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Gulliver's Travels (1996)

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Gulliver's Travels
1996-cover-art
Written by
Simon Moore (sceenplay)
Jonathan Swift (novel)
Directed by
Charles Sturridge
Year
1996
Network
NBC
Running time
186 minutes

This adaptation of Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels is an American TV miniseries based on the original novel of the same name, produced by Jim Henson Productions and Hallmark Entertainment. Notably, this two-part miniseries is one of the few adaptations of Swift's novel to feature all four of the voyages from the original story. As aired in the United Kingdom on channel 4, and in the United States on NBC in February of 1996, the miniseries starred Ted Danson, Mary Steenburgen, and Peter O'Toole, and was was filmed in England and Portugal.

SynopsisEdit

This version features a Dr. Gulliver who has returned home to his family after a lengthy absence. The scenes shift between elaborate flashbacks of his unbelievable travels and brief periods in the present where he is recounting the story of his travels, and has been committed to an insane asylum as a presumed lunatic. While the flashback sequences and the incarceration in the asylum are not in the original work, the miniseries remains faithful to the novel, although the ending has been changed for a more upbeat conclusion. In Swift's telling, Gulliver is so impressed with the Utopian country of the Houyhnhnms that when he returns to England, he is so disappointed with British society that he chooses to dwell amongst the horses in his barn, rather than with his family. In the miniseries however, he eventually dismisses his obsession and returns to a happy life his wife and children.

CastEdit

Ted Danson ...as... Lemuel Gulliver
Mary Steenburgen ...as... Mary Gulliver
James Fox ...as... Dr. Bates
Ned Beatty ...as... Farmer Grultrud
Edward Fox ...as... General Limtoc
Robert Hardy ...as... Dr. Parnell
Nicholas Lyndhurst ...as... Clustril
Phoebe Nicholls ...as... Empress of Lilliput
Karyn Parsons ...as... Lady-in-Waiting
Edward Petherbridge ...as... Dr. Pritchard
John Standing ...as... Admiral Bolgolam
John Wells ...as... Flimnap the Treasurer
Alfre Woodard ...as... Queen of Brobdingnag
Edward Woodward ...as... Drunlo
Peter O'Toole ...as... Emperor of Lilliput

ProductionEdit

It took several years for producer Duncan Kenworthy to find the financial backing for the elaborate miniseries. The project required a great deal of Special Effects work, and ultimately Jim Henson's Creature Shop created several CGI wasps and engineered some prosthetic make-up for the Yahoos of Gulliver's fourth voyage. Kenworthy said that, "It [Gulliver's Travels] was something I'd been developing while Jim [Henson] was still alive." "We wanted to do the whole book, and that was what interested Jim."

ReceptionEdit

The miniseries won several awards, including 5 Emmys, was nominated for many more, and was generally well received by critics. Entertainment Weekly's Ken Tucker wrote that, "Everything about this production is surprising, from its choice of Gulliver -- Cheers' Ted Danson in an excellent wig -- to its startling fidelity to Jonathan Swift's 1726 novel," and referred to it as a "big, gaudy, funny production that feels free to give full reign to Swift's blithe vulgarity."

AwardsEdit

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA

Year Result Award Category/Recipient(s)
1997 Nominated Saturn Award Best Single Genre Television Presentation

BAFTA Awards

Year Result Award Category/Recipient(s)
1997
Won
BAFTA TV Award Best Costume Design:
Shirley Russell
Best Design:
Roger Hall
Nominated BAFTA TV Award Best Drama Serial:
Duncan Kenworthy
Best Editing (Fiction/Entertainment):
Peter Coulson

Casting Society of America, USA

Year Result Award Category/Recipient(s)
1996 Nominated Artios Best Casting for TV Miniseries:
Lynn Kressel

Cinema Audio Society, USA

Year Result Award Category/Recipient(s)
1996 Nominated C.A.S. Award Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for a
Movie of the Week, Mini-Series or Special:

Paul Hamblin (re-recording mixer)
Clive Pendry (re-recording mixer)
Simon Kaye (production mixer)
(For part I.)

Emmy Awards

Year Result Award Category/Recipient(s)
1996
Won
Emmy Award
Outstanding Individual Achievement in
Art Direction for a Miniseries or a Special:
Roger Hall (production designer)
John Fenner (supervising art director)
Alan Tomkins (uk: art director)
Frederic Evard (portugal: art director)
Rosalind Shingleton (set decorator)
(NBC) (For part I.)
Outstanding Individual Achievement in
Hairstyling for a Miniseries or a Special:
Aileen Seaton (hair designer)
(NBC) (For part I.)
Outstanding Individual Achievement in
Writing for a Miniseries or a Special:
Simon Moore (teleplay)
(NBC)
Outstanding Miniseries:
Robert Halmi Sr. (executive producer)
Brian Henson (executive producer)
Duncan Kenworthy
(NBC)
Outstanding Special Visual Effects:
Timothy Webber (special visual effects supervisor)
(NBC)
Nominated
Emmy Award
Outstanding Individual Achievement in
Cinematography for a Miniseries or a Special:
Howard Atherton
(NBC) (For part I.)
Outstanding Individual Achievement in
Costume Design for a Miniseries or a Special:
Shirley Russell
(NBC) (For part I.)
Outstanding Individual Achievement in
Directing for a Miniseries or a Special
Charles Sturridge
(NBC)
Outstanding Individual Achievement in
Editing for a Miniseries or a Special - Single Camera Production
Peter Coulson
(NBC) (For part I.)
Outstanding Individual Achievement in
Sound Mixing for a Drama Miniseries or a Special:
Simon Kaye (production mixer)
Paul Hamblin (re-recording mixer)
Clive Pendry (re-recording mixer)
(NBC) (For part II.)
Outstanding Supporting Actress in
a Miniseries or a Special:
Alfre Woodard
(NBC)

Humanitas Prize

Year Result Award Category/Recipient(s)
1996 Won Humanitas Prize 90 Minute Category:
Simon Moore
(For part II.)

Royal Television Society, UK

Year Result Award Category/Recipient(s)
1996 Won RTS Television Award Best Production Design - Drama:
Roger Hall
Best Visual Effects:
Timothy Webber

Satellite Awards

Year Result Award Category/Recipient(s)
1997
Won
Golden Satellite Award Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Nominated Golden Satellite Award Best Performance by an Actor in
a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television:
Ted Danson
Best Performance by an Actress in
a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television:
Alfre Woodard

Young Artist Awards

Year Result Award Category/Recipient(s)
1997 Nominated Young Artist Award Best Family TV Movie or Mini-Series - Network

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