Love nearly melts Wallace's plasticine heart when he meets Wendolene Ramsbottom, a yarn-shop proprietor with a menacing mutt and a dark secret. Meanwhile, poor Gromit is accused of turning the local sheep into mutton meat. Can Wallace bust Gromit out of jail and catch the real culprit in time to share a bit of cheese with his newfound love' The femme-fatale story gets the claymation treatment in Park's third Wallace and Gromit story, which won Park yet another Academy Award.
Got dirty windows' Never fear, Wallace and his faith pooch, Gromit, have started a window cleaning operation incorporating Wallace's latest mad inventions. On one job, the befuddled inventor meets Wendolene Ramsbottom, the seemingly innocuous owner of a yarn shop. It's love at first sight, but their romance is interrupted when Gromit is accused of being a cold-blooded sheep killer. When Gromit is thrown into jail, it's up to Wallace and a skinny sheep named Shaun to save him.
With a bigger staff and larger budget, the film was seen as a dry-run for the making of a feature-length animated film. The animation process was "industrialised," with other animators doing much of the work that Park had previously handled. Still, Park's unique, personal vision comes through in the short. Literary and film references fly fast and furious: the final sequence alone alludes to World War II aviation combat, circus-like acrobatics, and the ending of the sci-fi classic TERMINATOR.
A CLOSE SHAVE premiered on November 16, 1995, at the London Film Festival. The BBC subsequently broadcast the film over the 1995 Christmas holiday season. Approximately 10.6 million British viewers saw the program.
The film was released theatrically in New York City on April 10, 1996, as part of WALLACE AND GROMIT: THE BEST OF AARDMAN ANIMATION, a collection of short films from the UK's Aardman Studios.
The film took 18 months to create, which was much less than the time it took to create THE WRONG TROUSERS.
Park animated the prison sequence, but overall, he did much less hands-on animation than in his previous works. Instead, he spent more time overseeing four other animators.
Because the staff was increased to 25, the budget increased to about 1.3 million pounds, compared to 650,000 pounds for THE WRONG TROUSERS.
Park has said that the film contains references to BRIEF ENCOUNTER, the INDIANA JONES films, THE THIRD MAN, and ALIEN.
Wallace and Gromit have subtly evolved from A GRAND DAY OUT. Wallace's head is less flat, and his face gets wider when he makes "ee" sounds, as in "cheese." Gromit has a larger brow, and his nose is less pear-shaped.
Preston, the name of Wendolene's dog, is the name of the city where Park was born.
"Just stay away from me, from my shop, and my silly, silly windows."--Wendolene to Wallace
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