Norway’s most popular film? Avatar? Titanic? Gone with the wind? No, it’s in fact an animated puppet movie from 1975, which has been watched by an estimated 120% of Norway’s population. On November 11th the film is debuting on BluRay.
There is no doubt that Pinchcliffe Grand Prix (original title; Flåklypa Grand Prix) is Norway’s most popular movie ever. The stop-motion feature, based on the characters of author Kjell Aukrust and directed by animation maverick Ivo Caprino, has sold around 5 million theatrical tickets in a country that had 4 million inhabitants when the film came out. That makes it not only Norway’s most popular film ever, but also the world’s most popular film compared to exposure per capita (and that doesn’t even count video sales and frequent TV screenings). The film has been dubbed to 13 languages and was supposedly in Norwegian cinemas every week between 1975 and 2000.
The story is about a local inventor who builds an offbeat racing car with Arab oil money, and attempts to win a race where the competitors drive state-of-the-art racing cars. The film contains talking animals side by side with humans, impossible technology (for its time) and steampunk aesthetics, so it definitely counts as fantasy, even if the emphasis is on characters, comedy and story.
DVDs were released in 2001 and 2005 and sold a staggering 500.000 copies, and the BluRay of Pinchcliffe Grand Prix is now possibly the most awaited home video release of the year. The studio, Caprino Studios, will distribute 40.000 copies of the BluRay on November 11th. What is controversial though, is that the film will only be available in the big-box stores of home electronics giants Elkjøp and Lefdal. This has annoyed media retailers and DVD shops, and the reason for the deal is, according to Remo Caprino (the son of the director), simply that this distribution model will generate the biggest income for the studio.
For this release, the movie has been restored and remastered, but you will also be able to view the original “unrestored” version with a push of the angle button. The BluRay also offers the film in its original 24 frame-per-second speed for the first time; while previous home video formats played back the film at a speed of 25 frames per second, the BluRay is able to show the film in its original 24 frames per second, exactly as it was shown in cinemas from 35mm negatives. This slownesss is not visisble for the human eye, but the film is now actually 4 minutes longer than previous home video versions.
The BluRay is labeled as “limited edition” and the gold digipack case includes the following features:
- Digitally remastered 16:9 widescreen image
- 5.1 and mono sound tracks
- The original 4:3 version of the film, available via “angle” button
- A new 68 minute documentary about the movie
- Several old documentaries and TV shows
- Scripts and storyboard
- News clips and international posters
- Five frames from an actual 35mm film negative
The region free video will have dubbing in Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, Danish and English, and subtitles in Norwegian and English.
However, the real limited edition BluRay is the one that comes in a unique gift box, limited to 2000 copies. The box contains the BluRay / DVD and three Pinchcliffe figures; Reodor, Solan and Ludvik. These newly created figures are 16 – 26 cm tall and hand painted, and only available in this box.
Pinchcliffe Grand Prix will be released on November 11th in both Norway and Denmark. International release is pending.