|The Wrong Trousers|
Promotional poster, with Feathers McGraw in the foreground
|Directed by||Nick Park|
|Produced by||Christopher Moll|
|Written by||Nick Park|
|Music by||Julian Nott|
Dave Alex Riddett
|Edited by||Helen Garrard|
|30 minutes (NTSC)|
29 minutes (PAL)
The Wrong Trousers is a 1993 British stop-motion animated short film directed by Nick Park at Aardman Animations, featuring his characters Wallace and Gromit. It is the second film featuring the eccentric inventor Wallace (voiced by Peter Sallis) and his dog Gromit, following A Grand Day Out (1989). In the film, a sinister penguin named Feathers McGraw uses Wallace and Gromit's robotic "Techno Trousers" to steal a diamond.
The Wrong Trousers premiered in the United States of America on 17 December 1993, and the United Kingdom on 26 December 1993 on BBC Two. It was commercially successful, and won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 1994. It also inspired a charity fundraising day, known as "Wrong Trousers Day", one of several events.
The short was followed by two sequels, A Close Shave, released in December 1995, and A Matter of Loaf and Death released in December 2008. Feathers McGraw would reappear in the 2003 video game Wallace & Gromit in Project Zoo.
To pay off debts, Wallace lets the spare bedroom to a penguin, who befriends Wallace and drives Gromit from the house. The penguin takes an interest in Wallace's new "techno trousers", which can walk on walls and ceilings, and secretly rewires them for radio control. Gromit realises that the penguin is a wanted criminal, who disguises himself as a chicken, Feathers McGraw.
Feathers forces Wallace into the techno trousers and sends him on a test run through town. Later, Gromit spies on Feathers as he takes measurements of the city museum, and discovers Feathers' plans to steal a diamond from the museum.
While Wallace sleeps, Feathers marches him to the museum and uses the trousers to infiltrate the building. He uses a remotely operated crane claw, contained in a helmet he has made Wallace wear, to capture the diamond, but accidentally trips the alarm. As Wallace wakes up, Feathers marches him back to the house and traps him and Gromit in a wardrobe at gunpoint.
Gromit rewires the trousers to break open the wardrobe. He and Wallace chase Feathers aboard their model train set. Wallace disarms Feathers and frees himself from the trousers. After Feathers' train collides with the trousers, Gromit captures him in a milk bottle. The police imprison Feathers in the city zoo. Wallace and Gromit pay their debts with the reward money, while the techno trousers walk off into the sunset.
In subsequent home video releases and airings, this was replaced with "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow" to avoid copyright infringements. Also altered (again for reasons of copyright) are two specific songs from the penguin's radio which were replaced with extracts from Hammond organ versions of "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree".
The pieces that were removed are "Happy Talk" from the musical South Pacific and "(How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window?", along with Wallace's singing of the latter during the subsequent morning. In addition, Gromit's television during breakfast no longer plays the Open University theme, although an announcer can still be heard saying, "Welcome to Open University".
However, the original soundtrack can still be heard in the background of the commentary track of the DVD release, although the Blu-ray release features the commentary track with the altered soundtrack. The original soundtrack can also be heard in non English versions of the film.
The Wrong Trousers was voted as the eighteenth best British television show by the British Film Institute. It has a unanimously positive score on Rotten Tomatoes, with 24 reviews, 100% positive and an average score of 9.1/10.
The critical consensus reads, "An endearing and meticulous showcase of stop motion animation, The Wrong Trousers also happens to be laugh out loud funny." The film was awarded the Grand Prix at the Tampere Film Festival, and the Grand Prix at the World Festival of Animated film - Animafest Zagreb in 1994. The Wrong Trousers won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 1994.