A Close Shave.

Author:Rothenberg, Robert S.
 
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Of late, while full-length animated features from the Disney studio and a few independent producers have prospered at the box office, the cartoons that once accompanied theatrical movies have vanished into the nostalgia channels on cable TV. Recently, though, Roger Rabbit, Wile E. Coyote, and even the venerable Mickey Mouse have appeared in new shorts designed to be shown in theaters. Amidst this renaissance, British filmmaker Nick Park has revived the decades-old technique of clay animation whereby clay figures are manipulated and shot one, frame at a time to give the appearance of movement. His shorts featuring Wallace, an eccentric inventor, and his faithful canine companion Gromit have captured a pair of Academy Awards, most recently the 1996 winner, "A Close Shave."

Within a mere half-hour, Wallace and Gromit succeed in combining enough adventure, slapstick comedy, and satiric ingenuity to outdo many full-length motion pictures "A...

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