Skip to main content

The Little Island

UK, 1958 (MIFF 1960, Experiment in Animation)

Director: Richard Williams

Three men land on a tiny, deserted island. One believes in Trught, one in Goodness and one in Beauty. For several days they are content to sit in the sun and get brown. Then each indulges in a long private vision, to the mystification of the other two. Truth's vision is the most abstract, a patterned medley of hints from many philosophies. Beauty favours flowers and flute solos, the manias of critics and snobberies of blabbering intellectuals. Goodness sees life as a crusade for the soul, with a sharp sword ready for anyone slow to respond to the attractions of Church and choirboys. Beauty taunts Goodness who prepares for war. Truth watches as the others fight, growing to unrecognisable monsters. He tots up the score on a vast, ticking bomb. It explodes. The three men leave the island in a panic.

The theme of this original animated film is the impossibility of communication between people of fixed ideas. The design of the film is a technical triumph but the statement is less direct as the director skims at moments into obscurity. But when the images are concrete the film has a compulsion which is quite new in the cartoon field.

See also...

A Christmas Carol

A film adaptation of the tale by Charles Dickens. ... More »

Love Me, Love Me, Love Me

A film with a moral? When it comes to love, no one really has it good, especially stuffed alligators named Charlie. Award: Diploma of Merit, Edinburgh Festival. ... More »

Lecture on Man

Using live action clips, still photography, and various animation techniques, Richard Williams illustrates a lecture given by Christopher Logue on the human situation. Awards: Gold Prize, Mannheim ... More »

Divertissement Rococo

A film in the new genre which uses electronic and other artificial devices to produce abstract patterns of form and motion, with an accompaniment of eighteenth century "rococo music". ... More »


In the first film he has scripted for himself, Alec Guinness chose to adapt for the screen this seemingly impossible novel, "The Horse's Mouth'" by Joyce Cary. The story purports to be written by ... More »

Between the Tides

A fresh and imaginative study of animal and plant life on the shores of the west coast of Britain. ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director