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Film - The Wind in the Willows

 

 
Mole is busily spring cleaning his home. Fed up with polishing and whitewashing, he heads off outside for a walk in the countryside.

By the river he meets Rat, who invites him on a picnic. Mole has never been in a boat before, so Rat tells him all about it. During their picnic the weasels stop by with their usual mischief. After packing up the hamper, Mole and Rat row up the river towards Toad Hall.
Toad is only too pleased to see them. He manages to talk them into going on a caravan trip with him. Mole is enthusiastic, but Rat does not like being away from his river.

The trip is going well until a motor car forces the caravan off the road. Toad is thrown off and left dazed. And with a new craze - motoring.
As Toad smashes car after car, his friends grow increasingly worried. One Winter night Mole sets out to the Wild Wood to meet Badger. He becomes lost and has to be rescued by Rat. Eventually finding Badger's house, they decide to deal with Toad in the morning.

Even Badger's stern talk cannot persuade Toad to give up motoring, so he is locked in his bedroom. Toad hatches a daring escape plan that sends his friends chasing after him through the snow. He is too fast, but Mole manages to find something else - Mole End. He and Ratty have Christmas there.
Meanwhile, Toad has been arrested for stealing a car and is sentenced to 20 years in prison. The jailer's daughter feels sorry for him and helps him to escape by dressing as a washerwoman. After making his getaway on a train, Toad is free again!

He arrives at Rat's house only to learn that Toad Hall has been taken over by weasels. The friends begin plotting to take the Hall back with the help of a secret tunnel. Mole dresses up in Toad's washerwoman clothes and tricks the weasels into thinking that they will be outnumbered.
They set out armed to the teeth. The surprise attack on Toad Hall is a stunning success, and even Toad mages to floor a weasel. Soon everything returns to normal, and Toad takes up a new hobby - airplanes.

Major differences between the book and Cosgrove Hall's movie

  1. Three chapters were omitted from the movie: The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, Wayfarers All and The Further Adventures of Toad. These each became an episode in the first series of the television show.

  2. In the movie, Rat and Mole's first picnic is interrupted by the weasels. No such meeting takes place in the book.

  3. Otter and Portly are in the book but not in the movie. However, they appear many times in the television series.

  4. In the book Mole's attempt at rowing ends up tipping he and Rat into the river. Although Mole has a go at rowing in the movie, they remain dry.

  5. There is a substantial period of time (possibly as long as a season) between Mole and Rat's first meeting and their holiday with Toad. In the movie both events take place on the one day.

  6. Chapter 5 (Dulce Domum) is shown after chapter 6 (Mr Toad). In the book, Badger, Mole and Rat plan to to put a stop to Toad's motoring insanity in the Spring. Then Mole and Rat go to Mole End for Christmas. In the movie, they decide to visit Toad the very next day. When Toad escapes from his bedroom, Rat visits Mole's home.

  7. In the book Toad steals a car parked outside an inn. In the movie he stops a motorist (Reggie, accompanied by Rosemary) and tricks them into leaving their car unattended.

  8. In the movie, Badger is keeping on eye on Toad Hall when the weasels attack him and throw him out into the cold. In the book, Mole is also with Badger.

  9. In the book, Toad sings his Last Little Song to himself in his bedroom before his victory party. In the movie he sings it before the battle while walking through the secret tunnel.

  10. Much of the last chapter is left out of the movie, and instead appears as the first episode of the television series.

Naturally, if we were to list all the little events that were omitted from the movie, this list would be much longer. That is why this list concentrates on changes in storyline and things that have been added in, despite not appearing in the book.


The Kenneth Grahame Society

[This page was reproduced with the kind permission of its original author Nicholas Houghton (Australia)]