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The Glitterball

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The Glitterball U rating

Somewhere in 1970s England, a UFO crashes in a potting shed. Inside is a strange round visitor from space: the Glitterball. How will it get home?

Children's 1977 56 mins

Director: Harley Cokliss

Overview

This ingeniously small-scale sci-fi adventure of a tiny, shiny alien ball-being with strange powers and a taste for electricity, crisps and custard, was released the same year as Star Wars, and foreshadows E.T., but was made for just a fraction of the cost of either. It was produced for The Children’s Film Foundation, makers of intelligent, fun films for British kids, from the 1950s to the 1980s.

Like all CFF films, this compact tale of close encounters was shot on a shoestring. But it still boasts outstanding visuals, with striking special effects by Brian Johnson (who worked on 2001 and Alien) and Barry Leith (animator of Paddington and the Wombles). Not long afterwards, director Harley Cokeliss was enlisted to shoot the SFX sequences for the second Star Wars film, The Empire Strikes Back.