The Secret Adventures of Tom Thumb

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The Secret Adventures of Tom Thumb
The Secret Adventures of Tom Thumb DVD.jpg
DVD cover
Directed byDave Borthwick
Produced byRichard Hutchinson
Written byDave Borthwick
  • Nick Upton
  • Deborah Collard
Music by
  • Dave Borthwick
  • Frank Passingham
Edited byDave Borthwick
Distributed by Manga Entertainment
Release date
  • 10 December 1993 (1993-12-10)
Running time
60 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

The Secret Adventures of Tom Thumb is a 1993 British independent adult stop-motion/pixilation science-fantasy dystopian adventure horror film directed, written, shot and edited by Dave Borthwick, produced by Bolexbrothers studio and funded by Richard Hutchinson, BBC, La Sept and Manga Entertainment, which also distributed the film on video. [1]


The story follows the tiny Tom Thumb as he is abducted from his loving parents and taken to an experimental laboratory, and his subsequent escape. He discovers a community of similarly-sized people living in a swamp, who help him on his journey to return to his parents. The film is largely dialogue-free, limited mostly to grunts and other non-verbal vocalisations.


Inside an artificial insemination factory, a mechanical wasp hovering around the establishment is crushed to death by the machinery's gears, causing its vitals to drop into one of the jars on the conveyor belt. This results in a woman giving birth to a thumb-sized fetus-like child in her and her husband's house in a grim and slum urban town. Outside, a man in a black suit witnesses the whole scene and goes to an alley to encounter Pa Thumb, who picks up a ventriloquist box-shaped doll house to make his son's bedroom. The man simply grins at the him but leaves when he gets creeped out by the ventriloquist's dummy at the window of a toy shop.

Pa and Ma Thumb raise their son and decide to call him "Tom Thumb".


The Secret Adventures of Tom Thumb was made using a combination of stop-motion animation and pixilation (live actors posed and shot frame-by-frame), often with live actors and puppets sharing the frame. It was originally commissioned as a 10-minute short for BBC2's Christmas programming, but was rejected for being too dark for the festive season. The short version nevertheless garnered critical acclaim through showings at animation festivals, and a feature-length version was commissioned by the BBC a year later.


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  1. Lenburg, Jeff (1999). The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons. Checkmark Books. p. 203. ISBN   0-8160-3831-7 . Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  2. 4. Kecskeméti Animációs Filmfesztivál 1. Nemzetközi Animációs Játékfilm Fesztivál . Kecskeméti Animáció Film Fesztivál. 1996.