Flåklypa Grand Prix
(released under the English title "Pinchcliffe Grand Prix") is a Norwegian stop motion
-animated feature film
directed by Ivo Caprino
. It was released in 1975
and is based on characters from a series of books by Norwegian cartoonist and author Kjell Aukrust
. It is the most widely-seen Norwegian film of all time, having sold some 5.5 million tickets since its release to a population which currently numbers just 4.7 million.
In the town of Flåklypa (En
. Pinchcliffe), the inventor Reodor Felgen (En
. Theodore Rimspoke) lives with his animal friends Ludvig (En
. Lambert) (a nervous, pessimistic and melancholic hedgehog) and Solan (En
. Sonny Duckworth) (a cheerful and optimistic bird). Reodor works as a bicycle repairman, though he spends most of his time inventing weird Rube Goldberg
-like contraptions. One day, the trio discover that one of Reodor's former assistants, Rudolf Blodstrupmoen (En
. Rudolph Gore-Slimey), has stolen his design for a race car engine and has become a world champion Formula 1
driver. Solan secures funding from an Arab oil sheik who happens to be vacationing in Flåklypa, and to enter the race, the trio builds a gigantic racing car: Il Tempo Gigante
—a fabulous construction with two extremely big engines (weighing 2.3 tons alone and making the seismometer in Bergen show 7.8 Richter when started the first time), a body made out of copper, a spinning radar (that turns out to be useful when Blodstrupmoen starts engaging in smoke warfare during the race) and its own blood bank. Reodor ends up winning despite Blodstrupmoen's attempts at sabotage.
In 1970, Ivo Caprino and his small team of collaborators started work on a 25-minute-long TV special, which would eventually become Flåklypa Grand Prix
. The TV special was a collection of sketches based on Aukrust's books, with no real story line. After 1.5 years of work, it was decided that it didn't really work as a whole, so production on the TV special was stopped (with the exception of some very short clips, no material from it has ever been seen by the public), and Caprino and Aukrust instead wrote a screenplay for a feature film using the characters and environments that had already been built.
The film was made in 3.5 years by a team of approximately 5 people. Caprino directed and animated; Bjarne Sandemose (Caprino's principal collaborator throughout his career) built most of the props, sets and cars and was in charge of the technical aspects of making the film; Ingeborg Riiser designed the puppets and Gerd Alfsen made the costumes and props. Charley Patey was the camera man.
When it came out in 1975, Flåklypa Grand Prix was an enormous success in Norway, selling 1 million tickets in its first year of release. It remains the biggest box office hit of all time in Norway (Caprino Studios claim it has sold 5.5 million tickets to date) and was also released in many other countries. The movie was shown in cinemas every day of the week for 28 years, from 1975 until 2003—mainly in Norway, Moscow and Tokyo.
- A real Il tempo gigante car was used to promote the film, e.g. driving around the Hockenheimring between races. The car itself has over 550 hp and a jet-engine that can be used if wanted, but due to EU restrictions the vehicle is barely permitted to be used at all save for exclusive TV cameos.
- An English-dubbed version of the film was released in the United Kingdom, where it was called Pinchcliffe Grand Prix. The names of the characters were anglified - Reodor Felgen became Theodor Rimspoke, Solan became Sonny Duckworth, Ludvig became Lambert and Rudolf Blodstrupmoen became Rudolph Gore-Slimey. This version featured the voice of well-known Formula 1 commentator Murray Walker. There is also a US dubbed version.
- In 2005 a new, digitally restored DVD was released which featured soundtracks and subtitles in 5 languages including English. A previous DVD was released in 2001.
- In 2001 a computer game based on the film was released. The game was produced by Caprino's son Remo, while his grandson Mario was lead programmer. The lead designer was Joe Dever.
- The license plate "HB 4596" is a reference to moonshine. HB stands for "hjemmebrent" (home distilled) and 45 and 96 are alcohol by volume. 45% is what shop alcohol is and 96% is what moonshiners aim for.
- The movie inspired a young Christian von Koenigsegg to create the Koenigsegg CC. He conceived the first concept being 22.
- The last name of the sheik Ben Redic Fy Fazan is a mildly profane Norwegian exclamative.
- The movie aired each Christmas Eve in Norway for several years (until a change of channel from NRK to TV 2 (Norway) changed the airing date to December 23). Kjell Aukrust passed away on December 24 2002. (In Scandinavia, Christmas Eve is more important than Christmas Day.)
- George Lucas borrowed heavily from the movie for the podrace scenes in The Phantom Menace.
The featured chess scene was used as an example of particularly clever play in Grandmaster Simen Agdestein
's introductory book of chess