Toccata for Toy Trains

DATE - 1957

Stop motion animation of toys and objects, including trains, cars, and wind-up figures, are used to tell the story of a journey. The vehicles, each laden with figures, travel from the railyard and roadhouse through the countryside and villages to a train station. The trains, toy people, backgrounds, buildings and other props were pushed and pulled by hand to simulate locomotion; the film segments were then edited to make the motion seem continuous. This is a delightfully entertaining film, and at the same time, a profound statement about the pleasures of unselfconscious design. The camera is used to manipulate the relative size of the trains so they appear to be close in scale. Winner of awards at the Edinburgh Film Festival, the Melbourne International Film Festival and the American Film Festival Trophy Award, 1959, and 11th Annual Scholastic Teachers’ Award, 1960. Music by Elmer Bernstein. 14 minutes.