The Wind in the Willows (1949 film)

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The Wind in the Willows is a 1949 American animated Cartoon films produced by Walt Disney Productions and released by RKO Radio Pictures


  • If you were asked to choose the most fabulous character in English literature, who would it be? Robin Hood? King Arthur? Becky Sharp? Sherlock Holmes? Oliver Twist, perhaps? Well, any one of them would be an excellent choice. Still, for the most fabulous character of all, I would nominate... a toad - J. Thaddeus Toad, Esq. Have you ever met him? You'll find his story in this delightful little book, "The Wind In the Willows". Toad, you might say, was the one disturbing element: incurable adventurer, mad, reckless, tried everything, positive mania for fads, and he never countered the cost. Had a host affair with friends, of course, but there were only three who had his best interests at heart. One was a badger, MacBadger. Another was a water rat; a bit stuffy, perhaps, but really a fine fellow. And a mole; gentle creature, kind and sympathetic.


[Rat and Mole have interrupted Toad's rampage with Cyril and the cart]
Rat: Toad, we want to have a talk with you.
Mr. Toad: Oh, a visit? Splendid! [hops down onto the rung of the cart]
Rat: Toad, this is serious. You've got to give up that horse and cart.
Mr. Toad: [in disbelief] Give up my... Oh, but my dear Ratty, this is my career! Surely, you can't mean it.
Rat: I do mean it. You've got to stop this foolishness.
Mr. Toad: [stubbornly] No.
Rat: You must!
Mr. Toad: No, I won't do it!
Rat: Your reckless behavior is giving us animals a bad name.
Mr. Toad: I won't listen to anything! [he covers his ears and everything Rat says is softened, but whenever he removes his hands from his ears, Rat speaks louder]
Rat: You are fast becoming a menace to society! If you won't think of yourself, think of poor old MacBadger! And as for that horse, no good could ever come from galloping about with such a fast and irresponsible beast! [when he hears this last part, Cyril covers his own ears. Toad laughs]

Prosecutor: As trustee of the Toad estate, were you aware of the defendant's mania for motorcars?
Angus MacBadger: Well, I...
Prosecutor: And that, due to his reckless behavior, you had cut off his allowance?
Angus MacBadger: Well, I...
Prosecutor: And that he was, to the best of your knowledge, without funds?
Angus MacBadger: Well, I...
Prosecutor: That is all! Thank you.

Mr. Toad: [in court giving his defense; to Cyril] Are you familiar with the defendant J. Thaddeus Toad?
Cyril Proudbottom: Lord love a duck, yes! He's one of the jolliest chaps I've ever run across! And simply *tons* of money!
Prosecutor: [to Cyril] Good fellow, eh? Throws it away. BUT he wasn't throwing it away *that* day! You heard Mr. MacBadger's testify that his allowance was cut off! Then how did he get the motorcar?
Cyril Proudbottom: The only way a gentlemen gets anything: the *honest* way.
Prosecutor: And what is the honest way?
Cyril Proudbottom: Ha-ha, I thought you wouldn't know that one, guv'nor.
[Everyone laughs]

Judge: The witness may testify in his own words.
Cyril Proudbottom: [in court] Right-o, guv'nor; now, I'll give you the facts of the case. For when Toady escaped from his boudoir, he'd come headin' straight for my place. Soon we was off down the 'ighway but hadn't gone far, I confess, when all of a sudden with a rush and a roar, something passed like the London Express. It was big, it was red, it was beautiful: a motorcar! Hee, a bit of alright; Toady was transfixed with, uh, rapture. You could tell it was love at first sight. The motor pulled up to a tavern wherein was located a bar and we watched while some tough-looking weasels got out of that lovely red car. Now weasels, I know, are deceitful and not to be trusted at all... but how I could know they'd stolen that car? I didn't have no crystal ball. And the guv'nor, he's not one to dally, he'd made up his mind like a flash, he says "try it for size, my good Cyril, while I see what they'll take for it, cash!" So into the tavern he saunters, where the barman was back at the bar. And he said, "Cheerio, tavern-keeper! Who's the owner of that, uh, hot-looking car?" The barman, a codger named, uh, Winky, leaned over the bar and said "Why?" The guv'nor answered "That car must be mine! Whatever the price is, I'll buy!" But Toad found he hadn't no money... so he promptly offered a trade; the weasels appeared to be willin', in a moment, the bargain was made. Then Toady drawed up a paper with almost incredible speed and he called on ol' Winky to, uh, pop over and witness the deed. Now the guv'nor's not a bit stingy, he never does anything small: the weasels gave him the red motorcar, heh, and he gave the weasels... Toad Hall!
[MacBadger faints upon hearing that last sentence]
Prosecutor: Toad Hall, an estate over a hundred thousand pounds...for a motor car! (laughs; to Toad) You expect us to believe that?

[Toad enters Rat and Mole's house and faints]
Mole: Why... it's a poor old lady. Let's move her over by the fire.
[They move Toad, then his chain ball lands on Rat's foot]
Rat: Oww!
Rat and Mole: Toad!
Rat: What are you doing here?
Mr. Toad: Well, I just, um... sort of...
Mole: Well, this is a merry Christmas... but aren't you afraid of the police?
Mr. Toad: Afraid of the police? [laughs] I, Toad, afraid of the police?
[He laughs some more, then a loud knock and yelling comes from the door]
Angus MacBadger: [from behind the door] OPEN UP! OPEN UP, I SAY!
Mr. Toad: [horrorstruck] THE POLICE!

Narrator 1: So, it was a happy ending, after all. Toad's friends were dreadfully proud of him. And why not? [Ratty folds the newspaper away, as he and Moley look proudly at a painting of Mr. Toad above the fireplace] He was a new Toad, now. Completely reformed, through with gypsy carts and motorcars for ever. And so, on this happiest of New Years, a toast was in order.
Angus MacBadger: [holding a platter of champagne glasses] "To the New Year! And..."
All: To the new Toad!
[They all toast their glasses together, until a loud crashing noise is heard, shattering the glasses. Angus, Rat, and Moley, cringing from the sound, look out the window to see what has happened]
Toad: [off-screen] Hello, you fellows! [his friends rush up to the window, where they seen a Wright Flyer plane soaring above the mansion, and this time, it's Toad at the stick with Cyril as his passenger, waving to them] Come! I'll show you the world! Travel, change, excitement! Ha-ha-ha!
[Poor MacBadger faints on the spot, while Toad steers his plane over a statue, knocking it halfway down, and flies off into the sunrise]
Narrator 1: [chuckling] And, that was the fabulous Thaddeus Toad. But, let's weigh our judgement carefully. We Moles and Rats and Badgers, really now, don't we envy him a bit? [The shot turns into the last image in the book] I know I do. And so, when we speak of fabulous characters, the most fabulous of all will always be, uh, to me at least, the master of Toad Hall.
[The first narrator closes the book and puts it back on the shelf]

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