The production partners, John Brabourne and Richard Goodwin and director Reginald Mills, conceived the happy notion of having Beatrix Potter’s animals represented by members of the Royal Ballet and the result is 90 minutes of style, fun and enchantment.
Film’s opener introduces Erin Geraghty as the introverted young Beatrix in her gloomy Victorian home. But then the animals take over. There’s little point in detailing the various stories – the adventures of The Bad Mice, the jaunty capers of Jeremy Fisher, how Jemima Puddle-Duck escapes a fate worse than death at the paws of The Fox, etc. The point is that the episodes skip merrily along, the choreography by Frederick Ashton blends splendidly with Reginald Mills’ direction and John Lanchbery’s bright, if tinkly, music has the right lilting note. But the whole thing might have fallen apart but for the life-like masks designed by Rostislav Doboujinsky and Christine Edzard’s gay costumes.