Charles Wood, The Great Experimentalist
As Roger pointed out in Comments Section yesterday, Charles Wood had another problem as a writer – his plays were expensive to stage, which was fine when the UK put huge amounts of money into brave original theatre works but no good for modern times.
Even when Wood worked on a traditional subject he still experimented. His script for ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’ is nothing like the Errol Flynn version, and deliberately ends on a freeze frame before the charge itself begins. The dialogue is extraordinary and actually feels Victorian language, as opposed to a BBC TV series peppered with anachronisms.
The script concentrates more on the background and surrounding figures involved. Wood wrote it from an uncredited first draft by John Osborne. It aimed to be brutally authentic and anti-war, based in part on Cecil Woodham-Smith’s dissection The Reason Why (1953). Throughout the film there are political newspaper cartoons which come to life, setting the scene of each stage in the Crimean war.
These were created for director Tony Richardson by Richard Williams, head of the creative powerhouse that used to be housed in a green and white building on the North side of Soho Square. Here are Wood’s animated scenes in full.