's Children's Foundation. During the day, participants wear the wrong trousers to work or school etc. and donate a pound to help sick children in hospitals and hospices.
The film begins at 62 West Wallaby Street on Gromit's birthday. After being tipped out of bed and dressed using several mechanical contraptions, Wallace is greeted with a large pile of bills. Wallace remembers Gromit's birthday and presents Gromit with a somewhat unwelcome gift of a spiked dog collar, and a second present of a pair of ex-NASA robotic "Techno Trousers", acquired by Wallace to alleviate the burden of taking Gromit for walks. While Gromit is out on a "walk", Wallace realises they are in financial difficulty and decides to let the spare bedroom out. He is answered by an inscrutable-looking penguin named Feathers McGraw, who comes to stay at the house, pushing Gromit out of his comfortable bedroom and taking interest in the Techno Trousers. That night, Gromit is kept up by Feathers' loud music and develops a dislike for the penguin. The next morning, Feathers wins Wallace's favour by getting the morning paper before Gromit.
Upset that Feathers has intruded on his relationship with his master, Gromit leaves home. After viewing his departure, Feathers gets to work on modifying the Techno Trousers for his own use, removing the controls on the trousers and adapting them into a remote control. After sleeping rough, Gromit hunts for suitable lodgings, noticing a police notice at a cafe for a criminal penguin who disguises himself as a chicken by wearing a rubber glove on his head (the poster saying "Have You Seen This Chicken?"). Meanwhile, Wallace's normal morning routine is interrupted by the replacement of his expected trousers with the modified Techno Trousers. Trapped inside the "wrong trousers", Wallace is marched out of the house and sent around town on an extended test run, unaware that Feathers is controlling them. Gromit witnesses this spectacle and later spies on Feathers as he suspiciously measures up the exterior of the city museum from a box. He returns home and in his old bedroom, uncovers plans to steal a giant diamond from the museum, using the trousers and Wallace as tools. However, Gromit is too late to foil the plan and hides inside Wallace's bed, where he sees Feathers arrive dressed in his "chicken disguise", Gromit realising from the same image from the wanted poster that Feathers is a wanted thief.
In a deep sleep after the day's misadventures, Wallace is unwittingly brought into the robbery by Feathers and marched out of the house to the museum. After climbing the wall and entering through a roof air vent, he is marched through the prehistoric hall to the diamond, avoiding the laser alarm system. The helmet Wallace is dressed in contains a remote-controlled claw which hooks the diamond. The diamond has barely been hooked (including a close call when the diamond slips and almost hits the floor) when a loose ceiling tile sets the trousers off balance, causing the claw to accidentally trigger the alarm, which wakes Wallace up. After marching Wallace out and back to West Wallaby Street, Feathers obtains the diamond and reveals his true identity. When Wallace protests, he traps Wallace in a wardrobe.
As Feathers makes for the door with the diamond, Gromit confronts Feathers with a rolling pin. Feathers pulls out a revolver and forces Gromit into the wardrobe with Wallace, locking both of them inside. Being an expert with electronics, Gromit manages to break into the trousers' circuits to make them march and eventually rip the wardrobe off its base. There follows a fast chase aboard a train set, as Gromit tries to prevent Feathers from escaping with the diamond. Wallace's attempts to assist are mostly unsuccessful, though he removes Feathers' revolver and frees himself from the trousers. After Feathers' train is abruptly stopped by the trousers, he is captured and handed in to the police station and imprisoned in a zoo. For capturing Feathers, Wallace and Gromit are given a substantial reward, which pays off their debts. Meanwhile, the trousers, unceremoniously consigned to the dustbin, walk off by themselves into the sunset.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (May 2013)|
In the original airing of the film, Gromit's birthday card plays "Happy Birthday to You" as it is associated with birthdays in Britain, Australia and North America. But when the film was released on DVD by Warner Home Video in 2000, and by DreamWorks Home Entertainment SKG in 2005, this was replaced with "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow" to avoid copyright infringements. Also removed for the DVD (again for reasons of copyright) are two specific songs from the penguin's radio replaced with generic Hammond organ music. The pieces that were removed are "Happy Talk" from the musical South Pacific and "(How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window?", along with Wallace's humming of it the subsequent morning. "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree" was left intact though. In addition, Gromit's TV at breakfast no longer plays the Open University theme. However the original soundtrack can still be heard in the background of the commentary track of the DVD release. In the 2009 HD version of the film, Julian Nott's soundtrack appears to have been remixed or rerecorded. The Blu-ray release also does not include the original music.
The Wrong Trousers was voted as the 18th best British Television Show by the British Film Institute. It has a unanimously positive score on Rotten Tomatoes with 24 reviews, 100% positive and an average score of 9.1/10. The film was awarded the Grand Prix at the Tampere Film Festival in 1994.
|This article relies on references to primary sources. (June 2007)|
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