Delightful is the only way to describe the wonderful animations that appear half way through this charming film. A small girl, filmmaker Jack Eley’s daughter Susan, misses her friend’s birthday party due to having mumps, only to then fall asleep and have a vivid dream of a fairy appearing and bringing to life the fairy stories in a book. For an amateur of this time, the stop motion animation is of a very high order.
Jack Eley was a major player in the very active Leeds Cine Club in the 1950s and ‘60s, making films over nearly fifty years, from 1932 up until 1980. He rarely took typical family home movies, but preferred to make accomplished documentaries, along with a few comedies. Fairy tales lent themselves to stop motion animation, although around this time this was a form mainly found in Europe, and usually using puppets rather than cut outs. Eley may have been inspired by Ray Harryhausen’s wonderful short, The Story of Hansel and Gretel, of 1951, or even by the amazing cut out silhouette animations of Lotte Reiniger, who settled in England after the war. There was no animation on the early British television of the time.