Jonathan Andrew Sheen (leviathan0999) wrote,
Jonathan Andrew Sheen


So there's an entirely, magnificently, dementedly wonderful animated Australian movie from the 1980s called "Grendel Grendel Grendel." It's a humorous musical adaptation of John Garder's novel Grendel, which is, in its turn, a re-telling of the titular segment of the epic poem Beowulf, told from the monster's point of view.

It was Written, Directed, and Designed by Alexander Stitt, well known in Australian animation for creating "Norm," of the "Life: Be In It" campaign. (I can still sing the theme song of that, BTW, and I've never enven been to Australia!)

The music was composed by Bruce Smeaton, a great composer with a solid body of work for film and orchestra. will find you quite a few reviews of it, most of which are entirely wrong. They almost always call the animation "crude," but that's just careless viewing of simple design. The animation has stunning moments -- the camera swinging three-hundred-and-sixty degrees around a character at its focal point, while the world rotates in the background, a reflection seen in rippling water -- and the script is remarkably sophisticated, wildly funny, grimly cynical, and shatteringly sad.

I can't begin to tell you how much this movie has meant to me over the years, and I've managed to infect a few friends with the Grendel Grendel Grendel bug. It was released, years ago, on VHS, and if you happen across it, pick it up, and watch it. You'll be glad you did. Maybe I can infect you, too.

So, anyway, it's meant a lot to me that a few years ago I found contact information for the writer/director/designer, and for the composer, on-line, and I corresponded briefly and very enjoyably with both. They'd felt an awful lot like they'd released their baby into the world and he'd fallen into a hole and disappeared, and it blew their minds -- more the Stitts {I communicated with Mr. Stitt through his wife, a very sweet and clever lady} than Mr. Smeaton, who's always glad to hear from someone who's enjoyed his work, but would rather look forward than back -- that some American fellow had seen their little-known movie, and gone to the trouble to find them and praise them for it.

It meant even more when Computer Technology brought prices down enough for me to get a DVD Burner drive, and, with the help of my very good friend usagijer, who ripped the movie from VHS, I could make a DVD of the movie. I mean, VHS is OK, I guess -- and the DVD was never going to be better quality than the tape -- but tape wears out a little every time you play it. Ones and Ohs are forever. So, having made a fairly nice DVD, with animated menus and deliberate scene selections, nice-looking labels and DVD case inserts, I decided to burn a couple in PAL format, and send them out, one to the Stitts, and one to Mr. Smeaton, with notes explaining my purpose in sending them (That is, so that the creators could have more permanent versions of the movie to keep than VHS, and that I wasn't going into business with the things.)

And heard a resounding... Silence.

Being the kind of fellow I am, I of course began to get very nervous about international legal proceedings and the like.

Well, yesterday, I got an e-mail from Mr. Smeaton that he was changing his e-mail address, so I put my courage in its sticking place, and responded asking if he'd received his DVD. Today he answered! He had! He was very pleased with it, and very friendly about it, and even apologetic for not letting me know when he received it! He also mentioned that the Stitts had stopped by shortly after he'd received it, and the context suggested they were well-pleased, as well!

I couldn't be more grateful, more relieved. It's so nice to give a little back to some folks who've brought me so much joy.

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