This film is part of Free

Carnival in the Clothes Cupboard

A cartoon fantasy brings fabric patterns to life in a literal soap opera - yet even here the reality of Home Front life creeps in

Advert 1941 6 mins


A colourful cartoon commercial for soap flakes seems the last place that the realities of wartime life should creep in. A clothes cupboard opens to reveal a fantasy world where figures on fabric patterns come to life, and a neglected clown is shunned until he bathes in Lux Flakes. But in a last minute coda, the clown returns to break the animated fourth wall and tell the audience that the product will not be made again till the war is over.

Future Ealing and Hollywood director Alexander Mackendrick began his career at the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency, scripting and storyboarding many of their animated cinema commercials at this time. Along with the very similar Fable of the Fabrics, this was the first production by Halas & Batchelor Cartoon Films – a company that would quickly develop into Britain’s biggest animation studio of the post-war period.