Kids' Movies II

film 2 of 3

The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm

Draft Review by Dean Duncan Jun 10, 2015

Incredibly pointless to crop Cinerama on TV, makes for a frustrating viewing experience, especially with glimpses of glorious settings, sets and costumes that remain, as for the story and stories that you still can see, they’re clearly not the best thing here, Boehm as the plodding scholar Jacob is an apt dud, but Harvey as the ebulliently fanciful Wilhelm is a strange bit of casting to say the least, the excuses for the stories within work well enough, the dancing princess episode is dull, except for Jim Backus’ king, the animated wilting flower, the effect of the invisible cape, and a panoramic shot of Tamblyn jumping around the top of the moving coach to avoid branches, the cobbler story is a sweet Christmas thing with an enjoyable puppetoon song, the dragon story is quite charming and savage, the flute and the reassembling bones being particularly cool, doesn’t seem necessary to condemn history and non-fiction just to validate fanciful fairy tales, though the pointed Mozart reference and Pal’s career to date (trials of the genius in the age of patronage–independent producer trying to pass unique product–I’m speaking to children, you nasty cynics who criticize my sappiness!) tell us why the choice is made, the fact that this is also a strong advocation of folk culture, anthropology and ethnography make little prejudices quite forgiveable, Hunt’s good, weird and strangely affecting bit of hokum when all the unnamed characters visit the dying Wilhelm, and interesting how all the books come animated out of the writing pens and fly right of the screen at us, the ending, when all the kids come yelling to Wilhelm at the Berlin train station, is nice and slightly hysterical, not to mention heavyhandedly directed: once upon a time, he says, and as the kiddies cheer you can almost see the assistant directors pointing this way and that; fairy taling aside, real life doesn’t happen that way