Thursday, February 15, 2007

Halas and Batchelor

This is a new book that I was completely unaware of. Halas and Batchelor were, for years, the leading British animation studio. They were the first British studio to do a feature, Animal Farm, and did other features as well, including one of a Gilbert and Sullivan operetta called Ruddigore. The book also includes a DVD, though I'm not sure what the contents are.

Animators will probably be familiar with the book Timing for Animation by Harold Whitaker and John Halas. Whitaker was one of the leading animators at the studio.

Here's the link to Amazon in Canada and in the U.S. Neither has a cover image, which I nicked from Bud Plant.

I haven't seen this and have no idea how good it might be. If anyone already has a copy, please leave a comment with your impressions.


Rudy Agresta said...

Hello Mark,

I thoroughly enjoy your site. Keep up the great work!

I have the Halas & Batchelor book. It is definitely worth adding to your library for the pictures and DVD alone. The text is not bad, either. It was primarily written by the duo's daughter and she offers insight into the working methods of her parents. I've never read anything along those lines about H & B before.

The accompanyting DVD has the following: Magic Canvas (1948)
The Figurehead (1953)
The History of the
Cinema (1957)
Automania 2000 (1963)
The Symphony Orchestra
Dilemma (1981)
Know You Europeans UK

I purchased the book through Amazon (USA). I found out about it by frequently visiting Amazon's other sites around the world to search for new items that may not be released in the US.

All in all, a five star rating!

Rudy Agresta

Mark Mayerson said...

Hi Rudy. Thanks very much for the review and the list of the DVD contents. Much appreciated.

Jim said...

Hi Mark

I just found your blog and seen your comments on the Halas & Batchelor book. I am really pleased that Rudy liked the book and your comments. It is a really good book but I am perhaps not being objective enough as I contributed the chapter on the studios animated commercials. I hope the book helps give a better understanding of the history of the studio and the work they did. I was pleased to be able to contribute to the book as it had been talked about by Vivien Halas when I use to manage the Animation Research Centre Archive which holds the Halas and Batchelor Collection and the Bob Godfrey collection ( There is still so much more to be written about the studio but also in general British animation which I hope will be resolved in the future. There is more details about the book including a review on Amazon UK. The Halas & Batchelor website ( is a good place to check if you want to find out more or get in touch with Vivien Halas, I know she would be very pleased to get feedback on the book.


Anonymous said...


I have have not reviewed the book but I intend to buy it at a local Twin Cities store that has it. I worked with Sir John and Joy on Dilemma, one of the films I understand is discussed in the book and credited by Britannica as the first all digital film. I was an Assoc. Prod. with the company in So. Bend, Indiana where the short was created and just out of undergraduate school. It was a high point in my early working life and I have fond memories of the gracious and then elderly couple coming to the US to discuss the project. Today, I'm an elementary school teacher in the St. Paul Public Schools.