HBC237334 John Halas, Joy Batchelor, John Reed and Matyas Seiber discuss the models for the 1954 film animation of 'Animal Farm' adapted from the book by George Orwell (1903-50) (photo) by English Photographer, (20th century); © Halas & Batchelor Collection Ltd.; English,  out of copyright

Halas&Batchelor: An Animated History

Bridgeman Footage proudly represents the legendary Halas & Batchelor collection.

Formed in 1940, the Halas & Batchelor animation studio occupies a unique place in British cinema. Pioneered by John Halas and Joy Batchelor, the studio became one of Europe’s most influential producers of animated films right up into the 1970s.

Bridgeman Footage represents a wide selection of short and feature length films from this collection, including historic gems such as Animal Farm, Sleeping Beauty, Snip and Snap and The Owl and the Pussycat.

Animal Farm / Halas & Batchelor / Bridgeman Footage
Animal Farm / Halas & Batchelor / Bridgeman Footage

Bridgeman Footage is excited to announce that we now hold Halas & Batchelor’s most famous creation and Britain’s first ever animated feature film: Animal Farm. In 2015 we mark its 60th anniversary since its release. Based on the influential George Orwell novel, the film was released on the 7th of January 1955 and won critical acclaim worldwide. The CIA paid for the filming as part of the US cultural offensive during the Cold War, and influenced how Orwell’s ideas were to be presented.

Animal Farm / Halas & Batchelor / Bridgeman Footage
Animal Farm / Halas & Batchelor / Bridgeman Footage

The CIA initially funded Louis de Rochemont to begin work on a film version of Orwell’s masterpiece, who then hired Halas & Batchelor to produce propaganda films for the British government. After the Animal Farm release, Halas & Batchelor expanded to become one of the largest animation studios in Europe, recognized as a source of high quality animated films.

Sleeping Beauty / Halas & Batchelor / Bridgeman Footage
Sleeping Beauty / Halas & Batchelor / Bridgeman Footage

The Halas & Batchelor studio produced personal satirical statements whenever possible, often in award winning films such as The History of Cinema, a 1957 satire based on the film industry, and in Automania 2000, a prophetic look at the fruits of over production in 1963.  Dilemma, made in 1981, is a film about the use – and misuse – of man’s skills.

Snip and Snap / The Owl and the Pussycat / Halas & Batchelor / Bridgeman Footage
Snip and Snap / The Owl and the Pussycat / Halas & Batchelor / Bridgeman Footage
History of the Cinema / Halas & Batchelor / Bridgeman Footage
History of the Cinema / Halas & Batchelor / Bridgeman Footage

As well as satire, Halas & Batchelor embraced the arts and lovingly created their own mini series dedicated to the Great Masters. Educational and entertaining, these explore the history of Toulouse Lautrec, Leonardo da Vinci and Botticelli.

Great Masters / Leonardo da Vinci / Halas & Batchelor / Bridgeman Footage
Great Masters / Leonardo da Vinci / Halas & Batchelor / Bridgeman Footage

Halas & Batchelor were well known for experimenting with the new technologies of the time and embraced all of the new advancements in animation as they became available. These included stereoscopic film (The Owl and the Pussycat), computer animated sequences for Videodisk and one of the first fully digitally produced films, Dilemma.

Dilemma / Halas & Batchelor / Bridgeman Footage
Dilemma / Halas & Batchelor / Bridgeman Footage

The history of this very special collection is lovingly preserved by Vivien Halas, daughter of John and Joy. This year has marked the centenary of Joy Batchelor’s birth, and in celebration a number of her films have been shown at festivals and events across London, Brighton and Bradford.

John Halas , Joy Batchelor and Louis de Rochemont / Bridgeman Images
John Halas , Joy Batchelor and Louis de Rochemont / Bridgeman Images

Bridgeman is very proud to be working with the Halas & Batchelor collection, which you can watch here to your hearts content. To enquire about licensing clips, or about other films made by Halas & Batchelor, please contact sales@bridgemanimages.com.

Halas & Batchelor / Bridgeman Footage
Halas & Batchelor / Bridgeman Footage

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